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Teresa de Lauretis: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Teresa de Lauretis is an Italian-born author and Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her doctorate in Modern Languages and Literatures from Bocconi University in Milan before coming to the United States. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Santa Cruz, she taught in Colorado (University of Colorado) and Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin). She has held Visiting Professorships at universities worldwide including ones in Canada, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands. She received the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa from the University of Lund in Sweden in 2005.

Her areas of interest include semiotics, psychoanalysis, film theory, literary theory, feminism, lesbian and queer studies. She has also written on science fiction. Fluent in both English and Italian, she writes in both languages. Additionally, her work has been translated into fourteen other languages.



Books (English):

Books of which de Lauretis is the sole author:

  • Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984),
  • Technologies of Gender (1987),
  • The Practice of Love (1994),
  • Figures of Resistance (2007),
  • Freud's Drive (2008)

Anthologies or collections she edited or co-edited:

Feminist Studies/Critical Studies (1986),

  • The Cinematic Apparatus (1980),
  • The Technological Imagination (1980)


Guest-edited "Queer Theory" issue of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (1990)

  • (with David Allen) "Theoretical Perspectives in Cinema" issue of Cin√©-Tracts: A Journal of Film and Cultural Studies (1977).

Books (Italian):

  • La sintassi del desiderio: struttura e forme del romanzo sveviano (Ravenna: Longo, 1976)
  • Umberto Eco (Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1981),
  • Soggetti eccentrici (Milano: Feltrinelli, 1999)

Recent Work

One of her former graduate students (who is now a well-known professor in her own right), Patty White, edited and introduced a collection of Teresa de Lauretis's essays. The collection includes many of de Lauretis's essays from 1985-2004 and is called Figures of Resistance: Essays in Feminist Theory. The publisher is the University of Illinois Press.

Her most recent book, Freud's Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Film, was published by Palgrave/Macmillan, U.K.


Her account of subjectivity as a product of "being subject/ed to semiosis" (i.e., making meanings and being made by them) helps to theoretically resolve and overcome the tension between the human action (agency) and structure.

She makes use of Eco's reading of C.S.Peirce in order to establish her notion of semiotics of experience. She brings corporeality back to the discourse on the constitution of subjectivity which has been conceived mainly in the linguistic terms. Her semiotics is not just the semiotics of language but also the semiotics of visual images and non-verbal practices. Her (Peircean) "habit" or "habit-change" is often compared to Bourdieu's notion of habitus.

An excellent account of her "semiotics of experience" is in:

Threadgold, T. (1997) Feminist Poetics: Poiesis, Performance, Histories (London & New York: Routledge) [pp.35-57].

De Lauretis coined the term "queer theory" although the way in which it is used today differs from what she originally suggested by the term.

She has been credited with coining the term, "queer theory", but abandoning it barely three years later, on the grounds that it had been taken over by those mainstream forces and institutions it was coined to resist. [1]


She currently lives in San Francisco, CA, but often spends time in Italy.

She has one child, an adult son.

Bibliography in English

Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984)

Figures of Resistance: Essays in Feminist Theory (2007)

Freud's Drive: Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Film (2008)

Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (1987)

The Practice of Love: Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse Desire (1994)

Feminist Studies/Critical Studies (1986)

The Cinematic Apparatus (1980)

The Technological Imagination (1980)


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Teresa de Lauretis, literary and film theorist and critic

  • "The hero [of a narrative] must be male, regardless of the gender of the text-image, because the obstacle, whatever its personification, is morphologically female....The hero, the mythical subject, is constructed as human being and as male; he is the active principle of culture, the establisher of distinction, the creator of differences. Female is what is not susceptible to transformation, to life or death; she (it) is an element of plot-space, a topos, a resistance, matrix and matter."
    • de Lauretis, Teresa (1984). "Desire in Narrative", Alice Doesn't, p.118-119. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253203163.

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