[Blueboard] Katipunan Lecture Series: “Rethinking Assemblage Theory,” A Talk by Prof. Ian Buchanan, University of Wollongong

Allan A. De Vera adevera at ateneo.edu
Tue May 17 09:38:22 PHT 2016

The Kagawaran ng Filipino, the Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and
Practices (AILAP), and Kritika Kultura (KK) invite you to “Rethinking
Assemblage Theory,” A Talk by Prof. Ian Buchanan of the University of

May 23, 2016, Monday, 5-6 pm

Social Sciences Building Room 3 and 4


In a certain sense, advocates of assemblage theory, irrespective of their
disciplinary background, have been going about using the concept of the
assemblage all wrong. One can blame this on the originators of the concept,
Deleuze and Guattari, because their explication of the concept is
shot-through with countless obscurities and misdirections. But one can also
point the finger at the times in which we live, inasmuch as it no longer
seems desirable to think about the political complexities of human
existence, except in the most scientificist of terms. In an age in which
political thinking is dominated by polling, one must now be for or against
something, or at the extreme undecided, but one cannot be both for and
against, because that would upset the binary logic of the machines which
process the answers. And yet the reality is that most people hold political
views that are both for and against – they are for the convenience of car
travel, but against the congestion and pollution associated with it.

Our political concepts need to be supple enough to make sense of this kind
of contradictory thinking, and I would argue, that is precisely what
Deleuze and Guattari had in mind when they invented the concept of the
assemblage. But somehow their message got lost and what we have instead is
a highly mechanistic model which lays claim to complexity, on the grounds
that it adduces multiple intersecting parts in the entities it analyses,
but completely misses the fact that real complexity isn’t found in the
number of parts that an entity has but in the nature of the relations
between the parts. Not only that, complexity has become a byword for
liberty, as though confused political thinking isn’t dangerous and
problematic, and in the process lost any critical meaning it might once
have had.

*The Lecturer:*
Professor *Ian Buchanan *teaches Critical Theory at the University of
Wollongong, and has published on a wide variety of subjects across a range
of disciplines, including literary studies, cultural studies,
communications studies and philosophy. He has published on film,
literature, music, space, the internet and war as well a number of other
subjects. He is the author of the *Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory* and
the founding editor of the international journal *Deleuze Studies*. He is
also the editor of four book series: *Deleuze Connections* (Edinburgh
University Press), *Critical Connections, Plateaus *(EUP) and *Deleuze
Encounters* (Continuum).
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