4-6 December 2019, University of the Western Cape

Pedagogies in
—the Wild—

The 3rd South African Deleuze & Guattari
Studies Conference

The movement of the swimmer does not resemble that of the wave, in particular, the movements of the swimming instructor which we reproduce on the sand bear no relation to the movements of the wave, which we learn to deal with only by grasping the former in practice as signs. That is why it is so difficult to say how someone learns: there is an innate or acquired practical familiarity with signs, which means that there is something amorous – but also something fatal – about all education. We learn nothing from those who say: “Do as I do”. Our only teachers are those who tell us to “do with me”, and are able to emit signs to be developed inheterogeneity rather than propose gestures for us to reproduce. In other words, there is no ideo-motivity, only sensory-motivity. […] To learn is indeed to constitute this space of an encounter with signs, in which the distinctive points renew themselves in each other, and repetition takes shape while disguising itself.

— GILLES DELEUZE, Difference and Repetition

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"We learn nothing from those who say: 'Do as I do'. Our only teachers are those who tell us to 'do with me', and are able to emit signs to be developed in heterogeneity rather than propose gestures for us to reproduce." — Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition

Call for papers

The recent #Rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall protests have set South African higher education on a new course towards transformation, focusing on equitable access to higher education, Africanisation and decolonisation.

Similar movements have reverberated across the globe, addressing issues of neoliberalism, for example in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Chile; racism, as in Ghana and the US; and curfews on women students in India. This has raised important questions regarding knowledge production; continuing structural racism, patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia; the use and value of western theorists in research and curricula; and who gains epistemological and physical access to higher education. On the other hand, we have seen many productive junctures between pedagogy, education studies and the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. In particular, there has been a focus on cartography, schizoanalysis, corporeal theorising, rhizomatic learning and nomadic thought in socially just pedagogical praxis. These junctures and innovative genealogies and methodologies can both address these issues and be further improved and made more precise by engagements with what it means to transform and reconfigure pedagogies and practices in higher education.

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Suggested topics

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  • 1. Neoliberal Capitalism and the University: Materialising Higher Education Policy

    What might a response-able Deleuze-Guattarian engagement with higher education policy look like, aim to do and seek to produce? A number of Deleuze-Guattarian scholars, but most notably Maurizio Lazzarato, has done extensive research on the conditions of employment and unemployment, as well as precarious governing in the neoliberal labour market. Accordingly, this theme focuses on questions around how neoliberal, new public management practices which emphasise economic imperatives, corporatisation and commercialisation, are reshaping knowledge, bodies, relations, flows and capacities within higher education at local, national, regional and global levels. This theme provides an opportunity to explore how Deleuze-Guattarian frameworks can help us rethink the ‘nature’, scope and effects of higher education policy, through questions such as:

    • • What work is done by systems of metrics and measurement?
    • • How is ‘policy’ assembled and configured as a materialist apparatus of performative practices, processes and productivities?
    • • How are the multiple entanglements of private-public in higher education enacted materially and immaterially?
    • • How is policy translation effected globally and nationally?
    • • How do staff strikes and student protests inform the materialisation of policy formation?
    • • What might an ethico-onto-epistemological policy analysis entail?
  • 2. Spaces, Spatiality and Unschooling: Places of/and/un/Learning in Higher Education

    Higher education spaces are usually considered in relation to how they optimise student learning and, increasingly, how they optimise marketing potential to attract new students. In addition, meanings of ‘space’, ‘place’, ‘environment’ and ‘context’ are often elided, and it is taken for granted that learning happens in classrooms, seminar rooms and lecture halls. Such discourses take space for granted as a neutral background on which human endeavour is located. Unschooling (in a meta sense rather than the narrow sense of homeschooling) resists this kind of pedagogy in favour of building real communities and replacing dry, nationalist agendas with different kinds of training programs, learning opportunities and methodologies, apprenticeships, internships and mentorships. Unschooling thus represents a material politics aimed at genuine social freedom and enjoyable learning. Normative ways of understanding space and schooling are challenged by Deleuze-Guattarian understandings which, instead, conceptualise space as an entangled ‘constellation of human–nonhuman agencies, forces and events’ (Taylor, 2013: 688) within which objects, bodies and things do surprising and important if often unnoticed and mundane work as material agents and actants. Theoretically, such work draws on and takes forward the rich traditions of feminist and postmodernist understandings of space developed by Doreen Massey, Henri Lefebvre, and Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy of space and striation. This theme therefore wishes to open up debates about higher education spaces by considering questions such as:

