Teresa de Lauretis (1939-)
Key Figures in Literary Theory
Teresa de Lauretis was born and educated in Italy, receiving her doctorate from Bocconi University, Milan. She taught widely in the United States and Europe before settling at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is a professor of the History of Consciousness. She wrote books in Italian on the novelist Italo Svevo and the semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco. Her first theoretical work in English, Alice Doesn’t: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984), established her as a major figure in both Feminism and film studies. In this volume, she critiques the male gaze, using Lacanian psychoanalysis to formulate a conception of feminist gazing that “looks back” at the male subject, whose voyeuris-
tic perspective characterizes Western art and culture. Technologies of Gender (1987), her most influential work, counters Michel Foucault’s tendency to distinguish bodies and pleasure from the “discourse of sexuality” with a theory of the body that situates it and its desire wholly in socio-historical contexts. In 1994, de Lauretis published an important work in queer theory, The Practice of Love, which draws on Psychoanalysis to explore the range of theories and practices associated with “lesbian sexuality and perverse desire.” Since the late 1980s, de Lauretis has published essays and chapters on a wide variety of subjects, including Psychoanalysis, film, and the status of Feminism in Italy.
De Lauretis, Teresa. Alice Doesn’t: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.
---- . The Practice of Love: Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse Desire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.
---- . Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.