Paperback for Deleuze and the Naming of God

Apologies for the self-promotion, but I thought that readers may be interested in knowing that a paperback version of my Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence will soon be coming out. In other words, this book has become relatively affordable. It is now available for pre-order.

Reviews of the book that I am aware of are available online by Alex Dubilet at Parrhesia and by Joshua Ramey at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Jon Bialecki has reviewed the book, together with another on an overlapping topic (LeRon Shults’ Iconoclastic Theology), at Religion and Society (behind paywall, though feel free to contact me at danielcbarber(at)

Bad Versions, p.s., Abstraction

I appreciated the reading and comments of my previous post, and wanted to respond a bit more formally — though also perhaps too tangentially. The operation that my criticism tried to indicate is one that often seems to be associated with the need for and power of abstraction. For my part, I don’t have any a priori complaint about abstraction. In many ways, I think it’s central and essential. The question, though, is that of how abstraction is articulated, or even spatialized.

In the operation I was criticizing, abstraction tends to serve as something like a common space, one that is, at least in the last instance, able to remain exterior to the differences that intractably appear, or that appear to be intractable. The demand for emancipation has a normativity or universality that — regardless of how this demand has been misused or perverted or functioned for domination, etc. — is, in the last instance or in its essence, capable of (and necessary for) resisting or overcoming these differentiated modes of domination. This, in any case, is how the operation seems to work. And abstraction is then the means by which this essential value of normativity or universality is indicated or expressed. In other words, regardless of the variegated differentiations that embed and/or are embedded by domination, there remains the capacity of abstraction, understood here as the capacity for the differentiated to encounter one another in a manner that is ultimately or in principle free of the determinative differentiations. Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Versions

Observing the contemporary theoretical terrain, there’s a certain operation that I find rather striking — both in its valorization and in its predominance. We might call this an operation of resuscitation, revival, or rejuvenation (though, for my own reasons, I would call it — or at least locate it within a field of — conversion). This operation is one in which a term, or point of reference, that appears to have become outmoded is taken up and (re)valorized. I imagine that there are a number of instances of such terms, but the ones that jump out to me most immediately include “universalism,” “normativity,” and “Hegel.” While there may be various differences between the specific versions of such revalorizations, I am interested in an overarching commonality among them. This commonality, once again, is operational: the revalorized term is advanced in connection with a readiness to turn aside critiques of the term as belonging only to the “bad version” of the term, but not to the revalorized term. In other words, the operation goes something like this: “of course I understand that you have a deeply critical relation to ‘universalism / normativity / Hegel,’ and you are absolutely right to maintain such a relation — provided that you come to realize that this critical relation belongs to the bad version of ‘universalism / normativity / Hegel,’ and thus not to my revalorized version of this term.” (Shorter versions of this include “trust that your problems have been recognized and — at least in principle — overcome” and “Dad is not so bad.”) Read the rest of this entry »

More on Accelerationism

In the spirit of Dominic Fox’s comments, I thought I would post a few thoughts about the recent discussion between Anthony Paul Smith and Pete Wolfendale.

One of the things that’s striking to me is the call, on the part of Accelerationists, for interpretive charity. I mention this not primarily because I want to protest it, nor because I want to defend a certain flippancy in responding to Accelearationism (which no doubt I could be pinned with at times), but simply to analyze it. My question, very simply, is why it is that critiques of Accelerationism seem to be received as if they were lacking in charity. Is it because the Accelerationist project is imagined as having a value such that too hasty critique of it would lead to a dismissal that would be ultimately unfortunate? (If so, in virtue of what is this value derived?) Is it because the Accelerationist project is imagined as being fundamentally right, such that critiques of it could not touch its essence but only stem from seizing on an accidental misphrasing? … Again, these are serious / honest questions – I don’t mean to phrase them in such a way that they are already read to be lacking charity.

On a related point, I wanted to clarify a bit about the nature of the critique of Accelerationism that I, at least, advance. It is, rather (perhaps too) bluntly, that it is a developmentalist project, which is to say that it is, in the narrative and possible positions it sets up, structurally complicit in the colonialism and anti-black racism that are entangled in modernity. (Perhaps this could be disentangled – I don’t think so, but in any case, given the historical reality I think the burden of demonstrating this disentanglement is on those who advance the modern project, and this means, at the very least, that critical awareness of such entanglement ought not be pathologized in advance as a kind of refusal to participate in a “positive” project of emancipation or “space of reasons.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Immanence and Hadewijch

Readers might be interested in a series of posts being written by David Driedger, who is of course a long-time participant at AUFS. Titled “Excessive Love,” they address the intersection between immanence and Hadewijch. From my understanding, there’s one post still to arrive, but Parts One, Two, Three, and Four are already up.

Is “Non” Baseless? (A Non-Philosophical Theory of Nature Book Event)

Given a book such as this, which does so much so well, to approach a response by way of summation or comprehension is to risk binding oneself to cliché or dilution. Better, perhaps, to just pick up one of the singular insights with which the book is littered. One of these insights is embedded in Smith’s analysis of Quentin Meillassoux’s critical reading of François Laruelle. Following Smith’s own incisive account, the point of this analysis is not to start another intra-philosophical war, now between Meillassoux and Laruelle. It is rather to give attention to, or to study, what it is about Laruelle’s thought that remains unthinkable by philosophy, or by the sort of work named and called for by philosophy. This is to say that Meillassoux’s misreading of Laruelle, and the critique that depends upon this misreading, can be taken as an indication of the incommensurability between standard philosophical practice and the practice of thought that is at issue under the name “Laruelle.” Read the rest of this entry »

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ICYMI: Series on “Refusing Reconciliation”

Just wanted to call the attention of AUFS readers to the fact that the second post of Amaryah Shaye’s excellent series is now up over at Women in Theology. But if you haven’t already, then first check out the initial post.

“Reconciliation is antiblack and thus antichrist. It is anti-black because it requires the supersession of the black in order for its unity to be found in its white Christ. By black here, I don’t mean a particular skin color or identity, a certain vocal affectation, musical aesthetic, or capacity for rhythm (though I do mean all those things, too). Instead, I mean blackness as a radical refusal of the movement of reconciliation, and thus, of whiteness. To be black and to be made black is to take seriously the work of refusal, which is an antagonism, a thorn in the side of the sovereignty of whiteness. To be made black is not to be made other than one already is, in the sense that one must supersede the black in order to become a better whiter self or world or being. Instead, to be made black is to be undone through an encounter with an other that interrupts the logic of self-making, the logic of world-making, as supersession. To become black is to remain in instability, is to remain in solidarity together in instability. To become black is to be against the movement beyond sociality for the sake of becoming logical and reasonable. To become black is to refuse being made a something–to be and become nothing. Not because nothing is an absence or a lack of life, but precisely because nothing is the abundance and multiplicity out of which life is formed.”


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