Sexuality and Meaning

Sexuality and Meaning

Sexually Marginal Critical Practice

In this seminar, our critical inquiry will fall under the category with which I have come to designate one of my primary intellectual/research commitments – a sexually marginal critical practice. Within this practice we will take up this quarter, psychoanalysis plays a central but neither a dominant nor monolithic role. By „psychoanalysis“ I refer to the most radical traditions of Freudian psychoanalytic speculation and denaturalizing insight. Freud himself set the course for the sexually marginal critical practice I mean when he wrote, in 1905, that „the exclusive sexual interest felt by men for women is also a problem that needs elucidating and is not a self-evident fact based upon an attraction that is ultimately of a chemical nature“ ( Three Essays 146n.1). In this sense, psychoanalysis is useful because „it conceives sexuality . . . as a highly mobile psychical reality that is organized symbolically, and so is always in excess of the realm of biological needs and the cultural functions it is made to serve“ (Fletcher, „Freud and his Uses“ 94) and because it elucidates how „sexuality [is] at work in all practices of the sign,“ including literature (Rose, „Sexuality in the Realm of Vision“ 229).