News – April 2021
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Beginning with new book releases, and Isabel Millar’s The Psychoanalysis of Artificial Intelligence was released last month from the Palgrave Lacan Series. Looking at how psychoanalysis helps in understanding AI and its relevance for us as speaking, sexed subjects, Millar focuses on the aspect of enjoyment that has so far been neglected in philosophical and critical theories of AI. Drawing examples from science fiction film and TV to consider the concept of the Sexbot, Millar asks the reader to consider less the question ‘Does it think?’ and more ‘Can it enjoy?’ Millar is a philosopher and psychoanalytic theorist, currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Critical Thought, University of Kent, UK.
Miguel de Beistegui’s Lacan: A Genealogy has just been released by Bloomsbury. Inspired by Foucault, Beistegui adopts a historical and critical approach in charting a genealogy to follow Lacan’s concept of desire and the shaping of subjectivity. Locating desire at the heart of liberal political economy, psychiatry and psychopathology, and in what he labels the “discourses of recognition” through which we experience ourselves, Beistegui presents a reading of Lacan that examines in detail the relationship between desire, norm, and law. The book’s chapters discuss the denaturalisation of desire, paranoid psychosis, crime and punishment, and Lacan with Kant and Marx respectively. Beistegui will also be discussing the book in conversation with Dany Nobus at the Freud Museum London on 17th June.
Studying Lacan’s Seminar VI: Dream, Symptom, and the Collapse of Subjectivity, edited by Olga Cox Cameron and Carol Owens, is due for publication by Routledge on 10th May. A complement to the 2019 Bruce Fink translation of Lacan’s Seminar VI (Desire and its Interpretation), this collection offers an introduction to the reading of that Seminar and Lacan’s work of the 1950s more generally. The volume includes commentaries on the major themes of the Seminar – dream interpretation, the dialectics of desire, and Lacan’s reading of Hamlet – as well as three lectures by Cox Cameron herself given between 2016-2017. You can order it from the publishers Routledge with a 20% discount via the link and code at the top of this page.
Lacan and the Environment, a new collection edited by Clint Burnham and Paul Kingsbury, will be released by Palgrave on 22nd May in the UK and 14th June in North America. The contributors consider the ways in which Lacanian thinking might help us understand the climate crisis and our response to it. Arguments put forward include the need for an appreciation of our relation to the environment in terms of the “terrifying proximity to the real”; the mistaking of lack for loss, and mourning for melancholia; and how we might claim to protect what we in fact seek to destroy. Doomsday preppers, forest suicides, and post-apocalyptic movies are all considered in the context of a Lacanian response to environmental issues in this timely and original collection.
Daniel Bristow’s Schizostructuralism: Divisions in Structure, Surface, Temporality, Class will be published by Routledge in June. Revealing the divisions and antagonisms within and between psychoanalytic, structuralist, and Marxist theory, Bristow presents a dialectical materialist overview of 20th century thinkers who worked within, or drew from, psychoanalysis. The book explores divisions in structure, surface, and temporality through a predominantly Lacanian reading of the psychoanalytic unconscious, topology, and time. As well as Freud and Lacan, thinkers such as Reich, Laing, and Deleuze and Guattari are reconsidered in an analysis of class antagonism. Divisions in materiality and distribution are discussed in relation to the three Lacanian orders.
The Aesthetic Clinic: Feminine Sublimation in Contemporary Writing, Psychoanalysis, and Art by Fernanda Negrete was recently published by Suny. Examining experimental art and literature by Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Marguerite Duras and others, Negrete uses Lacan’s work to argue that they represent a “uniquely feminine ethics of desire.” Drawing the “aesthetic clinic” of the book’s title from a term used by Deleuze, she makes the case for the reading of these artists’ works as less an interpretation of hidden meaning as “about receiving a precise transmission of sensation, a jouissance irreducible to meaning.” The book is available now through Amazon via the link above or direct from the publishers Suny.
Looking ahead in the year, Charles Melman’s Studies on Hysteria Revisited will be published by Routledge in September. Despite being a prominent French Lacanian scholar and analyst, Melman’s work is largely unavailable in English, and so this translation by Helen Sheehan of 21 Seminars re-examining the history of Freud and Breuer’s landmark text is especially welcome. Offering a first-of-its-kind longitudinal approach to the study of hysteria, Melman explores the background under which key concepts of trauma, incompatibility, repression and the unconscious were developed.
Among journals, Lacanian Ink, number 57/58, is now available in Kindle edition on Amazon. This latest issue is titled ‘Gender Matters’ and features a recent interview by Jacques-Alain Miller with Éric Marty on the topic of the latter’s new book, The Sex of the Moderns, which was published in France in March by Seuil.
