- Director of Graduate Studies
Tracy McNulty, Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature, received her BA in French and English from U.C. Berkeley and her PhD in Comparative Literature from U.C. Irvine. Her research interests include 20th-century French literature and comparative modernism, psychoanalytic theory (especially Freud and Lacan), contemporary French philosophy, and political theory. In addition to these fields, she regularly teaches interdisciplinary courses on such questions as the origins of language, myth and symbolic thought, eroticism and perversion, and philosophical, scientific, and psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity and human agency. Her first book, The Hostess, My Neighbor: Hospitality and the Expropriation of Identity, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2006. Her second book, Wrestling with the Angel: Experiments in Symbolic Life (a defense of the liberating function of formal and written constraints in psychoanalysis, political theory, and aesthetics), is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Currently she is preparing a new book, tentatively entitled Libertine Mathematics: Perversions of the Linguistic Turn. This project seeks to juxtapose masterpieces of the libertine tradition by the Marquis de Sade, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the Comte de Lautréamont, and Pauline Réage–each of which can be read as promoting a “language of the real” that would allow for an integral transmission of the drive—alongside contemporary theoretical works that have embraced the language of mathematical formalization—or of other non-signifying languages—either as an ultimate extension of, or as a rejection or overturning of, the so-called “linguistic turn” in twentieth century thought: Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and the “speculative realists” (notably Quentin Meillassoux), and in a different way Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan.