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Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2007

This course will present a selective overview of what Deleuze called his “most immoderate and worst-received book”, A Thousand Plateaus, written with Félix Guattari. While this assessment can’t be said to be true in the context of the Anglo-American reception of Deleuze’s work, where the opposite is more likely the case, this book remains poorly understood in all but its most introductory concepts. In fact, A Thousand Plateaus is an immensely complicated work, a combinatorial study of topics as diverse as the natural world, the structure of capitalism, the genesis of subjectivity, and puts into play an implicit but wide-ranging set of assertions about the nature of philosophy. While words like ‘rhizome’, ‘the body without organs’ and ‘micropolitics’ are well known, their relationship to the greater work is often obscure.

The course will be structured around a topical presentation of the book, discussing as we go most of the plateaus found there. The goal is to uncover something like the logic of the book and thereby to open it up somewhat to the possibility of a more thorough reading for those who are interested.

Monday: The project of the book – constructivist ontology, differential politics
Tuesday: Micropolitics and becoming
Wednesday: Language, linguists and semiotics
Thursday: Nature and Culture
Friday: Concrete and Abstract