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Teresa de Lauretis

Publié le 8 juin 2008

Teresa de Lauretis is an Italian-born author and Professor 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 UCSC, she taught in Colorado (University of Colorado) and Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin). She currently teaches, researches and advises graduate students. She has held Visiting Professorships at universities worldwide including ones in Canada, Germany, Italy, and The Netherlands. Her advisor was Umberto Eco.

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) :

Include the following, which are all published by Indiana University Press.

Books of which she is the sole author :
Alice Doesn’t : Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984) Technologies of Gender (1987) The Practice of Love (1994)

Anthologies or collections she edited or co-edited :
Feminist Studies/Critical Studies (1986) The Cinematic Apparatus (1980) The Technological Imagination (1980)

Journals :

Guest-edited "Queer Theory" issue of Differences : A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (1990). Guest-edited one other special-edition (need citation)

Books (Italian) :

La sintassi del desiderio : struttura e forme del romanzo sveviano (Ravenna : Longo, 1976)

Umberto Eco (Florence : La Nuova Italia, 1981)

Soggetti eccentrici (Milan : Feltrinelli, 1999)


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 De Lauretis’s short writings from 1985-2004 and is called Figures of Resistance : Essays in Feminist Theory. The publisher is the University of Indiana Press, and the publication date is Spring, 2007.

De Lauretis is currently writing on the relevance of Freud’s theory of drives. Her book on this subject, Death@Work : Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Film, will be published by 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].

She coined the term "queer theory" although the way in which it is used today differs from what she originally suggested by the term.[citation needed]


She currently lives in the Santa Cruz, CA area but often spends time in Italy.

She has one child, an adult son.

Bibliography in English

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

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)

Publication en français

Théorie queer et cultures populaires : de Foucault à Cronenberg, Teresa de Lauretis, préface de Pascale Molinier, traduction de Marie-Hélène Bourcier, Editeur : La Dispute - Collection : Le genre du monde (avril 2007)


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