A talk by Professor Lisa Baraitser on and beyond her recent book 'Enduring Time'
Drawing on recent work on ‘enduring time’ in this talk I revisit Julia Kristeva’s 1979 essay Women’s Time, reading it against contemporary theories of time and gender to develop a notion of a ‘maternal death drive’. Kristeva conceptualized female subjectivity as strung out between cyclical time (repetition) and monumental time (eternity without cleavage or escape). These two ‘feminine’ forms of time work to conceal the inherent logic of teleological historical ‘masculine’ time which is linear, progressive, unfolding, and yet constantly rupturing, an ‘anguished’ time. Masculine time, Kristeva argues, rests on its own stumbling block, which is death.
What if historical time is no longer ‘unfolding’, progressive or linear, but is ‘foreclosed’ by the immanent disasters of capitalism? If we are now living in a suspended present in which time fails to unfold, then the tension between masculine and feminine time is radically altered. Historical time itself becomes monumental, and feminine time no longer sutures the future in the figure of the child, as Lee Edelman argued in No Future (2004), but articulates a kind of dynamic chronicity, alive to the potentials of not moving on, but without giving up on the ethical principle of one’s own future being bound up with the future of another. From this perspective a ‘maternal death drive’ drives a wedge between the repetitive return to inertia of Freud’s death drive, and the heteronormative developmental time line of reproduction that queer theories of temporality have worked to disrupt. What comes to matter, when time is suspended in its maternal form, is the time of mattering itself - the time it takes for us to come to matter to one another in a suspended present with no future.
Bio: Lisa Baraitser is Professor of Psychosocial Theory in the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London, and a Candidate at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. She is author of Enduring Time (Bloomsbury, 2017) and Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of Studies in the Maternal.
This event will be chaired by Professor Angela McRobbie from the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths.
This is a free event and all are welcome. No registration required. The room is accessible by a lift.
Dates & times
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