Public Lecture – Professor Thomas Laqueur on ‘Canines in Solitude: The Gaze of the Dog in Western Art’

This month, Professor Thomas Laqueur is joining the 'Pathologies of Solitude' project as Queen Mary's IHSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow.


Albrecht Dürer, ‘Saint Eustace’. Engraving. ca. 1501. Met Museum 19.73.65

‘With their parallel lives,’ writes John Berger, animals ‘offer man a companionship which is different from any offered by human exchange. Different because it is a companionship offered to the loneliness of man as a species.’ This lecture argues that the gaze of the dog, grounded in evolution and appropriated by visual artists in the western tradition, offers a way of representing being seen – being regarded as worth regard – as a defence against loneliness both as a species and as social beings. Dogs are cultural doppelgängers of the human, creatures whose ways of seeing and very presence stand in a metonymic relationship to how we – artists and those who look at art – see in the world and want to be seen.

Professor Thomas Laqueur, based at Berkeley, University of California, is the author of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation (2003), and The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (2015), among many others.

Time: 6pm-7:30pm

This lecture will take place online. All are welcome but registration is required. Please click here to register your attendance.