    • • What is the role of architecture, design and infrastructure in higher education?
    • • How might the materialities of higher education spaces and places be conceptualised via inter-, multi- and post-disciplinary frameworks?
    • • How can we take account of the importance of places of informal learning?
    • • How does the iterative materialisation of space-time-matter come to matter in higher education spaces?
    • • How is higher education being spatially reconfigured in relation to global flows of bodies?
    • • Which/ whose bodies matter in higher education spaces?
    • • What new spatial imaginaries are needed for higher education to thrive?
    • • How can feminist new materialisms in its overlaps and divergences with Deleuze-Guattarian philosophy aid us to produce new understandings of space-place-matter entanglements in higher education?
    • • How can we challenge assumptions such as ‘knowledge belongs to experts’ in favour of materialist/experimental/experiential collaborations in teaching and learning?
    • • What kinds of material and affective potential does unschooling offer us for thinking about curriculum development in Higher Education?
  • 3. Pedagogy, Love and Affect

    While much work has been done on the affective turn as a rubric of inquiry and analyses, turning our attention to sites of struggle and the socio-political and economic structures that undergird them through signification, representation, essentialist notions of biological matter and the primacy afforded to the human, not much work has been done on the triad pedagogy-love-affect. In fact, love remains a largely underexplored topic in Deleuze-Guattarian studies. Hannah Stark is one of the few scholars to investigate Deleuze’ and Guattari's references to love and positions this in terms of ethics, rather than mere affect. While drawing attention to the body and emotions (and the mind as embodied), affect signals far more because it suggests a non-linear causality – an agential capacity to affect and be affected, the power to act and the social complexities and relations that influence this power. It thus foregrounds new possibilities for political expression and action. But where, in all this talk of power, is the place of love in pedagogy? In thinking about pedagogy-affect-love, this stream asks questions such as:

    • • What kinds of politics or aesthetics might emerge from affective learning and teaching?
    • • HWhat kinds of relationality does affect prompt between learner and teacher so that power hierarchies, for example, can be challenged?
    • • What is the place of love in pedagogy, especially in its neoliberal formations and pressures?
    • • What is the relation between love, affect and pedagogy and what might a Deleuze-Guattarian grounding offer us here?
    • • What is the place of love in pedagogy, especially in its neoliberal formations and pressures?
    • • How can affect be used as a methodology? What would this methodology look like and enable?
    • • How can affect be used to mobilise desire, following Deleuze and Guattari’s productive sense of desire?
    • • What is the relation between Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding of desire and love?
    • • How can different understandings of affect be used in higher education pedagogy and research?
  • 4. Ecologies, Pedagogies, and Deleuze and Guattari

    Ecology, as material reality and as a political movement, call upon us to pay attention to radical human/non-human entanglements. This, in turn, requires that we not only jump across the conceptual 'fences' erected between humans and non-humans, but also that we bridge divides between disciplines of knowledge and ways of knowing. How, then, can the Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy – and particularly Guattari’s ‘three ecologies’ – help in the critical task of bringing the ecological into conversation with the pedagogical? Such conversations might benefit from the following considerations:

    • • How might Deleuzo-Guattariaan conceptions of immanence inform ecological pedagogical practices?
    • • How can new materialist-informed pedagogies benefit from the ecological philosophical praxis (ecosophy) developed by Félix Guattari?
    • • What does it mean to think about socially just pedagogies as immanent rather than transcendent and how can new materialist and Deleuze-Guattarian praxes help with this?
    • • Given the transversal focus of Deleuzo-Guattarian philosophy, how can we foster dialogues across disciplines of knowledge at universities in order to foster ecological pedagogical practices?
    • • How do we talk about the Anthropocene in classrooms, and how might the new materialisms and Deleuze-Guattarian philosophy help generate appropriate pedagogical responses and stratagems?
    • • How can Rosi Braidotti’s formulation of zoë-egalitarianism be brought into conversation with ecology as a political, biological and pedagogical praxis?
    • • How can indigenous knowledge systems be brought into conversation with the new materialisms and the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari to help us conceive radically reworked forms of ecological and pedagogical praxes, as Eduardo Vivieros de Castro does in his work, for example?
  • 5. Deleuze-Guattarian Intersections with New Materialisms in Higher Education

    The humanities have seen a number of ‘turns’ over the past two decades. This is true of Deleuzian scholarship as well, which has tended in a number of directions, but in two markedly consequential ones, namely speculative realism and new materialisms. At the heart of the new materialisms, and in the tradition of Deleuze-Guattarian thought, we find that categories previously deemed binary are now held to be part of a complex co-imbricated ontology, as the work of, for example, Jane Bennett, Karen Barad, Elizabeth Grosz, Donna Haraway, Manuel DeLanda and John Protevi have shown. Studies such as these have given rise to more complex understandings of many phenomena, including pedagogy and Higher Education. In particular, there has been a focus on cartography, Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of schizoanalysis which problematises Cartesian subjectivity, corporeal theorising, rhizomatic learning, nomadic thought and so on. This stream brings together the series Deleuze-Guattari-pedagogy, and Deleuze-Guattari-new materialisms-higher education to ask:

    • • How can the intersection between Deleuze and Guattari and the new materialisms be used as a tool for reconceptualising higher education – the classroom, lessons, assessments, research methodologies, curricula and so on?
    • • What is the potential of this intersection in terms of subjective and enunciative arrangements in higher education? How might these intersections reconfigure student-teacher relationalities?
    • • What potentials exist to counter-actualise higher education contexts against disciplinary and control systems?
    • • In what ways can Deleuze, Guattari and the new materialisms act as conduits for multimodal and multiple literacies to become embodied praxis?
  • 6. Pedagogies of Entanglement and Spectrality

    The spectrality of ‘being’ - which is not the same as ‘presence’ as Derrida argues – calls for a hauntology that allows for the emergence of new ways of living. It also enables a praxis that is capable of “confront[ing] ‘white’ culture with the kind of temporal disjunction that has been constitutive of the Afrodiasporic experience since Africans [and other indigenous peoples] were first abducted by slavers and projected from their own lifeworld into the abstract space-time of Capital” (Fisher 2013, 46). In similar fashion, the work of Deleuze and Guattari encourage engagement with and into the spectral art of entanglement, generating, in the process, novel ways of engaging with matter differently and immanently. In A Thousand Plateaus (1987), for instance, the ‘fictional pedagogue’ Professor Challenger, delivers a delirious lecture on the necessity of ‘geophilosophy’: a radically entangled, transversal, and histological onto-ethical pedagogy and philosophy of presence that binds together myth and science, objects and living beings, causal networks with substances, the universe, fate and destiny (Grosz 2017, 136). In this stream, we ask presenters to take up this challenge by considering ways in which the uncanny/spectral/hauntological might engender new forms of ‘being-presence’ and ‘being-in-becoming’ in higher education praxis. As Deleuze and Guattari suggest, transversal ‘contaminations’ between widely divergent realms of knowledge are not so much rules or exceptions to rules as they are indications of how objects, flows, processes and assemblages operate along variegated relational axes and scales. The spectral, in their onto-ethical epistemology, announces protean multiplexity and the impossibility of single-vision or orientation. Bearing in mind the hauntological complexity of the material and the immaterial, we ask presenters to engage creatively and dynamically with a Deleuze-Guattarian pedagogy of the uncanny. Such an engagement might be informed by, but is by no means restricted to, the following questions:

    • • How might pedagogy hauntologically account for the “shimmer” or “ancestral power of things” in order to “tell more truthful accounts” of their multiple relations and agential capacities (Rose 2017, 55)?
    • • How – referring to the work of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro as well as multiple other contemporary Deleuze-Guattarian scholars from the ‘Global South’ – might pedagogies benefit from indigenous knowledge systems that require us to spectrally rework our forms of attention?
    • • How might pedagogy creatively account for the protean and uncanny ability of all things (whether biological, artificial, human, nonhuman, material and/or immaterial) to possess, to draw near and to conjoin powers?
    • • How might new technologies, novel scientific methodologies and different approaches to literacy, such as the affective mathematical literacies explored by Elizabeth de Freitas and Nathalie Sinclair (2014) help to facilitate a pedagogy that is able to practice hauntology?
    • • How might pedagogies across divergent areas – between the hard sciences, social science, humanities and arts' – usher in “new modes of noticing” that allow us to better see the “complex multispecies relationships that make nearly all life possible” and prevent the terrible damage that single vision has done (and may yet do) to the sphere of life itself (McFall-Ngai 2016, 41)?
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The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. The fee for the full two days (including tea/coffee and lunch) is 100€/R1,500 for affiliated academics, 80€/R1,200 for salaried persons and 40€/R600 for anyone with limited financial means (nobody will be excluded for lack of funds; please let us know in the registration email if you cannot pay the full fee).

To register, email deleuzeafrica@gmail.com by 30 June 2019, including an abstract of 300-500 words if you wish to present. Make sure to include your affiliation (if any), along with your contact details and any access, dietary or other requirements you have. We welcome proposals for the delivery of presentations through art, performance, poetry, multimedia or any other mode of creative expression. Please also let us know if you’d like to attend the free two-day workshop on Anti-Oedipus.

"How do the semiotics of space and time in the school... how do the semiotics of discipline... support crushing, sometimes definitively, the semiotics of the “pre-school" child? And how do they generate the semiotic conditions of the factory, office and barracks? In fact, the machine of obligatory learning does not primarily have the goal of transmitting information, knowledge or a “culture," but of transforming the child’s semiotic coordinates from top to bottom." — Felix Guattari, The Machinic Unconscious

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General information

Further information coming soon

We will release a full list of keynotes as well as venue information shortly.