Jacques-Alain Miller announced on Twitter last month his intention to publish all of the documents that Lacan bequeathed to him. Following this, he further announced in a post on his blog the creation of the Lacan Archive Organisation, news of which was translated and disseminated through the World Association of Psychoanalysis and the New Lacanian School. Miller gives five points outlining his intent. The Lacan Archive Organisation “is the body that will bring to the public’s attention all of Jacques Lacan’s letters, papers and manuscripts, in accordance with the decision I have taken as holder of the moral rights of Lacan’s work, and custodian of his archive.” Cartels of deciphering and transcription (CDT) and cartels of translation (CTR) will be formed for the purpose of making these widely available, and an Editorial Commission will then work with these cartels to evaluate, correct if necessary, and ultimately decide on the publication of the material. Similar Commissions will be established in due course for translation of the texts into different languages. 12 CDTs and 2 CTRs are currently formed, alongside the two Commissions, each with 10 members. These are chaired by Lilia Mahjoub and Guy Briole respectively, with Gil Caroz and Alice Delarue as their secretaries.
Readers may also be interested to consider the latest piece by Jacques-Alain Miller, ‘Docile to Trans’, published in early May and available on the Lacanian Review Online. Thanks go to Philip Dravers, Pamela King, and Peggy Papada for their translation efforts. A lengthy piece, it requires the English-language reader to have some knowledge of the reception of trans- issues into the French Lacanian scene in the past couple of years. In particular, Miller’s piece references the invitation of trans- writer and philosopher Paul Preciado to speak at the ECF’s Congress in November 2019. Helpfully, video of this encounter is available on YouTube (unhelpfully, only in French).
Dr Derek Hook will present an excavation of Lacan’s text ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’ from the Ecrits in a Lacan in Scotland event on Thursday 27th May. ‘Lacanian Remains: Excavating Function and Field’ will delve into some of the more obscure regions of this key text, including the unusual conceptual pairings that Lacan uses to drive his theorisation, and how the text anticipates some of the areas Lacan was to become interested in later in his career – such as the recourse to topology, and the intersection of the death drive and desire. Register on Eventbrite and join the Facebook event page here. The event is free and open to all.
As well as reopening to the public on 19th May, The Freud Museum London has announced an online talk on ‘Love, Hate, and Ambivalence’ for 12th June, bringing together noted Lacanian scholars Dany Nobus, Patricia Gherovici, Stephanie Swales, and Carol Owens in conversation. With the promise of an afternoon of desire, tension, and jouissance, Nobus will speak on love, Gherovici on hate, and Swales & Owens on ambivalence.
The NWRPA will host Dr Mark Fisher on Friday 14th May for his talk on ‘Mourning, Separations, and Losses.’ Following on from his explorations of transference and comedy in a series of NWRPA talks last autumn, here Dr Fisher considers the tragic dimensions of transference.. Dr Fisher will give further talks on ‘endings’ in analysis and psychotherapy in June and July – details of which are available via the link above. It is not necessary to have attended previous talks to join future ones.
Finally among upcoming events, a final reminder that the 2021 NLS Congress, taking place 22nd-23rd May via Zoom on the topic ‘Bodily Effects of Language’, is still open for registrations. The Congress will provide simultaneous translations into English, French, and Dutch. Further information – the Argument, Programme, and other practicalities – are on the Congress’s blog. A link to register is here, and following sign-up participants will be sent a unique Zoom link to the email address they used during registration.
From previous events this past month, video of the Symposium on The Desire of Psychoanalysis, in partnership with Northwestern University Press, is now available in two recordings from the Facebook live stream of the event which took place in early May. Promoting Gabriel Tupinambá’s recently-published book of the same name (available from the publishers with a 30% discount using the code ‘PSYCHOANALYSIS’), this two-day event begins with a presentation from Tupinambá on Day 1, followed by several speakers presenting papers of around 30 mins each. Day 2 opens with an address by Zizek, followed by four panels (in Portuguese) spotlighting recent clinical work in Brazil. Watch Day 1 and Day 2 recordings on the Northwestern University Press Facebook page.
Video of Dr Leon Brenner and Dr Eve Watson’s discussion of Queer Theory and Psychoanalysis, which took part last month courtesy of the IPU Berlin, is now up on YouTube. Guided by the questions in Watson’s 2017 book Clinical Encounters in Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory, the pair discuss the issues Queer Theory poses for psychoanalysis, and vice versa, in particular in relation to their handling in clinical contexts.
Over the course of the last month the Pas Tout Lacan channel on YouTube has been adding the original audio recordings of Lacan’s Seminars from the 1970s. Almost 100 recordings have been uploaded in the last month, from Seminar XVIII onwards. Despite the audio quality being sometimes poor (and of course being entirely in French), they will be of interest to anyone curious as to Lacan’s presenting style during the Seminars of this period. In addition, the French documentaries Quartier Lacan from the 1990s (interviews with Lacan’s former analysands, students, and members of his school) and the 2011 documentary Rendez-vous chez Lacan (which was broadcast to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Lacan’s death) have been uploaded to the channel in the past month.
Also on YouTube, Lacan Web Télévision (LWT) was launched last month after the Council of the ECF voted unanimously in February for the creation of its own YouTube channel. At time of writing there are already 12 short videos (in French but most with English subtitles), the majority of which focus on topics of sexuation, gender identity, and trans. Subscribe to see more as they are published in the near future.
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