News – May 2021
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Beginning with upcoming events in the Lacanian calendar, on Fri 18th June Professor Stijn Vanheule will give a public lecture on ‘The Clinic of Psychoanalysis in Times of Capitalism/Covid’ organised by the dormant office as part of its Virtual Enjoyment lecture series. Vanheule will explore the capitalist discourse as described by Lacan in 1972, and contrast it to the four other discourses Lacan introduced in Seminar XVII a few years prior. In the context of Covid, Vanheule will look at how confinement measures have challenged habitual ways of dealing with non-rapport, and how solitary modes of jouissance have become magnified as a result of the pandemic. Details of how to join are on the Facebook event page.
The Freud Museum London continues its busy schedule with talks over the next few months that will appeal to an audience interested in Lacan’s work. Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity and Psychoanalytic Theory on 23rd July will see Sheldon George and Derek Hook discuss their groundbreaking co-edited publication of the same name which, as previously announced, is due for release next month. Later in the year, on 8th December, Miguel de Beistegui will discuss his Lacan: A Genealogy which is out now. Both take place online and registration allows access to the live event and the recording afterwards.
Professor Sheldon George also will be giving a talk titled ‘Racialization and the Sexuated Lacanian Subject’ for Lacan In Scotland on Thurs 24th June. The online seminar will explore race and sexuality from a Lacanian perspective. All are welcome and it is free with registration on Eventbrite. Join the event on Facebook too.
Derek Hook was the guest of Lacan in Scotland in late May for his talk ‘Lacanian Remains: Excavating Function and Field’, a commentary on Lacan’s 1953 paper, which is now available to watch again via the link above. Dr Hook focuses on two features of the text as part of his excavation of its more obscure regions. Firstly, the unusual conceptual pairings that Lacan works with by combining different thinkers’ ideas (not just Hegel with Freud, but Pascal as reader of Logical Time, Kierkegaard’s repetition juxtaposed against Plato’s eternal essences, etc); and secondly, the degree to which the text “enacts the anticipatory temporality it formulates” with the introduction, in germinal form, of Lacan’s later theoretical elaborations.
The Lacan Circle of Australia has several upcoming events over the next few months to take advantage of:
- The Lacan Circle Winter Webinar will be presented over four Saturdays in June. “Bodily Cuts, Rims and Scraps: Lacan’s Topology” is free and open to all on Zoom or in person in Melbourne.
- The first of the Lacan Circle second semester seminars has been announced: Dan Collins (New York) presents “Discontinuity and The Drive.” Ten sessions over ten weeks are held entirely by Zoom, commencing in August.
- The Lacan Circle reading group continues meeting weekly to read Jacques Lacan’s Seminar III, The Psychoses out loud. The group is free, open to all, entirely on Zoom and you can join in at any time.
On Saturday 10th July the Freud-Lacan Institute (FLi) will host a webinar on ‘Lacan’s Schema L in Clinical Use’, with Dan Collins as guest discussant. Mapping psychoanalytic interventions and positions on the diagram, Collins will use the famous schema to show how it orients the development and progression of a clinical case. The seminar will take place on Zoom and all are welcome, whether practitioners or not.
With the PIPOL 10 European Congress of Psychoanalysis taking place 3rd-4th July, Dominique Holvoet is interviewed on YouTube on the Congress’ topic, ‘Wanting a Child? Family Desire and Clinic of Filiations’ [Vouloir un enfant? Desir de famille et clinique des filiations]. English subtitles are available. Holvoet is Congress Director and member of the ECF. He discusses the questions that provoked the Congress – ‘Why have children?’, or equally, ‘Why not?’ – in the light of “considerable complexity around assisted reproductive techniques, which are transforming this essential event that bears upon the continued existence of humanity.” Registration for the conference is still open here.
Sergio Benvenuto speaks to Cassandra B. Seltman for the New Books in Psychoanalysis podcast from the past month. He discusses his memories of Lacan, having followed his Seminar in Paris in the 1970s, and his latest book Conversations with Lacan, which was released at the end of 2019.
