Date: Tuesday, April 8, 1997 10:31:34 PM
To: Earl Jackson, Jr.
I’ve been trying to imagine how peircing is a modern form of
paralysis. I don’t think that I’m looking at it right. If hysteria is a
defense, (like in the case we talked about this morning where the woman
was defending herself against having to think those bad thoughts about
her sister’s husband) then what are pierced people defending themselves
against? I don’t suppose that I’m looking at this very objectively,
because I do have a tongue piercing, but I suppose that if Freud sat me
down we could come up with something.
That’s part of the problem I’m having with reading these
texts/case histories/etc. I’m not sure how to „use“ them. In other
words, when we read Foucault in Troy’s class, we then talked about
Foucault’s conception of the panoptic subject and how that functioned in
texts..texts other than more Foucault. But reading Freud and using his
conception of the hysteric subject and how that functions in other texts,
is that what we’re supposed to be getting out of this? We’re reading far
to much Freud if that’s it. Not that I don’t think that we should
examine how hysteria plays out in other texts. (This isn’t an outraged
cry, more of a quiet whimper).
It’s just that Freud seems to be saying
a lot more than, say, Foucault. And He’s saying it in a different
context, and maybe that’s what constantly hangs me up. Foucault is
writing aobut literature and historcal stuff, and his audience, while it
isn’t really me the UCSC undergrad, is for other people who are
interseted in historicity and literature. Freud is writing, at least
from what I can gather, and this is only in the context of the first
week’s readings, for a very specific audience of doctors who he is trying
to convince that this kind of doctoring is ligitimate. There is where I
stumble, because the intent is not necessarily to examine literature.
The next thing that I keep stumbling on is that Freud is
examining texts. These women are creeating a text of their bodies, that
has signification beyond what they are trying to express. Freud is the
one who acts like a lit student, because he interprets these texts. So
should we be examining his methods? Is that what we’re doing?
Now, obviously, I haven’t checked the web lately, and it may be
that all of these quesitons are answered there. But I have the feeling
that even if there are answers, these are still the questions I want to ask.
Also, in response to something that came up in discussion today,
did you notice that no one answered my question about sexuality? Apart
from my disenchantment with Freud’s skip-over of girl psycho-sexual
development, I realised that I think it is strange that the first people
Freud is working with are women. And that Hysterics are mostly women,
yet Freud, even though he begins with women in this case, doesn’t begin
with them in terms of development. Does that make sense? I think I’m
going to bring that question up again, because in one sense I think it’s
imperative that we make some attempt to say we’re talking about male
sexuality (or female as long as we can come up with a definition) because
I don’t think there is a human sexuality (that is includes both male and
female) coming from Freud’s standpoint. (Does that make sense?)
And then I . . .
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