This interview, conducted over the span of several months, tracks the respective journeys of Constantin V. Boundas and Daniel W. Smith with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Rather than “becoming Deleuzian,” which is neither desirable nor possible, these exchanges reflect an array of encounters with Deleuze. These include the initial discoveries of Deleuze’s writings by Boundas and Smith, in-person meetings between Boundas and Deleuze, and the wide-ranging and influential philosophical work on Deleuze’s concepts produced by both Boundas and Smith. At (...) stake in this discussion are key contributions by Deleuze to continental philosophy, including the distinction between the virtual and the actual and the very nature of a “concept.” Also at stake is the formative or pedagogical impact of a philosopher, like Deleuze, on those who find and fully engage with his texts, concepts, and project. Cette interview, menée sur plusieurs mois, suit les parcours respectifs de Constantin V. Boundas et Daniel W. Smith avec la philosophie de Gilles Deleuze. Au lieu de « devenir Deleuzien, » ce qui n’est ni souhaitable ni possible, ces échanges reflètent un éventail de rencontres avec Deleuze. Il s’agit notamment des premières découvertes des écrits de Deleuze par Boundas et Smith, des rencontres en personne entre Boundas et Deleuze, et du travail philosophique vaste et in????luent sur les concepts de Deleuze produit par Boundas et Smith. L’enjeu ici étant les contributions clés de Deleuze à la philosophie continentale, y compris la distinction entre le virtuel et l’actuel, et la nature même d’un « concept. » Mais il y a aussi l’impact formateur ou pédagogique d’un philosophe, comme Deleuze, sur ceux qui trouvent et s’engagent pleinement dans ses textes, ses concepts et ses projets. (shrink)
The religious right often aligns its patriarchal opposition to same-sex marriage with the defence of religious freedom. In this article, I identify resources for confronting such prejudicial religiosity by surveying two predominant feminist approaches to same-sex marriage that are often assumed to be at odds: discourse ethics and queer critical theory. This comparative analysis opens up to view commitments that may not be fully recognizable from within either feminist framework: commitments to ideals of selfhood, to specific conceptions of justice, and (...) to particular definitions of secularism. I conclude by examining the "postsecular" turn in feminism, suggesting that we can see the same-sex marriage debate not in terms of an impasse between differing feminist approaches, but in terms of shared existential and ethical affinities. (shrink)
This essay examines the relevance of Kierkegaard’s analysis of “the present age” for our own age, focusing specifically on the existential implications of neoliberalism and biopolitics. By examining the significance of Kierkegaard’s view of ethical and religious existence-stages, I argue that his concerns about leveling and despair bear directly upon pressing problems concerning sexuality, identity, and political exclusions. Kierkegaard becomes an ally of contemporary critical theory, and, in this alliance, Kierkegaard’s religious existentialism foregrounds the spiritual or religious dimensions of our (...) present-day critical projects. (shrink)
Written collaboratively by two undergraduate students and one professor, this article explores what it would mean to teach existentialism “existentially.” We conducted a survey of how Existentialism is currently taught in universities across North America, concluding that, while existentialism courses tend to resemble other undergraduate philosophy courses, existentialist texts challenge us to rethink conventional teaching practices. Looking to thinkers like Kierkegaard, Beauvoir and Arendt for insights into the nature of pedagogy, as well as recent work by Gert Biesta, we lay (...) out the four qualities that we propose characterize “existentialist” teaching practices: an emphasis on teaching over learning and on the “how” over the what; the cultivation of newness as well as capacities for resistance. Reflecting on the significance of existentialism for classroom dynamics, we conclude by examining the tensions between existentialist commitments to freedom and prevailing trends in higher education. This essay raises questions about the emancipatory potential of existentialist philosophies, especially in the context of undergraduate classrooms. (shrink)
Increasingly, feminist theorists, such as Alison Martin and Ellen T. Armour, are attending to the numerous religious allusions within texts by Luce Irigaray. Engaging with this scholarship, this paper focuses on the problematic of evil that is elaborated within Irigarayan texts. Mobilizing the work of Catherine Malabou, the paper argues that Malabou's methodology of reading, which she identifies as "plastic," illuminates the logic at work within Irigaray's deployment of sacred stories.
As a work of art, the show Fleabag prompts differing kinds of judgements by critics. But as a project that reflects life in capitalist society, its gimmickry models the existentially fraught dynamics of despair. Informed by Sianne Ngai’s Theory of the Gimmick, this article explores three sets of gimmicks in relation to despair, where each holds differing pedagogical stakes for viewers: being alone; being a bad feminist; being smitten with a priest. Gimmickry, as a technique within the show, puts viewers (...) on the hook for judging gimmicks as wonders or tricks. Gimmickry as an object of criticism, in turn, brings into view the political and existential significance of Fleabag for viewers. (shrink)
: Increasingly, feminist theorists, such as Alison Martin and Ellen T. Armour, are attending to the numerous religious allusions within texts by Luce Irigaray. Engaging with this scholarship, this paper focuses on the problematic of evil that is elaborated within Irigarayan texts. Mobilizing the work of Catherine Malabou, the paper argues that Malabou's methodology of reading, which she identifies as "plastic," illuminates the logic at work within Irigaray's deployment of sacred stories.
This book brings Søren Kierkegaard's nineteenth-century existentialist project into our contemporary age, applying his understanding of "freedom" and "despair" to science and science studies, queer, decolonial and critical race theory, and disability studies. The book draws out the materialist dimensions of belief, examining the existential dynamics of phenomena like placebos, epigenetics, pedagogy, and scientific inquiry itself. Each chapter dramatizes the ways in which abstractions like "race" or "genes" and even "belief" are sites of contested practices with pressing political significance. Focusing (...) on the existential dangers posed by neo-liberal and finance capitalist systems, the book brings to life the resources for resistance found within science studies and critical approaches to race, secularity, and disability. Throughout the book, Kierkegaard becomes an ally with ecological and developmental evolutionary theorists, as well as with science studies, critical race, and crip theorists who foreground the relational and impassioned nature of existence. (shrink)
“Nocebo,” a term coined in the mid-twentieth century, refers to the onset of negative side effects in individuals who anticipate harm from biomedical treatment. Sylvia Wynter invokes nocebo effects as racializing phenomena that demonstrate the injurious impact of colonial practices. By soliciting insights from Nocebo Studies, as well as Wynter and Achille Mbembe, this article explores decolonial philosophies of selfhood, especially in terms of the meaning-making expressivity of selves. This conversation between Nocebo Studies and Wynter proffers ways to engage with (...) nocebo effects as mani-festations of the structures of colonial violence, while undercutting biomedical accounts of nocebos that presuppose an overly generic human body. (shrink)
According to recent scholarship within queer theory, heterosexuality maintains itself as a class by employing its epistemological authority for identifying and defining homosexuals. Heterosexuality is thus an ideological abstraction that privileges those with social and material advantages, rather than an accurate description of the actual, and thus heteronormative descriptions of sexuality correspond to Charles W. Mills’ description of ideal-as-idealized theory. Since ideological arguments cannot be overturned simply by appeals to rational debate, to what can we turn to subvert the sense (...) of entitlement and rightness that heteronormativity provides? Recent feminist philosophers have stressed the distinction between guilt as emotional self-assessment and existential guilt. Taking up Kierkegaard’s existential account of guilt, I claim that in order to advance a non-ideal theory of desire, which grounds critique in actual conditions, it is important to consider the nature of subjective attachments to exclusive, idealized conceptions of the ‘normal.’. (shrink)