The World Association of Psychoanalysis has announced what it is calling the ‘Great International Online Conversation’ as its next Congress, to take place 31st March-3rd April next year. “The aim? To take advantage of the best of the virtual, to gather across borders and languages.” The topic chosen is ‘The Woman Does Not Exist’, the phrase pronounced by Lacan at one point in his Seminar XX, Encore. The Arguments are also available, a mailing list open for subscriptions, and there is the option to Register for the Congress itself in advance (€180 for non-members).
Following the end of this year’s NLS Congress, the title of the next has been announced. 2022 will focus on ‘Fixation and Repetition’, with Alexandre Stevens having provided the Argument. Further details – date and location/platform – to be announced shortly. In the meantime an interview with visual artist Berlinde de Bruyckere by Stijn Vanheule, presented at this year’s NLS Congress, is available on Vimeo. Read Vanheule’s accompanying article here.
Several new publications have been announced for release towards the end of the year. Lacanian Psychoanalysis and Eastern Orthodox Christian Anthropology in Dialogue by Carl Waitz and Theresa Tisdale, will be out in late October from Routledge. Arguing for how this faith tradition can extend analytic thinking, the authors compare the “reflective and contemplative posture of Orthodoxy” with the attentive listening of psychoanalysis in its consideration of subjectivity. Other intersections between psychoanalysis and religion are explored, such as the approaches of the two systems to training, whether as an analyst or in the ministry.
Treating Autism Today: Lacanian Perspectives, edited by Laura Tarsia and Kristina Valendinova, will be published by Routledge as part of the CFAR Library in November. Offering a critique of mainstream models of autism and in particular the cognitive and behavioural approaches currently in vogue, it brings together an international array of authors (some of whose work is difficult to find in translation) with contributions which historically contextualise the study of autism in respect of neoliberalism, behaviourist ideology, and the situation in France in recent years. It is available to pre-order via the link above or from the publishers using the link and the discount code at the top of this page.
Christian Fierens’ The Jouissance Principle: Kant, Sade and Lacan on the Ethical Functioning of the Unconscious is due out in November. A psychoanalyst and psychiatrist based in Belgium, Fierens discusses the relationship between pleasure, ethics, and rationality through a reading of the concept of jouissance, presenting it as a principle of the functioning of the unconscious. Cross-reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason with Lacan’s ‘Kant with Sade’, he argues for a consideration of the unconscious as an ethical process, one which it is the task of psychoanalysis to relaunch. Fierens’ book is the second in the latter half of this year to examine the concept of jouissance. The other – Darian Leader’s Jouissance: Sexuality, Suffering and Satisfaction – is out next month, as previously announced.
Finally among newly-announced forthcoming books, Feng Dong’s Desire and Infinity in W.S. Merwin’s Poetry will be out in December. The American poet, who died in 2019, is the subject of Dong’s enquiry into a “metaphysical possibility” he finds in Merwin’s work, positioning it at the intersection between contemporary poetics, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. He draws on Lacan, Levinas, and Heidegger among others to foreground what Merwin called “the other side of despair” as the opposite of humans’ articulated personal and social agonies. “Poetry carries with it a phantasmal inner force that constantly breaches its own form”, Dong writes, in what promises to be an exciting and original contribution.
Among the journals and papers just released, Sinan Richards’ ‘The Logician of Madness: Fanon’s Lacan’ for Paragraph, the journal of modern critical theory, re-examines the underappreciated proximity of Frantz Fanon’s work to that of Lacan’s. It brings out the connections between the two figures in relation to the ontological status of madness, their shared criticism of psychoanalytic orthodoxy, and the role of social structures in fashioning mental disturbances. Richards also looks at the cross-references both theorists make to each other – Lacan to Fanon in Seminar XXIII, and Fanon to Lacan in Black Skin, White Masks.
Finally, on YouTube Derek Hook interviews Thomas Svolos on his recent book The Aims of Analysis (2020), and his reading of several concepts that appear in Lacan’s later work. The link above is to the first of a series of videos in which the pair talk about the evolution of Lacan’s view on psychosis, the semblant, and the One. Svolos helps clarify the concepts of lalangue (the idea that “a signifier can carry a value of jouissance with it”), the ‘One’ [L’Un] (“a singular entity… which is singular for each speaking being”), and the semblant (“jouissance taking a form of being, should that be possible”).
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