One of Freud’s original contributions to 20th century epistemology is the notion of “polymorphous perverse” infantile sexuality. Revisiting Freud, Laplanche reformulates it as the specific character of all human sexuality, which he calls “the sexual” and defines as distinct from and in conflict with love (attachment). He proposes that the sexual drive is not innate or endogenous but is constituted as an effect of seduction, repression, and translation. In the context of Laplanche’s theory of the sexual, the lecture examines the difference between drive and desire, the function of the concepts of castration and the Oedipus complex, the relations of sexuality and gender, and the nature of sublimation.
Teresa de Lauretis is Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written on cinema, semiotics, psychoanalysis, literary theory, and feminist theory. She is the editor of the special issue of the journal differences with the title “Queer Theory”, where the words first appeared together (1991). Her books include Technologies of Gender (1987), Figures of Resistance (2007) and Freud’s Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film (2008). Her works translated into German include Die andere Szene: Psychoanalyse und lesbische Sexualität (1996, 1999) and “Freuds Bildersprache”, Zeitschrift für psychoanalytische Theorie und Praxis 27.1 (2012).
An ICI Berlin event in collaboration with the Insitute for Queer Theory
The lecture is part of the Lecture Series Desire’s Multiplicity and Serendipity, a collaboration of the Institute of Queer Theory and the ICI Berlin. Desire, wandering about and forming assemblages, might be accompanied by serendipity or mate with jouissance or the power of the erotic, even as it fails to reach its presumed aim. Instead of running on a single track, we take desire to be functioning in a multiple manner. We call on desire’s serendipity to grasp its illogical, contingent modes as a figure of fortunate errans. The lecture series Desire’s Multiplicity and Serendipity looks for queer reconceptualizations of desire, its cultural articulations and lived realities. The key question is how to get from the critique of desire as a hierarchizing and normalizing force to the heterotopias of desire. What would it mean to understand or experience desire as opening up to alterity, undermining its own involvement in structural inequalities and normative violence?
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