Serbia & Montenegro, Belgrade

Summer School For Sexualities, Cultures, and Politics 2014

when 18 August 2014 - 24 August 2014
duration 1 week
credits 9.9 ECTS
fee EUR 220


In this course we will read contemporary theorists of the body and power to articulate understandings of relations between the state and sexuality; embodiment, will and agency; race, class, mobility and power. This course draws on feminist and queer theory to explore the production of gender and sexuality in relation to a variety of debates about race, nation, human/animal divides, temporality, spatiality, sentiment, disciplinarity and posthumanism. Topics to be addressed include the following: the formation of discourses of masculinity and femininity and of “perverse” and “respectable” sexualities, under colonial and nationalist regimes; the role of female subjects as both symbols of the nation and active agents in nationalist struggles; the shifting paradigms of gender and sexuality in the context of diaspora and globalization; the possibilities and limits of a queer or feminist framework that spans different geographic contexts; the production of pedagogical methods within feminist theory; the role of gender in debates about the status of the animal; the relations between gender, sexuality and feelings. This class is interdisciplinary in method and scope, as we will examine a variety of cultural texts including theoretical essays, novels, and films.


In these two lectures I will try to see how Derridean deconstruction can enrich our understanding of the political tropes of sexuality and gendered embodiment. While Derrida’s oeuvre is sometimes considered to take on a heterogeneity of questions of varying political degree (viewing the early works less and the later works more politically or ethically concerned), one way Derrida was consistent over his works is that he consistently preferred to use terms belonging to what he called the lexicon of biology while discussing the politics of meaning-making in general. His insistence of exploring and deploying the lexicon of the living organism as always already metaphorical is a resource for thinking the regulatory terms of embodiment as always to some extent untethered from the semantic field of the gendered body conceived as pre-social. In the first lecture, I will reread some of David Halperin’s classical texts on the sexual regulations of citizenship in classical Athens through the lens of “Plato’s Pharmacy” to suggest that a disparaging discourse on sycophancy is central in constructing queerly embodied visions of political inauthenticity (the most salient example of this is the figure of the citizen prostitute). In the second lecture, I will look at further examples which are homologous to the way queer figures fit into this discourse of sycophancy but which themselves do not connote queer embodiment: the figure of the actor in the discourse of antitheatricality and the concept of the placebo. In pointing out the consistency with which the figure of the prostitute (as effeminate man), the sycophant, the actor, and the concept of placebo are constructed as a different manifestation of the same failure of political inauthenticity, I will argue that deconstruction can effectively show not only the construction of normal bodies at the cost of excluding some bodies as abnormal, but that the political rhetoric of inauthenticity organizes the logic of life in general.


In the course of two mornings, Bracha L. Ettinger will present the concepts of Eros of borderlinking and wit(h)nessing, and explain the difference between inter-subjectivity and transubjectivity in order to further articulate the human subject as informed by the matrixial-feminine-maternal dimension. Bracha will deal with the relations between trauma, joy and the work of the memory of oblivion, as well as between beauty and the wound, and elaborate on her concept of love intermingled with primary compassion and awe in com-passion, and on the weave composed by the Hebrew words for care, trust and fidelity (as affects and enactments), truth-knowing, art-working and maternality.

Students will come to face directly her newest artwork and meet her current thoughts offered in her unique poetic language, style and formats of expression, worked out in relation to her practice as artist, painter and video-films maker, and as a profound scholar of Freud and Lacan. A reading of Levinas, with whom Bracha also had a project (partly published and partly unpublished yet) in conversation, will be included, as well as an original interpretation of Lacan's passage on the “lamella”. In the course of this presentation Bracha will challenge ideas of other post-Lacanian philosophers from the contemporary French tradition: Badiou and Kristeva. All along, references to other Ettingerian ideas such as translucent transcendency of the kernel of the Thing, matrixial encounter-event, fascinance, the contemporary human subject and more will be clarified so that her most recent thought will be contextualized in the larger field she has developed over the years, in an engaged search to explore and enlarge the aesthetical and the ethical spheres of our lives.

Bracha L. Ettinger and the students will discuss together the pertinence of the psychoanalytical Unconscious and sexual difference in general and her matrixial psychoanalysis and philosophy in more details, for rethinking art, society, the fragility of the self and the vulnerability of the other in the 21th century. The students will have the possibility to present their own work to the group and have a discussion together with Bracha during two afternoons.

Course leader

Lecturers: Jack Halberstam, Eszter Timar, Bracha L. Ettinger
Academic Director: Jelisaveta Blagojevic

Target group

We encourage postgraduate students (preferably MA or PhD student or young researchers) interested in exploring the issues of Gender, Queer, Cultural Studies, Visual Arts and Humanities and related areas. However, outstanding BA students are also considered and have the chance to enroll.
Participants from all countries are eligible to apply.
Artists, curators and cultural workers are also invited to apply.

Course aim

The general aim of the School is to gather young post-graduate students, scholars and teaching staff from both Eastern and Western Europe and promote a shared platform for research and trans-disciplinary theoretical reflection on the complex modes of interweaving sexuality, culture and politics, and consequently of exchanging and questioning geopolitically determined discourses in the research of sexualities, gender studies, and queer theory. Our idea is to provide students, scholars and teachers with the opportunity to question, decenter and democratize these areas by way of deferring the notion of theoretical and geopolitical privilege which is often implied by these research areas, and thus to introduce new models of rethinking context-specific phenomena related to sexualities and, vice versa, to enrich theoretical paradigms with context specific phenomena and research.
In this way, the School’s long-term goal is to:

- Strategically stimulate the particularization and application of key ideas and theories in sexuality research locally;
- Universalize and popularize crucial and underprivileged positions and ideas on the European level, regardless of the East/West divide which is still central to the development of queer theory and sexuality research.

Our endeavor is not to relativize the embeddedness and situatedness of knowledges about sexualities, but to recognize and disrupt the existing invisible borders that obstruct the free dissemination of ideas as they are being determined by various hegemonic forces – political, educational, economic - in both Eastern and Western contexts of doing academic and artistic work related with our desires, bodies, and sexualities.

Credits info

9.9 ECTS
Students who choose not to make a presentation will receive 2 ECTS. Students who deliver presentations will receive 6 ECTS.

Fee info

EUR 220: Appplicants from Central and East-european countries*: 220 Euros (discounts applicable) [For the purpose of this call, the following countries fall under the term: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Czech Republic, Poland.]
EUR 320: Applicants from Europe and worldwide: 320 Euros (discounts applicable)


Note that we offer 20% discount if the participant apply in the first application deadline and pays the total fee untill 15th of May and 10% discount if the participant pay the total fee untill 15th of June.
Former SSSCP students are offered 20% tuition.