Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Alex Taek-Gwang Lee

June 22, 2018

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with the Kagawaran ng Filipino (AdMU)—will host a lecture by Alex Taek-Gwang Lee. The lecture—titled “The Politics of Islands: Deleuze with Marx” is on July 4, 2018, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at Faura AVR, Ateneo de Manila University. The event is open to the public.

About the lecture

For Gilles Deleuze, islands are the evidence invoking the disturbing truth of the peaceful silence, because “the very existence of islands is the negation of this point of view, of this effort, this conviction.” They disclose the “interality” from within. Islands cannot be annexed to a continent from which humans expand their political powers to them. They still remain islands, because they are deserted. All islands are desert islands, and are not the part of any continent, even though they have now become the part of the political territory. Accordingly, this presupposition turns into a question as to what a desert island is. Deleuze insists that “an island doesn’t stop being deserted simply because it is inhabited.” The island is “either from before or for after humankind,” i.e., the site prior to being humans. It has no name and no identity. Therefore, it might be meaningless even though people occupy the island, because it is in spite of that deserted. It is because the island as such was defined by humans’ imagination, not by geographical origins, as the derivation of a continent, the marginalized place of worldly powers. People come to islands and transform them to a place like a continent. Here, Deleuze’s conceptualization of islands turns out to be the Leninist allegory of colonialism, i.e., the expansion of capitalism in its highest stage. This conjecture would meet its ground in his discussion of Michel Tournier’s Friday, or the Other Island. Through his arguments, Deleuze dissects one by one Robinson Crusoe’s colonialism. Deleuze criticizes the ideology of Robinson Crusoe and calls it the mythical reconstitution of everyday bourgeois life from an island. Deleuze’s critique seems to come along with Marx’s discussion of Robinson Crusoe in Capital. My talk will discuss the Deleuzian politics of islands in relation to Marx and attempt to suggest a Marxian re-interpretation of Deleuze in the 21st century. 

About the lecturer

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee is Professor of British and American Cultural Studies at Kyung Hee University (South Korea). He has written extensively on French and German philosophy and its non-Western reception, Korean cinema, popular culture, art and politics. He has lectured and published widely in South Korea and beyond. In a quest to discuss today’s continued importance of communist principles with contributions from intellectuals across the world and particularly Asia, he co-edited the book The Idea of Communism 3 with Slavoj Žižek (2016).

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Clarivate), Scopus, EBSCO, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

Browse By