Needless to say, Gilles Deleuze stands as a towering giant in western philosophy, a position which he shares with Foucault at present. Though Deleuze is being widely read in India from 1970’s onwards, the complexity of his system still poses many troubles for the readers. There are two distinct features that make Deleuzian system different from others. Firstly, it is a philosophy with immense imagination, range and futurity. Perhaps the developments and achievements in present-day science like genomics, cyborgs, prosthetics or cybernetics could be conceptualised only within the philosophy of Deleuze. His system enfolds a wide range of subjects and topics, from ontological questions and evolution to geology, metallurgy and military sciences. That is why Alain Badiou qualified him as the “Thinker-of-All”. The second feature is his strident positioning within the discourse of philosophy itself. At a time when modern thought was taken over by methods of inquiry like structuralism, linguistics and their deadly offshoot, postmodernism, Deleuze stuck to the ramparts of philosophy, never wavering a bit. If at all there has occurred a revival of philosophy at the face of the onslaughts of structuralism, Marxism, deconstruction and other postmodern variants, we owe greatly to Deleuze’s single-handed effort. This resulted in his “differential philosophy” which he developed in the 1960’s. This is a highly complex philosophy and the complexity derives from the superb synthesis he makes in his differential system drawing from a number philosophers like Hume, Kant, Maimon, Scotus, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson etc. Deleuzian system, therefore, can be accessed only with a basic understanding of the other currents in western philosophy. The Journal Deleuze Studies and a collective formed around it are trying their best to popularise Deleuzian philosophy across the world at present. Apart from holding conferences in different parts of the world where specialists generally interact, they are also organising “Deleuze Camps” to initiate students and amateur aspirants to Deleuzian philosophy. These Camps are held as part of the conferences.
The Deleuze Studies Conference that started off with the Cardiff conference in 2008 has already made great strides as it reaches Istanbul and Osaka in 2014. The creative inspiration behind the conference is the consolidation and exchange of Deleuzian scholarship under a specific organisational protocol. The conferences that were held in various parts of the world in the previous years were highly successful in initiating transdisciplinary dialogues and inter-cultural interactions on various issues from a Deleuzian vantage-point. The year 2013 witnessed a basic change regarding the location of the conferences in the future. So as to facilitate the increased representation of more and more remotely lying areas like Asia and Latin America in the conference, the organisers found it conducive to conduct the conference in two locations in the same year. “Deleuze Studies in Asia Conference” started as part of this new initiative. It had its first conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in June 2013 and this year in Osaka, Japan, from June 6 to 8.
The Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities (MCPH), Manipal University, looks forward to host the third one in this series from 5 to 7 June, 2015 in Manipal. The star attraction of the conference will be the Deleuze Camp for students and aspiring Deleuze scholars to be held from from May 29 to June 2, 2015. Top Deleuzian scholars will be the resource persons in the Camp.
A conference held on Deleuze in India is imperative on many grounds. Firstly, it would be the first conference in India on Deleuze. Secondly, it would be a great fillip not only to the popularising of Deleuzian philosophy, but also to the study of philosophy and humanities in India and Asia. Indian philosophy which is a much neglected area at present urgently requires such critical interaction with the Western Philosophy and Deleuzism for identifying the lacunas behind its decline in the modern period as well as for opening up a new vista for revitalisation. Thirdly, Asia raises a set of autochthonous and allochthonous issues like postcoloniality , poverty, underdevelopment, human rights violation, gender disparity, environmental degradation, religious fundamentalism, terrorism etc. which can be reflected upon very fruitfully in the conference. Fourthly, Asia also manifests a reverse side to the above predicament which is the presence of advanced capitalism and its accompanying discontents in a set of super-economies like China, Korea, Japan and Singapore. This means an alternate set of problems that has many commonalities with the advanced West can be engaged with in the conference. Fifthly, there are areas like literature, cinema, creative arts, science etc. which can be subjected to philosophical and transdisciplinary analyses without sacrificing their cultural or ethnic exclusivity. Asia as a complex multiplicity both excludes as well as shares a bunch of intellectual and materialist questions with the West which in turn can be explored to an appreciable extent in the Deleuze conference at Manipal. Following is the link to the website of the conference.
More information regarding the conference, invited speakers, the schedule and to know how to apply, visit the conference website – Deleuze 2015 Conference.