The postcolonial event: Deleuze, glissant and the problem of the political

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


The relation between the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari and the foremost postcolonial thinker in the francophone world, Édouard Glissant, is long-standing, complex and immensely consequential, both for the work of Glissant himself and for the wider field of Postcolonial Studies in general. Glissant has recently described how he met Guattari in Paris in the 1980s, and the friendship that resulted from the impression the latter made upon him: ‘I said to myself, “I'm hearing Socrates.” I heard the same wisdom, the same irony, the same bitterness of approach and fundamental kindness’ (cited in Dosse 2007: 515). The result of this encounter profoundly influenced Glissant, who is as much an inventor of concepts as Deleuze and Guattari themselves. Like his predecessors Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant has combined a passionate engagement in the politics of decolonisation with a concern to analyse the modes and structures of French colonialism, from its origins to its peculiar perpetuation in the form it has taken since 1946 as the so-called ‘Departmentalisation’ of the former ‘colony’ of Martinique (as well as Guadeloupe and French Guiana). In 1959, Glissant was a founding member with Paul Niger and Daniel Boukman of the separatist Front Antillo-Guyanais pour l'Autonomie, and because of his political activity, was barred from leaving metropolitan France for the Overseas Departments from 1961 to 1965 (Calmont 2007: 95). Glissant's nationalist, pro-independence political engagement continued to second his literary and theoretical work throughout the 1970s, culminating in the publication in 1981 of Le Discours antillais, the work which stands today, beside Césaire's Discours sur le colonialisme (1953) and Fanon's Peau noire, masques blancs (1952), as the outstanding critique of French colonialism in the Caribbean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDeleuze and the Postcolonial
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780748637010
ISBN (Print)9780748636990
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'The postcolonial event: Deleuze, glissant and the problem of the political'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this