Political Philosophy and Sexuality (2014/2015)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Lorenzo Bernini
Lorenzo Bernini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IIB dal Apr 20, 2015 al Jun 7, 2015.

Lesson timetable

Sem. IIB
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.4  
Tuesday 11:50 AM - 1:30 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.4  
Wednesday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.4  

Learning outcomes

Western political thought has for a long time concealed sexual differences behind the principle of the alleged equality of all individuals before the law. This course provides examples of critical philosophies that, on the contrary, have interrogated the relationship between politics and sexuality from the point of view of so-called “sexual minorities”, and that have consequently developed new interpretative frames to understand the subject, the collectivity, and the political action.


Prerequisites: none

Course title: Sexual/Political: From Freudomarxism to AntiSocial Queer Theories

Course content: From 1900 onwards, a by now broad tradition of critical thinking has been problematizing the relationship between politics and sexuality. This course focuses specifically on three theoretical approaches that, each in its own way, have confronted the Freudian concepts of drive, desire, and identification, developing different visions of that relationship between politics and sexuality: 1) Freudomarxist theories of sexual liberation (Marcuse), 2) social constructivist theories of sexuality (Foucault) and performative theories of gender (Butler), 3) antisocial queer theories (Bersani, Edelman).

Compulsory readings*:
- Sigmund Freud, Tre saggi sulla teoria sessuale, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 2010: secondo saggio, La sessualità infantile, pp. 56-91; e Riepilogo, pp. 116-128.
- Sigmund Freud, Il disagio della civiltà e altri saggi, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 2001: capp. 4, 5 e 6 de Il disagio della civiltà, pp. 235-257.
- Herbert Marcuse, Eros e civiltà, Einaudi, Torino 2001: Introduzione e capp. 1, 2, 10, pp. 51-95 e 215-235.
- Michel Foucault, La volontà di sapere, Feltrinelli, Milano 2005.
- Judith Butler, Atti performativi e costituzione di genere: Saggio di fenomenologia e teoria femminista, in Elisa A.G. Arfini e Cristian Lo Iacono, Canone inverso: Antologia di teoria queer, edizioni ETS, Pisa 2012, pp. 75-99.
- Leo Bersani, Homos, Nuova Pratiche Editrice, Milano 1998: cap. 3, pp. 81-113 e note, pp. 179-181.
- Lee Edelman, No Future, in Elisa A.G. Arfini e Cristian Lo Iacono, Canone inverso: Antologia di teoria queer, edizioni ETS, Pisa 2012, pp. 245-269.
*All the texts except Foucault’s book will be collected into a folder available at the copy shop La rapida, via dell’Artigliere 5, Verona.

Recommended readings:
-Lorenzo Bernini, Apocalissi queer: Elementi di teoria antisociale, Edizioni ETS, Pisa 2013.

Throughout the course, the following films will be commented:
- Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds, 1960
- Nigel Finch, Stonewall, 1995
- Bruce LaBruce, Otto; or Up with Dead People, 2008
- David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method, 2011

Methods: Seminar classes, film screenings, topic discussions.

Assessment methods and criteria

Final exam: Oral exam. The students are required to bring the readings at the exam.