Tracy McNulty

Tracy McNulty

Professor of French and Comparative Literature

tkm9@cornell.edutkm9 Office: KLR K266 Phone: email only

Tracy McNulty, Professor ofFrench 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), was published by Columbia University Press in 2014. 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,” and in a different way Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan.

Recent Courses

  • Perversions of the Linguistic Turn: Figure, Fetish, Formatlization
  • Constructing the Death Drive
  • Psychoanalysis and Sexual Difference
  • Rethinking the Symbolic
  • The End of Narrative
  • Political Theology, the Sovereign Exception, and the Dead Father
  • Fiction after the Death of God: In and Around the Collège de Sociologie
  • Femininity, Ethics and Aesthetics
  • Biblical Diasporas in French Thought
  • Libertinage and Perversion
  • Anthropology and Genealogy
  • Seminar in Theory
  • Surrealism
  • The Will of the People
  • Creativity and Constraints
  • In Search of the Origins of Language
  • Marguerite Duras
  • Introduction to Psychoanalysis
  • The Space of Literature
  • Libertine Literature
  • Fictions of the Self: Autobiography and Autofiction
  • Twentieth Century French Novel
  • Introduction to Textual Analysis
  • A Year in French History: 1933

Selected Publications

Books
  • Libertine Mathematics: Perversions of the Linguistic Turn (in preparation).
  • Wrestling with the Angel: Experiments in Symbolic Life (Columbia University Press, 2014; part of the series Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture, edited by Slavoj Zizek, Creston Davis, Clayton Crockett, and Jeffrey Robbins).
  • The Hostess:  Hospitality, Femininity, and the Expropriation of Identity (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2006). Nominated for the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize in Comparative Literary Studies and for the American Philosophical Society’s Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History.
Edited Volumes
  • Jason Frank and Tracy McNulty, guest editors, “Taking Exception to the Exception,” special issue of diacritics with papers by Susan Buck-Morss, Jason Frank, Dominiek Hoens, Bonnie Honig, Jeffrey Librett, Tracy McNulty, Andrew Norris, Kam Shapiro, and Erik Vogt.  Diacritics volume 37, nos. 2-3 (Spring 2008).
Chapters in Books
  • “Modernist Political Theologies: Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology and Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’,” forthcoming in volume 1922: Literature, Culture, Politics, ed. Jean-Michel Rabaté (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  • “Desuturing Desire: The Work of the Letter in the Miller-Leclaire Debate,” in Peter Hallward and Knox Peden, editors, Concept and Form Volume II: Interviews and Essays on the Cahiers pour l’Analyse (London: Verso, 2012), 89-104.
  • “Weibliche Liebe und der Paulinische Universalismus,” in Verschränkungen von Symbolischem und Realem. Zur Aktualität von Lacans Denken in den Kulturwissenschaften, eds. Jochen Bonz, Gisela Febel, Insa Härtel (Berlin:  Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2006).
  • “Mit dem Engel ringen,” in Wieder Religion ? Christentum im zeitgenössischen kritischen Denken (Lacan, Zizek, Badiou u.a.), eds. Marc De Kesel and Dominiek Hoens (Wenen:  Turia + Kant, November 2005), 66-80.
  • “Feminine Love and the Pauline Universal,” in Alain Badiou: Philosophy and its Conditions, ed. Gabriel Riera (Albany:  SUNY Press, 2005), 185-212.
Articles
  • “The New Man’s Fetish,” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Volume 51, Spindel Supplement (2013), 17-39.
  • “Enabling Constraints: Toward an Aesthetics of Symbolic Life,” forthcoming in Umbr(a).
  • “Demanding the Impossible: Desire and Social Change,” differences, vol. 20, no. 1 (2009): 1-39.
  • “The Event of the Letter: Two Approaches to the Law and its Real” [on Alain Badiou], Cardozo Law Review, vol. 29, no. 5: 101-131.
  • “The Gap in the Law and the Border-Breaching Function of the Exception” [on Carl Schmitt], Konturen, vol. I (Nov. 2008).
  • “Taking Exception to the Exception” (with Jason Frank), diacritics, vol. 37, nos. 2-3 (summer-fall 2007), 3-10.
  • “The Commandment Against the Law: Writing and Divine Justice in Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence,’” diacritics, vol. 37, nos. 2-3 (summer-fall 2007): 34-60.
  • “Weibliche Liebe und der Paulinische Universalismus,” in Verschränkungen von Symbolischem und Realem. Zur Aktualität von Lacans Denken in den Kulturwisenschaften, eds. Jochen Bonz, Gisela Febel, Insa Härtel (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2006).
  • “Hospitality after the Death of God,” [on Pierre Klossowski], diacritics, vol. 35, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 71-98.
  • “The Exceptional Father,” (a):  a journal of culture and the unconscious, vols. I and II (2005): 23-33.
  • “Wrestling with the Angel” [on Lévinas and Saint Paul], Umbr(a) (2005): 73-84.
  • “Mit dem Engel ringen,” in Wieder Religion? Christentum im zeitgenössischen kritischen Denken (Lacan, Zizek, Badiou u.a.), eds. Marc De Kesel and Dominiek Hoens (Wenen: Turia + Kant, Nov. 2005): 66-80.
  • “Feminine Love and the Pauline Universal,” in Alain Badiou: Philosophy and its Conditions, ed. Gabriel Riera (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005): 185-212.
  • Signed, Dionysus: Nietzsche’s Lost Letter to Freud,” (a): a journal of culture and the unconscious, vol. II, no. 1 (Fall 2002): 7-24.
  • “Solving the Sexual Impasse: Female Orgasm, Viagra, and the ‘Natural Law’ of Jouissance,” Savoir, vol. 5, no. 1 (Sept. 2000): 75-100.
  • “Klossowski, ce soir,” (a): a journal of culture and the unconscious, vol. I, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 81-103.
  • “Israel as Host(ess): Hospitality in the Bible and Beyond,” Jouvert: A Journal of Post-Colonial Studies, vol. 3, issues 1 and 2 (1999): unpaginated.
  • “The Other Jouissance, a Gay Sçavoir” Qui Parle, vol. 9, No. 2, Spring/Summer 1996: 126-159.