(Conferences / Seminars / Lectures)
Presented by Dr. Ellen MacCullum (English)
What's queer about the writings of the Marquis de Sade is his exposition of a kind of cybernetics avant la lettre. This proto-cybernetics is integral not only to Sade's social critique but to the tensions between nature and reason in his work, not to mention the almost machinic vision of sexuality depicted in his complexly orchestrated orgies. Where Sade privileges reciprocal or at least reversible and dynamic relations, where he appeals to multiple connections and impersonal sociality, he demarcates the modern world of cybernetic networks and human/machine hybrids. Sade's 18th-century visions of control and communication resonate in the 20th century readings of his work by Marcel Hénaff, Roland Barthes, Leo Bersani, and Kathy Acker. My talk will explore how these thinkers' attention to the questions of bodies and pleasures lays out for us a view of cybernetic Sade.
Cosponsored by: Romance and Classical Studies, The Laurence Porter Colloquium Series