Rhetoric Spring Colloquium: Brian Massumi



The concept of intensity is a keystone of process-oriented philosophies, including those of Bergson, Whitehead, Deleuze/Guattari, and Simondon, and often figures prominently in contemporary work classified under the label of affect theory. A currently widespread critique of the concept holds that it individualizes and interiorizes, in ways compromised, if not entirely tributary to, contemporary capitalism’s commodification of experience. This talk will delve into the concept of intensity, emphasizing its connection to the allied concepts of affirmation and immanence. It will be argued that intensity, resituated in its proper process-philosophical frame, is in fact a site of perpetual resistance to and collective escape form the quantifying captures at the core of capitalism’s dynamic, making a focus on it a necessary component of postcapitalist politics.

With Suzanne Guerlac, Professor of French, UC Berkeley, as Discussant


Brian Massumi is the author of numerous works across philosophy, political theory, and art theory. His publications include 99 Theses on the Revaluation of Value: A Postcapitalist Manifesto (University of Minnesota Press), Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts (MIT Press) and Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Duke University Press).


Co-sponsored by the Program in Critical Theory, the Department of English, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities

This event is free and open to the public.