A response to Lynne Huffer’s Mad for Foucault and Are the Lips a Grave?, this article considers Huffer’s critical reaction to characterizations of feminism as dominated by a more moral tenor repudiated by queer theory. Huffer argues that a stronger distinction should be maintained between the moral and the ethical. The failure to maintain this distinction has led to a mistaken repudiation of both the moral and the ethical. Rather than jettisoning both, Huffer argues that queer theory needs the ethical. Proposing potential elements for a queer ethics, she returns to Foucaultian genealogy, an Irigarayan ethics of eros, and a new kind of synthesis of narrative and performative. Also important to the work is an emphasis on ethics understood in terms of desubjectivation and of the Foucaultian event. Rethinking the meaning of the performative in this context, this essay asks how we can distinguish between Huffer’s analytic account of the event and an assessment of trans-formative queer projects as events. What, the essay asks, finally counts most importantly as an event in this context?
Lynne Huffer’s Are the Lips a Grave? Averting and Accentuating the Genealogical
penelope deutscher is Jian and Sarepta Harrison Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University, and associate director of its Critical Theory Cluster. Her book Foucault’s Futures: A Critique of Reproductive Reason is forthcoming with Columbia University Press. Also forthcoming with Columbia University Press is Derrida/Foucault Fifty Years Later (coedited with Olivia Custer and Sam Haddad) and Critical Theory in Critical Times (coedited with Cristina Lafont).