Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Asceticism, Eroticism, and the Premodern Foucault: Newberry Seminar Now Open

by EILEEN JOY

[FIRST: see Jeffrey's post here on FIRE ROCKS and Jonathan's on GLOBAL CHAUCERS.]

Last December, I shared here at ITM a preview of an advanced graduate seminar on the "late Foucault" that Anna Klosowska and I had proposed to the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library, and I am happy to report that that seminar was approved and will be running at the Newberry Library in Chicago every Friday afternoon from January 11 to March 15, 2013. The course is available for registration HERE, and if you are a student at an institution that is a member of the Center's consortium, tuition is free and there is even travel funding available.

We are really excited about this course as it interrogates materials in Old English, Middle English, and medieval and early modern French, in direct relation to seminars, lectures, and interviews of Foucault's that were related to his plans for an unfinished fourth volume of his History of Sexuality. As such, the students will be reading seminars and lectures Foucault gave late in his life in Vermont, Berkeley, and at the Collège de France, as well as interviews in which he sketched out his most current and still-developing (and tragically never completed) thinking on ascesis, subjectivity, sexuality, friendship and what he called "an improbable manner of being," which serves as the touchstone phrase for the entire course. The primary texts will include the Old English lives of Mary of Egypt and Martin, Bishop and Confessor; Felix's Anglo-Latin Life of St Guthlac, the Old English Andreas, Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale, the Lais of Marie de France, and the queer poetry of Renissance figure Madeline de l'Aubespine. We will also be undertaking readings in classical, medieval, early modern, and contemporary queer/sexuality studies: Lauren Berlant, Leo Bersani, James Bromley, Virginia Burris, David Halperin, Robert Mills, and Marc Schachter, and Lauren Berlant herself [herself!] will be visiting the seminar on the last day to discuss the future of desire & love in America.  Other guest speakers already confirmed and to-be-invited include: James Bromley, Laurie Finke, David Halperin, Peggy McCracken, Eric Ruckh, and Carl Springer.

I will share here our most recent version of the seminar's Syllabus, for those in the Chicago area [or not too far away] who might be interested in enrolling in the course:

Course Title:
Asceticism, Eroticism, and the Premodern Foucault: Revisiting Foucault’s Late Writings on the History of Sexuality and Self-Government through Medieval and Early Modern Sources

 Dates:
11 January - 15 March 2013

Short Course Description:
The course is focused on re-reading sections of Foucault’s History of Sexuality (Vols. 1 and 3, and additional published materials intended for a fourth volume), as well as some of his late interviews and lectures at the Collège du France, in relation to hagiography-romance narratives from the Late Antique, Old English, and Middle English traditions (Eileen Joy) and to medieval and early modern literary texts on love written in French (Anna Klosowska). The central guiding concept for the course is Foucault’s notion of an “improbable manner of being” -- a notion that Foucault sketched, somewhat elliptically, in his late lectures and interviews in relation to his thinking on asceticism and techniques of the “care of the self” that he had explored in classical and early Christian texts, but had no time to more fully develop. This course will explore medieval and early modern texts to imagine what the inclusion of particular representations in these texts of “improbable” modes and techniques of the self would have contributed to Foucault’s history of sexuality and his late thinking on ascesis, with an eye toward the consequences Foucault’s readings of these texts might have had upon his study of sexuality and care of the self in the premodern period.

Each of the 10 meetings pairs excerpts from Foucault’s works with readings in relevant medieval or early modern texts as well as in contemporary critical sexuality studies. Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of French, Latin, Italian, Old English, Middle English is desirable but not required. Original texts and English translations will be made available. Some background in courses in medieval literature, at the undergraduate or graduate level, is desirable.

Schedule of Events

Week 1. January 11
(a) Improbable Manners of Being

Michel Foucault, “Friendship As a Way of Life” [interview], in Foucault Live (Interviews, 1961-1984), ed. Sylvère Lotringer, trans. Lysa Hochroth and John Johnston (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989), pp. 308-312.

(b)Self-Mortification(s)

Michel Foucault, “Technologies of the Self,” in Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, eds. Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick H. Hutton (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), pp. 16-49.

Michel Foucault, “Sexuality and Solitude (1980),” in Michel Foucault, Religion and Culture, ed. Jeremy R. Carrette (New York: Routledge, 1999), 182-187.

The Old English Life of St Mary of Egypt, ed. and trans. Hugh Magennis (Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2002), pp. 58-121 [facing-page Old English/modern English edition].

Clare Lees and Gillian Overing, “Figuring the Body: Gender, Performance, Hagiography,” in Clare Lees and Gillian Overing, Double Agents: Women and Clerical Culture in Anglo-Saxon England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), pp. 110-151.

Week 2. January 18
Biopolitics/Sacred Violence

Michel Foucault, “Right of Death and Power Over Life,” in Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1990), pp. 133-159.

Michel Foucault, “The Ethics of the Concern for Self as a Practice of Freedom” (interview), in Foucault Live (Interviews, 1961-1984), ed. Sylvère Lotringer, trans. Lysa Hochroth and John Johnston (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989), pp. 432-449.

Ælfric, the Old English “St. Martin, Bishop and Confessor,” in Ælfric, Lives of Saints, ed. Walter W. Skeat, Vol. 2, EETS o.s. 94, 114 (1890, 1900; reprint Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966), pp. 218-313 [facing-page Old English/modern English edition].

Virginia Burrus, “Hybrid Desire: Empire, Sadism, and the Soldier Saint,” in The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 91-127.

Week 3. January 25
Chastity/Ascesis

Michel Foucault, “Self and Others: The Political Game,” in The History of Sexuality, Vol. 3: The Care of the Self, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1988), pp. 81-95.

