Taking queerness as one of the figural names for ontological exclusion (that is, for whatever a particular regime of social being forecloses), this essay focuses on how such a queerness effects an impossible pedagogy that aspires to teach us nothing. Rather than a site of emptiness, however, that nothing comprises the pulsion of jouissance, the insistence of the drive, and the uncognizable pressure of what conduces to no meaning. After exploring this nothing through Paul de Man’s engagement with Blaise Pascal’s account of the zero, this essay reads Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education (2004) as a work that explores the consequences of a Schillerian aesthetic education. It does so through an encounter with the radical unreadability that, as Bad Education suggests, spurs interpretive endeavors. In its effort to make visible nothing as such, to depict what can only be understood as a rupture in the logic of being, Bad Education returns us to reading’s position between allegory and irony and opens a vista on education as the persistent negation of queerness.
Learning Nothing: Bad Education
lee edelman is the Fletcher Professor of English Literature at Tufts University. He is the author of , , and Transmemberment of Song: Hart Crane’s Anatomies of Rhetoric and Desire (Stanford University Press, 1987), and coauther, with Lauren Berlant, of Sex, or the Unbearable (Duke University Press, 2014). A collection of new and previously published essays, L’impossible homosexuel, appeared in French in 2014 and the French translation of No Future, titled Merde au futur, was published in 2016, both titles with Epel Éditions.
Lee Edelman; Learning Nothing: Bad Education. differences 1 May 2017; 28 (1): 124–173. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-3821724
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