Tag Archive: Guattari

Or, process-relational ecocriticism 2.0


Two of the courses I’m currently teaching — the intermediate-level “Environmental Literature, Art, and Media” and the senior-level “The Culture of Nature” — require introducing an eco-critical framework appropriate to a wide range of artistic forms, from literature to visual art, music, film and new media.

The process-relational framework developed in Ecologies of the Moving Image is synthetic and holistic in its scope, but it is too advanced for introducing in itself — accompanied by the philosophical underpinnings it requires — in these undergraduate classes. So I’ve been forced to rethink its categories to make them both more accessible and more broadly applicable.

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To the extent that ontological questions drive my recent writing (which includes Ecologies of the Moving Image, Ecologies of Identity, and a metaphysical manifesto-thriller called Why Objects Fly Out the Window), they are predominantly the following two:

  1. How do things enter into relation with other things?
  2. What happens (in the world) when they do?

In other words, I’m grappling with the nature of events, which I would define as new relational processes arising unpredictably from the encounter of previously unconnected processes.  View full article »

Seems someone else beat me to reviewing Bernd Herzogenrath’s anthology Deleuze/Guattari and Ecology for Deleuze Studies, and the reviews editor failed to tell me that (which he must have known for a few months now; I hope that’s not common practice for them). In any case, things like that happen, especially with academic journals that operate with little or no administrative support, as is the case with DS. I could send it to another journal, but DS is the leading venue for anglophone Deleuze scholarship and the book’s been out since late 2008, so I’ll just share it here, in its extended-length and hyperlinked (and thus ‘value-added’) version.

Incidentally, if anyone else would like a venue for online publishing of reviews related to Deleuze, eco/geophilosophy, and the like, I’m quite happy to make space available here for that. The print publication process, after all, takes time (and costs money), and journals are better used as venues for peer-reviewed scholarship, which also takes time, than for reviews, which are useful as soon as they’re written.

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I’ve been impressed and even moved by a few recent posts over at Larval Subjects. “Electro-Chemical Signifiers” describes the author’s transformation from full-fledged Lacanian (both theorist and analyst) to something that seems much broader and welcoming of the world. Not, of course, that Lacanians cannot be broad and welcoming of the world; I’m only judging LS’s movement based on his own narrative. That narrative concerns depression and a cure (not a talking cure) as well as, it seems, gardening.

In “Gardening”, LS mixes soil, happiness (the author’s, at watching spinach, romaine, and cucumbers “poke up from the earth”), science, and Alberto Toscano’s Theatre of Production (which I just ordered) and Susan Oyama’s Ontogeny of Information (which I found mesmerizing when I read it years ago and am now happy to hear referred to more & more as she belatedly finds a well-deserved audience).

In the (ex-)Lacanian confessional he writes:

“I think Guattari had the right idea in proposing a model in which we strove to think the intersection of regimes of signs, the biological body, economics, nature, etc… A highly complex ecological, networked model.”

Not only is Guattari wandering in this intersective middle-earth of bodies, neurons, cultures, politics, and economies, but so, I would add, are Deleuze, William Connolly, Francesco Varela, Eve Sedgwick, JK Gibson-Graham, Antonio Damasio (in some respects), and many others who’ve been inspiring my thoughts on this blog and in my writing. Thanks, LS, for your courage.


The term “geophilosophy” is intended here in a nod both to Aldo Leopold’s idea of “Thinking like a mountain,” which I take as a provocation (what, or how, does a mountain think?) rather than a declaration of identity (“I’m the one who speaks for the mountain”) and, secondly, to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s ecophilosophizing. The latter can be found especially in A Thousand Plateaus and in the “Geophilosophy” chapter of their final work, What is Philosophy?. Mark Bonta and John Protevi provide a useful elaboration of Deleuze/Guattari’s views, while a growing number of other theorists draw from it in thinking about politics, society, and the human-nonhuman nexus.

More generally, geophilosophy is philosophy in and of the earth. To the extent that all our philosophizing, and all our culturing and politicking and religioning and art-making and languaging, emerges out of the effort to live with others in and on and with the earth, geophilosophy is everything, or at least the reflective and communicative part of everything. While much of that everything has heretofore (at least in recent times) been unconsciously geophilosophical, some of it is attempting to be conscious and reflective about it, and to get better at it.

The intent of this blog is to keep a finger on the pulse of at least some of the currents flowing in the direction of a better geophilosophy of living.

Several prominent Deleuzians are collected in Bernd Herzogenrath’s “Deleuze/Guattari and ecology.” The opening chapter is on the publisher’s web site.