Territories of thought: Recent vicissitudes of French thought and the American academy
Larson, Anthony Tonnes
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
The influence of French thought on the American academy in the past thirty years is unquestionable. The philosophical concept of the territory, as it is elaborated by Gilles Deleuze offers a powerful tool for explaining this influence, particularly as it is related to the thought of his contemporaries, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault The Deleuzian concept of the territory deploys a creative and affirmative notion of difference which also permits a critique of the "groundings" or "territorializations" of thought in the form of socio-historic or metaphysical "images" (the images deployed by contemporary capitalism and by certain readings of psychoanalysis and literature). A close reading of the work of Derrida and Foucault reveals the conceptual limits of their work in comparison to Deleuze's creative and affirmative notion of difference. When the thought of these former thinkers is expressed within the American academy (specifically within the work of Jonathan Culler, Paul de Man, Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, and Judith Butler), one may trace a Deleuzian re-territorialization of thought that is based on the critique Deleuze makes of socio-historic and metaphysical images of thought.
Romance literature; Philosophy