EP5: Lynne Huffer: Foucault’s Strange Eros and Deleuzian Desire
Manage episode 323391312 series 3270223
In this episode Lynne Huffer, Professor of WGSS at Emory University, discusses Foucault’s Strange Eros (2020), the third book in her trilogy on Foucault. Reading Foucault as a Sapphic poet who makes “cuts” in the archive, Huffer argues that in the West “eros is to sexuality as unreason is to madness,” or, in other words, that eros forms an elusive background out of which sciences such as sexology extract objects of sexual knowledge which they can then presume to study. Eros, as that which is “other to the West although also at the origin of the West,” is thus also that which is “strange.”
Responding to our invitation to consider overlaps and divergences between Foucault’s eros and Deleuzian desire, Huffer considers potential equivalences between these two concepts as well as questions the motivation for equating, and thus eliding, their differences. In this process, she also offers a response to Deleuze’s own articulation of the gap between his concept of desire and Foucault’s notion of pleasure, as he articulated them in his 1977 letter to Foucault titled “Desire and Pleasure.”
Huffer’s consideration of Deleuzian desire sparks a lively discussion among attendees who then debate a range of topics including reasons for the omission of Deleuze’s non-Freudian conception of the unconscious in American queer theory as well as resonances between Foucaultian eros and Audre Lorde’s illumination of the erotic as a source of power for black lesbian feminists.
Selected Sources Referenced
Deleuze, Gilles. “Desire and Pleasure,” Two Regimes of Madness, 1977.
Deleuze and Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1972.
Deleuze and Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1980.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1975.
Foucault, Michel. History of Madness, 1961.
Foucault, Michel. “Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside,” 1966.
Huffer, Lynne. Are the Lips a Grave: A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex, 2013.
Huffer, Lynne. Foucault’s Strange Eros, 2020.
Huffer, Lynne. Mad for Foucault: Rethinking the Foundations of Queer Theory, 2010.
Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Sister Outsider, 1985.
Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual, 2002.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power, 2017.
Notable Quotes from Lynne
“Eros is strange.”
“Eros is to sexuality as unreason is to madness.”
“I am reading Foucault as a Sapphic poet.”
“For Foucault, thinking is an experiment, a practice of transformation, and thinking was something he was able to do with Deleuze.”
“I wonder about this desire to make eros and desire the same? To find some sort of equivalence between this eros I’m finding in Foucault and desire in Deleuze and Guattari.”