Strategic Mapping: Surveillance and the Battlefield from ‘Radical Theory’ to ‘Facts on the Ground’

Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

Both surveillance and its theories have multiple, sometimes contradictory, valences. In their now seminal works Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateus Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari provide new topographies and new critical apparati to understand the networked and “rhizomatic” forms of capital and state in the contemporary world. Viewing their work as paradigmatically “radical” – overturning repressive and oppressive structures in politics, psychology, and epistemology – Deleuze and Guattari sought to provide a “toolkit” for a new revolutionary philosophy and politics. In this session, we will look at an unanticipated application of their radical theory for military use in remapping battlefields and generating new, interactive, creative thinking about outmaneuvering opponents in asymmetrical warfare. We will read Eyal Weizman’s “Walking Through Walls” in which he discusses the use of Deleuze of Guattari in officer training manuals for the Israeli Defense Forces and corresponding short excerpts from A Thousand Plateaus to explore how surveillance by the state and the counter-hegemonic surveillance proposed in theory are not as diametrical as they may first appear. Finally, we will interrogate the question as to just how and when “radical theory” is “radical politics.”


  • Ajay Singh Chaudhary

    Ajay Singh Chaudhary is the executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and a core faculty member specializing in social and political theory. His research focuses on social and political theory, Frankfurt School critical theory, political economy, media, religion, and post-colonial studies. He has written for the The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Quartz, Social Text, Dialectical Anthropology, The Jewish Daily Forward, Filmmaker Magazine, and 3quarksdaily, among other venues. Ajay is currently writing a book on the politics of climate change.

Event Schedule

Sunday, 11am-2pm
December 06, 2015