Michel Foucault, “The Battle for Chastity” (1982), in Michel Foucault, Religion and Culture, ed. Jeremy R. Carrette (New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 188-197.

Mark Vernon, “Postscript: ‘I am not what I am’ — Foucault, Christian Asceticism, and a ‘Way Out’ of Sexuality,” in Michel Foucault, Religion and Culture, ed. Jeremy R. Carrette (New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 199-209.

Felix’s Life of Saint Guthlac, ed. and trans. Bertram Colgrave (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), pp. 60-172 [facing-page Anglo-Latin/modern English edition].

Robert Mills, “Of Martyrs and Men,” in Robert Mills, Suspended Animation: Pain, Pleasure and Punishment in Medieval Culture (London: Reaktion Books, 2005), pp. 145-176.

Suggested:
Karmen MacKendrick, “Asceticism: Seducing the Divine,” in Karmen MacKendrick, Counterpleasures (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), pp. 65-86.

Week 4. February 1
Adventure/Ascesis

Michel Foucault, “3 March 1982: First Hour,” in Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-1982, ed. Frédéric Gros, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Picador, 2005), pp. 331-353.

David Halperin, excerpt from Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 79-112.

Anonymous, Andreas [Old English poem], trans. Aaron Hostetter: http://oe-andreas. blogspot.com/.

Leo Bersani, “The Power of Evil and the Power of Love,” in Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips, Intimacies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), pp. 57-87.

Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, “‘One Big Soul’ (The Thin Red Line),” in Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, Forms of Being: Cinema, Aesthetics, Subjectivity (London: British Film Institute, 2004), pp. 124-178.

Week 5. February 8
‘Life Itself As a Test’/Abjection

Michel Foucault, “17 March 1982: 2nd Hour,” in Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1981-1982, ed. Frédéric Gros, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Picador, 2005), pp. 437-452.

David Halperin, excerpt from What Do Gay Men Want? An Essay on Sex, Risk, and Subjectivity (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009), pp. 69-85 [Part V].

Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Man of Law’s Tale,” in The Canterbury Tales, 3rd edn., gen. ed. Larry D. Benson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987); online interlinear translation available here: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/mlt-par.htm.

Robert Mills, “Invincible Virgins,” in Robert Mills, Suspended Animation: Pain, Pleasure and Punishment in Medieval Culture (London: Reaktion Books, 2005), pp. 106-144.

Week 6. February 15
Marie de France

Michel Foucault, Résumé des cours, trans. Karen Ann Hudec (Binghamton: SUNY Press, 1991). [French: Michel Foucault, Résumé des cours, 1970-1982 (Paris: Julliard, 1989), pp. 9-166.]

Marie de France, “Prologue,” “Guigemar,” “Equitan,” “Le Fresne,” “Bisclavret,” “Lanval,” “Yonec,” and “Eliduc,” in Marie de France, Lais, 2nd edn., ed. and trans. Glynn S. Burgess and Keith Busby (London: Penguin, 2003), pp. 41-81, 86-93, and 111-126.

Week 7. February 22
Fearless Speech

Michel Foucault, Fearless Speech, ed. Joseph Pearson (Los Angeles: Semiotexte, 2001), pp. 11-23, 75-173.

Suggested:
Paul Allen Miller, “Truth-Telling in Foucault’s ‘Le gouvernement de soi et des autres’ and Persius 1: The Subject, Rhetoric, and Power,’ Parrhesia 1 (2006): 27-61; available online: http://www.parrhesiajournal.org/parrhesia01/parrhesia01_miller.pdf.

Week 8. March 1         
Historicising Foucault/Historicising the Subject/Historicising Same-Sex Love           

Michel Foucault, “Sexual Choice, Sexual Act,” “How Much Does it Cost for Reason to Tell the Truth,” and “History and Homosexuality” [interviews], in Foucault Live (Interviews, 1961-1984), ed. Sylvère Lotringer, trans. Lysa Hochroth and John Johnson (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989): pp. 322-334, 348-362, and 363-370.

Michel Foucault, “About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self,” from Religion and Culture: Michel Foucault, ed. Jeremy R. Carrette (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1999), pp. 158-181.

Madeleine l’Aubespine, Selected Poems, ed. and trans. Anna Klosowska (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Week 9. March 8
Montaigne on Friendship (with Foucault and Derrida)

Marc Schachter, “Introduction: Voluntary Servitude, Governmentality and the Care of the Self” and Chap. 5, “The Erotics of Friendship and the Politics of Love,” in Marc Schacter, Voluntary Servitude and the Erotics of Friendship: From Classical Antiquity to Early Modern France (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 1-21 and 145-182.

Michel de Montaigne, “On Friendship,” in The Complete Works of Montaigne, trans. Donald Frame (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1957) [standard edition]; PLEASE READ the 17th-century translation by Charles Cotton, widely available online (via Early English Books Online or EEBO, or here: http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/22363/).

Jacques Derrida, “‘For the First Time in the History of Humanity’,” in Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins (London: Verso, 2005), pp. 271-308.

Week 10. March 15
The Future(s) of Desire/Love/Improbable Manners of Being Redux

Invited Lecture: Laurent Berlant, George M. Pullman Professor, University of Chicago

Lauren Berlant, “Cruel Optimism,” differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 17.3 (2006): 20-36.

Lauren Berland, Desire/Love (Brooklyn: punctum, 2012).

3 comments:

Little Nemo said...

Eileen--

Signed up last month! I'm so excited for this course, and this list of guest speakers is drool-worthy. And I can't wait to meet you, of course!

Lee Huttner

Anonymous said...

will these be recorded?
-dmf

Eileen Joy said...

dmf: I'm going to check with the Newberry to see if they can be!