Moving Beyond Us and Them? Marginality, Rhizomes, and Immanent Forgiveness


  • Valentine Moulard-Leonard


Here, I offer a candid response to bell hooks's call for a testimony to the “movement beyond a mere ‘us and them’ discussion” that purportedly informs contemporary radical and feminist thought on difference. In alignment with a tradition that includes bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Aurora Levins Morales, I offer a personal testimony to the ways in which I—a middle-class, French, immigrant, continental-philosophy-bred incest survivor—envision both that movement and its limits. To establish these alliances means forming necessary (if only momentary and unlikely) communities. I call on the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari to propose an account of the production of such communities that does not depend only on shared lived experience, but also on shared marginal spatiality (rhizomes), temporality (trauma), and “medicinal history” (nomadology). I suggest that on the one hand, Deleuze's philosophy of immanence may indeed find apt expression in the politics of integrity that hooks, Lorde, and Morales call for. On the other hand, a genuine politics of integrity may benefit from drawing on the philosophy of immanence, which alone offers alternatives to the traditional, oppositional models of difference informed by transcendence. Finally, I propose the concept of “immanent forgiveness” to capture the movement at issue.