Geo-Philosophies: A Series

Authors: Nate Gallant, David Liu, & Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Posted: February 8th, 2021

In recent years two forms of resistance to Eurocentric thought have aligned themselves into a strategic front despite their disciplinary “remove”: the various lineages of de/postcolonial thought “versus” the resurgence of “non-Western” (esp. Islamic) epistemologies expressive of subordinated folks and traditions. Yet this sodality continues to be interdicted by the disciplinary architecture of our humanities and social sciences, where the segregation of Eurocentric from “non-Western” modes of thought has impeded this alliance across the academy. This is seen in the monopoly of the white analytic tradition in Anglophone Philosophy departments; the denial of history and politics supplying the transcendentalist functions of “comparative” work; colonial knowledge production through geographically detained area studies; and the secularized university’s double-erasure of non-Judeo-Christian ways from its already annexed/ghettoized theological beginnings. Such discursive enforcements don’t just leave an institutional lacuna, but set antagonistic conditions in which to assert and advance hybrid or centrifugal thought idioms.  

The work of this dialogical series is to test the potential of geophilosophies, a concept pluralized from the late Deleuze/Guattari, as a nourishing matrix to these solidarities.  By this notion, we ask how the very project of philosophy might not only be multiplied but differentialized to enliven and propel modes of thinking and knowing which have suffered chronic erasure, discredit or ignorance by dominant cultures of the global North – even at their most self-critical. There are, no doubt, as many possible paths as there are bodies, practices, and ideas that elide and transgress the palisades of Empire, in/out of the academy. Thus we imagine the historical structure of this term to offer an open-ended organizational impulse, a node through which to route and amplify those praxes stymied by the above sanctions. To wit, we wish to explore the freedom of new assemblages and subjectivities implicit in the concepts of diaspora and diasporicity as these terms enact and situate Deleuzian nomadology in several recent thinkers. 

To speak of ‘geophilosophies’ is also to hold taut the incomplete promise with the risk of philosophy as arbiter and site of multitudinous vital potential—to untie the geo-location of bodies, tribes, concepts and practices from their colonial distribution among nation-states and zones, rejecting the very hegemonic politics by which that order was forged. This series will seek to intensify current efforts to embrace the differential lacing of theoretical idioms across the englobing platforms of world philosophies, religious studies, ethnic studies, consciousness studies, etc.–and thus nomadicize thought.  

Through our colloquia we will be staging papers, blog-posts, and podcasts around these queries: How can a conceptual statt disciplinary goad offer a more welcome shared “home” and open creative portals for these various endeavors? How and by what terms might “world philosophies” no longer retard but supply anti-imperialist politics? Contributions may address a variety of sites to challenge the rapport between the universalizing idiom of “philosophy” and “religion,” the academy’s controlling economy of colonial knowledge, and assess how the diagnoses of ‘geophilosophies’ can build the counterforms of redress.