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Leo Bersani: Sex. Just Say No

Jun 18,19:30, 2015

Foucault’s problematizing of the nature and even the existence of sexuality and sex is itself problematic. It should perhaps be seen as an important if somewhat late moment in the modern project of re-defining, or at the very least rearranging the terms of human intimacies. In literature, there is, paradoxically, the anti-sexual polemic of D.H. Lawrence. Even more surprisingly, far from affirming the primacy of sex in human relations, psychoanalysis could be thought of as both questioning traditional assumptions about sexuality and proposing (à la Foucault) a new economy of bodily pleasures and of the relation between soma and psyche.

Leo Bersani is literary theorist and professor emeritus of French at the University of California, Berkeley. He also taught at Wellesley College and Rutgers University and was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992. Out of his numerous book publications, Homos (1995) and Is the Rectum a Grave?: And other Essays (2010) made him well known in the context of queer theory.

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Thursday, 18 June 2015
ICI Berlin
In English

Desire’s Multiplicity and Serendipity

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 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?

The Lecture Series Desire’s Multiplicity and Serendipity is a cooperation between the Institute for Queer Theory and the ICI Berlin. This talk is furthermore in cooperation with the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Freie Universität Berlin.

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