Professor James Penney
BA, MA (Alberta), PhD (Duke)
Acting Chair, French & Francophone Studies
Traill College, Scott House 205
705-748-1011 ext. 6075
James Penney joined Trent's Cultural Studies Department in 2003. Before coming to Trent he taught at Duke, Cornell, Western and Nottingham (UK). He received his BA and MA in comparative literature and film studies at the University of Alberta, and then went on to earn his PhD in the graduate program in literature at Duke, where he specialized in comparative literature and critical theory.
His research pivots around the implications of Lacanian psychoanalysis for sexuality studies and Left politics. Recently published by SUNY Press, The World of Perversion considers the debate in queer theory between Foucault and psychoanalysis on the subject of sexuality by linking the term 'perversion' to its pre-sexual meanings. His current book project, The Structures of Love, examines the psychoanalytic theory of the transference in its relation to the political analysis of culture. His writing--on thinkers as various as Kristeva, Pascal, Bataille, Fanon, Sartre, Marx, Hocquenghem, Deleuze, Kant, Freud, Lacan, Butler, and Laclau--has appeared in the journals Paragraph, Angelaki, Radical Philosophy, Diacritics, Umbra, and Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society; as well as in the volumes The Psychoanalysis of Race (Columbia UP, 1998) and Perversion and the Social Relation (Duke UP, 2003).
He also updated the entry on Lacan for the second edition of the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (2004).
Prof. Penney's second book is The Structures of Love: Art and Politics beyond the Transference. It reframes the terms of cultural analysis with a fresh take on transference theory in Freud and Lacan and a critical engagement with the philosophy of Alain Badiou.
Prof. Penney's third book is After Queer Theory: The Limits of Sexual Politics. It makes the provocative claim that queer theory has run its course, made obsolete by the elaboration of its own logic within capitalism. Prof. Penney argues that far from signalling the end of anti-homophobic criticism, however, the end of queer presents the occasion to rethink the relation between sexuality and politics.