Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"The Guattari Effect: the Life and Work of Felix Guattari, 1930-1992," CRMEP, Middlesex University, April 17-18, 2008.

This 2-day international conference, organized by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, will be the first devoted to the work of the French psychoanalyst, philosopher, and political activist Felix Guattari. Its primary aim will be to gauge the contemporary significance of a theorist whose status as an ‘extraordinary philosopher’ was proclaimed by his collaborator Gilles Deleuze. To that end, it will bring together 3 internationally renowned experts on Guattari (Gary Genosko, Brian Massumi, Peter Pal Pelbart) along with 7 other philosophers, psychoanalysts, historians, sociologists, anthropologists and artists, all of whom have been profoundly influenced by Guattari. The goal will be to explore the full spectrum of Guattari’s work, from his early political engagement as an activist in the French mental health system, through to his critique of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis and his conception of a ‘micro-politics of desire’ (which challenged the then dominant theoretical paradigm of ‘structure’ with the concept of ‘machine’), finally considering his later elaboration of a ‘new ethico-aesthetic paradigm’, where ‘subjectivity’ was to be considered ‘from the point of view of its production’. While acknowledging the importance of Guattari’s influential collaborations with Gilles Deleuze (Anti-Oedipus, Kafka, A Thousand Plateaus, What is Philosophy?), one of the primary purposes of the conference will be to give due weight to Guattari’s own independent and highly innovative contributions to a variety of fields, including linguistics, pragmatics, aesthetics, ecology, architecture and media theory. Among the questions the conference seeks to explore are:
  • Why did Guattari turn his attention to these fields, and what did he produce in them?
  • What forms did his activism take in the 1970s and 80s, and of what relevance are they today?

Rare archival film and audio footage from these periods will be screened to accompany discussions of Guattari’s adventures in media activism.

The conference will be chaired by Professor Eric Alliez and Dr. Christian Kerslake, both of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University. Speakers include:

  • Franco Berardi, Academy of Fine Arts, Milan 'Chaosmotic Sensibility and Ethics’
  • Dr. Gary Genosko, Lakehead University ‘Banking on Félix: Refashioning Low Threshold Semiosis Through A-Signifying Particle-Signs’
  • Professor Barbara Glowczewski, Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales ‘Passion According to Guattari: Attractors and Detractors in Anthropology’
  • Professor Monique David Ménard, Université de Paris VII Denis-Diderot ‘Guattari and “Collective Assemblages of Enunciation”’
  • Dr. Anne Querrien, Université de Paris XV-Evry Val d'Essonne ‘Mapping in an N-Dimensional Plane’
  • Professor Brian Massumi, University of Montreal ‘Always Having Been, For the First Time: Emergence and Eternality in the Work of Guattari’
  • Professor Peter Pal Pelbart, Catholic University of Sao Paolo ‘Re-founding the Unconscious upon Deterritorialization’
  • Dr. Anne Sauvagnargues, École Normale Supérieure ‘Politics of the Face’
  • Dr. Stephen Zepke, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna ‘To Remake the Readymade: Guattari and Duchamp’
  • Professor François Dosse, History, Institut Universitaire de Formations des Maitres de l’Académie de Créteil 'Guattari with Deleuze’

Further information is available here:

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