News – February 2022
Want to receive this news via email each month? Sign up here.
Beginning with new books, and Jordan Osserman’s Circumcision on the Couch: The Cultural, Psychological, and Gendered Dimensions of the World’s Oldest Surgery has just been published by Bloomsbury as part of its Psychoanalytic Horizons series. A refreshingly original topic for psychoanalytic investigation, Osserman examines how circumcision has become “a site upon which vital questions of gender, race, religion, sexuality, and psychic life are negotiated.” Using a feminist Lacanian framework, the book takes as its starting point the idea that the significance of male circumcision exceeds anatomical and juridical considerations. Osserman goes on to ask how psychoanalysis might shed light on the ideologies, discourses, and fantasies surrounding circumcision and the impassioned stances for and against it.
Several books tackling questions of gender, sexuation, and femininity have been released at the start of 2022. Firstly, Queer Traversals: Psychoanalytic Queer and Trans Theories by Chris Coffman was published by Bloomsbury at the end of January. Presenting a reading of Lacanian psychoanalysis through a queer and trans-positive framework, it argues that ‘sexual difference’ is a historically contingent fantasy and for the need to go beyond it in understanding sexualities and their modes of embodiment.
Secondly, Alicia Valdés’ Toward a Feminist Lacanian Left: Psychoanalytic Theory and Intersectional Politics will be released in late March. It promises a re-reading of Lacan’s work on sexuation in an attempt to problematise political antagonism and the political subject, to question whether Lacanian psychoanalysis can offer a new ground for political feminism.
Thirdly, Libretto, the book series of the World Association of Psychoanalysis, has published Marie-Hélène Brousse’s The Feminine: A Mode of Jouissance in English, which is available now in advance of the WAP’s Great International Conversation on this theme that will begin in April. Brousse’s book is a contribution to the debate about gender that attempts an elaboration of the logic of sexuation discussed in the later part of Lacan’s teaching. More details of the WAP event, which will be offered in translation into the five languages of the WAP, are available here.
The Clinic of the Act, published at the start of the year by the School of the Freudian Letter, brings into print an interview with psychoanalyst Petros Patounas conducted by Marinos Maliali in which Patounas elaborates on what he describes as the ‘Ascesis of the Act’, a praxis which connects the psychoanalyst closer to faith: “From the clinic of psychoanalysis that makes descriptions of the world with the Borromean knot, to the Ascesis of the Act that constructs the universe. From the subject supposed to know to the gnosis of faith.” Also published by the School last month was a collection of essays by the late Richard Klein – the School’s first president and previously a founding member of CFAR – under the title An Act of Good Faith: the Duty to Become a Heretic.
Critique of Psychoanalytic Reason: Studies in Lacanian Theory and Practice by Dany Nobus will be released in late March in the UK, and early April in the US, and is the latest in the CFAR Library collection. In nine interrelated chapters, Nobus highlights both the flaws and the strengths of Lacan’s ideas in areas of investigation that are as crucial as they are contentious, within as well as outside psychoanalysis. As ever, Nobus promises a sharp critique of frequently-espoused parts of Lacan’s theoretical and clinical edifice, drawing on unpublished archival documents and other source materials in a discussion of controversial areas such as money, organisational failure, the variable-length session, and male chauvinism.
Coming up next month will be The Marx Through Lacan Vocabulary: A Compass for Libidinal and Political Economies. An alphabetically ordered compendium of Marxist concepts read from a Lacanian perspective, its 26 chapters have been assembled by a team of largely Latin American Lacano-Marxists to help demonstrate the links between Lacanian and leftist thought, and the political application of psychoanalysis. Its chapters range from Alienation and Automation to Uneasiness and Value. It will be released in early April by Routledge.
Looking further ahead in the year, Lacan on Depression and Melancholia, edited by Derek Hook and Stijn Vanheule, featuring contributions from Leon S. Brenner, Joachim Cauwe, Patricia Gherovici, Russell Grigg, Derek Hook, Darian Leader, Geneviève Morel, Thomas Svolos, Stephanie Swales, Stijn Vanheule and Jamieson Webster, is forthcoming from Routledge. A release date has yet to be set, but a preview of the table of contents can be found here.
