Eleanor Kaufman


E-mail: eleanork@ucla.edu Phone: 310-206-8155 Office: Humanities 334 Fields of interest: 20th-century French and Medieval philosophy; Jewish Studies; Maghrebian literature

Eleanor Kaufman is professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies, and affiliate of the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for the Study of Religion, and the Center for the Study of Women. She received a B.A. in English and French from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University and has taught at Cornell University and the University of Virginia. Her primary research is on twentieth-century French philosophy, with secondary interests in Medieval philosophy and Christian theology, literature and philosophy of the Jewish diaspora, modern American literature, and Maghrebian literature.  She is the co-editor of Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy and Culture (Minnesota, 1998) and the author of The Delirium of Praise: Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Foucault, Klossowski (Johns Hopkins, 2001), Deleuze, the Dark Precursor: Dialectic, Structure, Being (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), and At Odds with Badiou: Politics, Dialectics, and Religion from Sartre and Deleuze to Lacan and Agamben (forthcoming, Columbia University Press).  She is working on two additional book-length projects: “The Incorporeal in French Phenomenology” (the subject of the Gauss Seminars that she delivered at Princeton in spring 2009); and “The Jewry of the Plain,” on the archives, museums, and cemeteries that commemorate Jewish settlement in remote regions of the American West at the end of the nineteenth century, and simultaneously a meditation on the work of Jacques Derrida. She has published essays in journals such as diacritics, parallax, SAQ, PMLA, Postmodern Culture, Yale French Studies, The Oxford Literary Review, Comparative Literature, Criticism, and Angelaki.  A recent recipient of a Mellon New Directions in the Humanities fellowship, she has used that support to pursue studies of Medieval philosophy.


  • Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University
  • B.A. in English and French from Harvard University

Featured Works

Selected Publications


  • “Do Dual Structures Exist? Deleuze and Lacan in the Wake of Lévi-Strauss,” Yale French Studies 123 (special issue on Claude Lévi-Strauss, 2013), 83-99.
  • “On Not Knowing the Original Language: French Philosophy Against Comparative Literature,” Comparative Literature 65:1 (winter 2013), 36-45.
  • “The Inexistence of the Western Jewish Archive,” PMLA 127:2 (March 2012), 375-79.
  • “Ethics and the World without Others” in Deleuze and Ethics, edited by Nathan Jun and Daniel W. Smith. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
  • “Extreme Formality: Sadism, the Death Instinct, and the World without Others,” Angelaki 15:1 (April 2010), 77-85.
  •  “Lévi-Strauss, Deleuze, and the Joy of Abstraction,” Criticism 49:4 (fall 2007) [published 2008], 429-45.
  • “The Desire Called Mao: Badiou and the Legacy of Libidinal Economy,” Postmodern Culture 18.1 September 2007) [published 2008].
  •  “The Saturday of Messianic Time (Agamben and Badiou on the Apostle Paul),” South Atlantic Quarterly 107:1 (2008), 37-54.
  • “Klossowski, Deleuze, and Orthodoxy,” Diacritics 35:1 (2005) [published 2007], 47-59.
  • “Jewish Cowgirls and Cowboys Take Flight,” in Chasing Esther: Jewish Expressions of Cultural Difference, edited by David Metzger and Peter Schulman. Santa Monica and Haifa: Kol Katan Press/University of Haifa, 2006.
  • “Midnight, or the Inertia of Being,” parallax 12:2 (2006), 98-111, special issue on Maurice Blanchot.
  •  “Betraying Well” [extended review of Zizek’s Organs Without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences, with response by Zizek], Criticism 46:4 (2005), 651-59.
  • “‘To Cut Too Deeply and Not Enough’: Violence and the Incorporeal,” in Theology and the Political: The New Debate, edited by Creston Davis, John Milbank, and Slavoj Zizek. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.
  •  “Why the Family is Beautiful (Lacan against Badiou),” Diacritics 32:3-4 (2002) [published 2005], 135-51.
  • “Fargo Jewish Archive Malady,” Oxford Literary Review 25 (2003) [published 2005], 261-80.
  • “Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and the Phenomenology of Relation,” Bulletin de la Société Américaine de Philosophie de Langue Française 13:1 (Spring 2003), 68-77.
  • “Solid Dialectic in Sartre and Deleuze” Polygraph 14 (2003), 115-28.
  •  “Living Virtually in a Cluttered House,” Angelaki 7:3 (December 2002), 159-69.
  •  “Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, et la phénoménologie de la relation” in Cinquantenaire du Deuxième Sexe, edited by Christine Delphy and Sylvie Chaperon.  Paris: Syllepse, 2002.
  • “Deleuze, Klossowski, Cinema, Immobility: A Response to Stephen Arnott,”Film-Philosophy 5:33 (November 2001).
  • “Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Mind,” in Deleuze and Feminist Theory, eds. Ian Buchanan and Claire Colebrook. Edinburgh:  Edinburgh University Press, 2000.
  • “Klossowski or Thoughts-Becoming” in Becomings: Time, Memory, and Futures, edited by Elizabeth Grosz.  Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 1999.
  • “Falling From the Sky: Trauma in Perec’s W and Caruth’s Unclaimed Experience,” Diacritics 28:4 (Winter 1998), 44-53.

Works in Progress

  •  “The Incorporeal,” book manuscript on the importance of solid objects, minerals, and plants in French phenomenology from Sartre to Deleuze; topic of the Gauss Seminars, spring 2009.
  • “The Jewry of the Plain,” book manuscript on rural Jewish settlers in the American West between 1850-1930 and the archives, museums, and cemeteries that commemorate them; simultaneously a meditation on the work of Jacques Derrida.
  • “The Name of the Husband,” book manuscript on the figure of the husband in French literature from Madame de Lafayette to Klossowski, drawing heavily on the work of Jacques Lacan.