This article examines the use of George Jackson's prison letters in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and argues that the citations of Jackson in the books Deleuze wrote with Félix Guattari and Claire Parnet are best understood as an insinuation of the black radical tradition into French philosophy in the 1970s. Emphasizing the influence of Jackson's writing on the Deleuzian concept of a “line of flight,” this article aims to extend recent historical accounts of the circulation and translation of Soledad Brother in the 1970s (enabled by Jean Genet and the Prison Information Group). The article addresses the use of Jackson's letters as an example of Deleuze and Guattari's “diagrammatic” method of mapping connections between disparate political and intellectual traditions. Analyzing how, in Jackson's letters, running becomes both a figure of thought and a political concept, this article proposes that Deleuze's encounter with Jackson contributes to recent attempts to think the relation between blackness and fugitivity and demonstrates how such thinking challenges structuralist accounts of subjectivity associated with the Althusserian concept of ideology.
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Michelle Koerner; Line of Escape: Gilles Deleuze's Encounter with George Jackson. Genre 1 June 2011; 44 (2): 157–180. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-1260183
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