Turning to events, LOCUS (the Lacanian Orientation Center for the United States), has announced Virtual Course on ‘The Other Lacan: From Symptom to Sinthome‘, beginning 22nd March and running every Tuesday till 7th June. The course will be delivered by Juan Felipe Arango, Alicia Arenas, Nancy Gillespie, Liliana Kruszel, Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, Karina Tenenbaum (Members of the World Association of Psychoanalysis).
On Weds 30th March the Freud Museum London is hosting a special online lecture with Professor Wu Guanjun discussing ‘The ‘Entanglement’ Between Lacanian Psychoanalysis and Chinese Thought’. Coinciding with the Museum’s major new exhibition Freud and China, it will discuss Lacan’s interest – most prominent during the late 1960s and early 1970s – in the Daodejing and Mencius’ philosophy, and the special ties connecting Lacanian psychoanalysis to Chinese thought. All registrants to the webinar will receive access to the recording 24hrs after the event, which will be available to catch up for 1 month thereafter. Prof. Wu Guanjun is author of 2014’s The Great Dragon Fantasy: A Lacanian Analysis Of Contemporary Chinese Thought.
Lacan In Scotland has announced a virtual seminar exploring hysteria in the clinic and in the 21st century, with Dr Jamieson Webster. Listening to Hysteria will be on Thurs 31st March, and the event is free and open to all. It will be followed by a virtual pub gathering on the platform Wonder.
On Saturday 23rd April Lacanian scholar Gautam Basu Thakur will be speaking on ‘Occupying Psychoanalysis in a Post-Colonial World: Fanon’s ‘zone of nonbeing’ and the subject of racism’ in the second in a series of seminars on Decolonising Psychoanalysis, organised by the Race and Culture Committee of the Guild of Psychotherapists. The series is intended to open up conversations about psychoanalysis by initiating Transatlantic Dialogues between academics and psychotherapists, bringing clinical responses to their academic decolonial work. Thakur is the author of Postcolonial Lack: Identity, Culture, Surplus, which opens a dialogue between Lacanian psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory, and co-editor of 2020’s Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: Transference and 2018’s Lacan and the Nonhuman. Register on EventBrite here.
With the NLS Congress this year on Fixation and Repetition coming up 2nd-3rd July, a Call for Papers has been issued, and anyone interested in studying these theme is invited to form cartels ‘Towards the Congress’, including to present work resulting from them in the simultaneous sessions of the Congress. Cartels can be registered on the School’s site here, with a catalogue of those already in place here. As well as the blog of the Congress having now launched, a number of preparatory events are taking place in the School’s various groups. Those in the UK may be interested in the London Society’s event on 26th March, at which Daniel Roy, Vice President of the NLS, will give a keynote on the Congress theme as part of the Society’s Knottings Seminar series, the first to be held in-person since the pandemic. Details and registration on EventBrite.
On YouTube, Derek Hook provides an excellent overview of a Lacanian approach to Melancholia, based on his paper in Psychoanalytic Dialogues from 2018. His Introduction to Lacan’s Seminar I, a talk delivered for the Lacanian Learning Collective in South Africa, is also on YouTube. Hit Subscribe to stay up to date with more of his videos.
Darian Leader’s lecture on Interpretation, given to the Laboratory of Psychopathology and Psychoanalysis at the University of Kyoto in February is also now on YouTube. Contextualising the approaches to interpretation throughout analytic history, Leader’s considered talk brings out the clinical applicability of Lacan’s theory and in particular the use of the body, which was so important to Lacan’s own practice.
Finally, readers might be interested in Slavoj Zizek’s recent piece on the war in Ukraine, written for Spectator World in late February. ‘Was Russia’s ‘rape’ of Ukraine inevitable?’ is available here.
Got news? Get in touch.