Unearthing Nietzsche’s Bomb: Nuance, Explosiveness, Aesthetics

  • Paul Kingsbury Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University
Keywords: revolutionary philosophy, anti-foundationalism, Truth, Alenka Zupančič, postmodernism, One, multiplicity, subjectivity, nuance, explosiveness, Nietzsche, aesthetics


Friedrich Nietzsche’s revolutionary philosophy is renowned for its shocking style, bombastic assertions, and apocalyptic visions. Whether lauded or spurned, Nietzsche is usually read in geography as the anti-foundationalist philosopher who self-identified with dynamite in order to detonate the “grand narratives” of Truth. Taking bearings from the work of Alenka Zupančič, this essay argues that an even more explosive Nietzschean bomb is possible. Zupančič rewires Nietzsche as follows: first, instead of simply reading Nietzsche as the postmodern big bang igniter of systematizing discourses, Nietzsche is also the “philosopher of the event” whose explosiveness is charged by the intense nuances of stillness, silence, and subtlety. Second, while Nietzsche is frequently praised for pitting multiplicity against the totality of the One, Nietzsche also affirms moments when “One turns to Two”, that is, when totalizing discourses of representation, truth, and subjectivity become internally fractured. The essay explores these themes and their relevance to geography by telling the story of a Nietzschean “event” – the taking place of a positive correlation between nuance and explosiveness – that took place during the 2006 AAG Meetings in Chicago. The essay concludes by considering how Nietzsche can re-sensitize us to the aesthetics of everyday geographies.
How to Cite
Kingsbury, P. (1). Unearthing Nietzsche’s Bomb: Nuance, Explosiveness, Aesthetics. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 9(1), 47-61. Retrieved from https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/857