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June 14th, 13:15-15:00

Marek Wojtaszek: Ingress of Belief: Affectivity, Pain, and an Event of the Political (Accompanied by a reading of Black Swan, dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2010)
Location: Room Delfi, Tema Building, Linköping University
Language: English

Marek M. Wojtaszek is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the University of Lodz, Poland; currently affiliated with the Department of Transatlantic and Media Studies and Women’s Studies Center. He graduated from political science at the University of Lodz, Poland, Études Européennes at the Jean Moulin Université in Lyon, France, and completed a postgraduate program in contemporary philosophy and gender at the Utrecht Universiteit, The Netherlands. He holds a Ph.D. in the Humanities. His dissertation Beyond Gender: From Subject to Desire is shortly to be published in a book format with the Rodopi Press in Amsterdam and New York. He was a guest lecturer at different universities in the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Slovenia, Argentina. He published in English and Polish in the fields of aesthetics, critical theory, visual cultures, psychoanalysis, feminist poststructuralist philosophies with publishing houses in Amsterdam, Cambridge, Luxembourg, Minsk, New York, Utrecht. His main areas of research include the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and social-political thought of Félix Guattari, critical theory and ICTs. Currently he is working on a book project bringing together Deleuze’s philosophy of machinism, Spinoza’s theory of affectivity, and Leibnizian monadology analyzing political and ethical question of belief and its role in processes of social transformation.

… [C]apitalism is like the Christian religion,

it lives precisely from a lack of belief, it does not need it …

Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

Inspired by G. Deleuze’s intervention into Spinoza’s theory of affectivity and its rejuvenation as ethically adequate to the functioning of late capitalistic societies, I will agree with him that to think and to exist are two most powerful affects humans are capable of. Given, however, that creative thought and existence have been susceptible to (and lulled by) various transcendental illusions (i.e., representation, the Capital), they have themselves produced, it is little hopeful that they can themselves generate an impulse to genuine change. Longevity and reproducibility of capitalistic exploitation along with representational (imagistic, phenomenological, ideological, linguistic) dominance best testify to the contemporary political numbness best evidenced by the post-human “waiting for the political moment.” Present-day context seems to confront us with yet another bifurcation: either capitalistic nihilism or pèr(e)-vers-e fanaticism. This lecture will attempt to respond to the intellectual and existential melancholia in a symptomatological fashion engaging with as diverse examples exposing current affective squalor as ruthlessness toward animals, the rise of religious obscurantism and neo-barbarity in the realm of popular culture. The overwhelming melancholic cultural lullaby works to desensitize us and palliate any sensation of pain. Simultaneously, our culture is becoming increasingly violent and cruel. In order to effectively deal with such bodily horrors, I will argue, a more radical awakening is necessary. It is in this regard that I dare to enrich Deleuze’s political rendering of the potential of affectivity by invoking a concept of belief he never considers in terms of affect. Belief, I contend, emerges as an incubator in which political thought can develop paving the way to a more affirmative, peace-driven and creative existence. More importantly, I claim, it is ingress of belief that can break the toxic yet peculiarly resilient marriage of thought-existence driven and easily manipulable by negative illusions. An affect of belief – being an outside-machine itself – “a casual inference, not an association” (Deleuze, 2004: 17) (i.e., smashing the dualism of progress and regress), breeds naïve joy and sense of freedom out of which an event of the political emerges. I will consider here the example of the film Black Swan (2010) as evocative of such an event whereby belief comes to express the affective capabilities of the body through a becoming-swan. Born out of a rediscovery of an immanent belief, a novel politics constitutes a genuine alternative, a forgotten affective in-between, as Julia Kristeva claims, “thought-loci that we are attempting not to occupy but to bring to life” (Kristeva, 2009: 27). Consequently, the more one commences to believe, the more worthy of what happens one becomes, and the less in need of a transcendent structure that shelters one and promises future – material or spiritual – gains. Belief is expressed as one’s own bodily promise to endure, thus one’s own freedom.



Anderson, Pamela Sue, Jordan Bell (2010): Kant and Theology. New York: T&T Clark International.

Caputo, John D., Gianni Vattimo (2007): After the Death of God. New York: Columbia University Press.

Deleuze, Gilles (2004): The Logic of Sense. London & New York: Continuum.

__________ (1991): Empiricism and Subjectivity. An Essay on Hume’s Theory of Human Nature. New York: Columbia University Press.

__________ (1988): Spinoza. Practical Philosophy. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

Irigaray, Luce (1993): Sexes and Genealogies. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kristeva, Julia (2009): This Incredible Need to Believe. New York: Columbia University Press.

Massumi, Brian (2002): Parables for the Virtual. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Spinoza, Benedict de (2007): Theological-Political Treatise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Teresa of Avila (2008): The Book of Her Life. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Sidansvarig: elisabeth.samuelsson@liu.se
Senast uppdaterad: Wed May 13 11:15:41 CEST 2015