News – March 2022
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Starting with publications out now and coming soon, issue 12 of The Lacanian Review, the journal of the New Lacanian School and the World Association of Psychoanalysis, is out now. Taking as its topic ‘American Lacan’ it brings together accounts of Lacan’s reception in the United States, “how Lacan arrived, who listened, and what developed from transferences that moved across languages and across continents.” Although Lacan visited America only three times between the mid-sixties and mid-seventies, he did not share Freud’s contempt for its culture, and this volume includes his lectures at Yale, MIT and Columbia, as well as commentaries on them by American Lacanians. The Lacanian Review is available by subscription on the ECF’s site (in English and in French), and past copies are also on Amazon.
The Marx Through Lacan Vocabulary: A Compass for Libidinal and Political Economies will be released by Routledge at the end of April. Edited and assembled by a team of Latin American Lacano-Marxists, it offers a compendium of Marxist concepts understood from a Lacanian perspective, helping to demonstrate the links between Lacanian and leftist thought, and the political application of psychoanalysis.
A series of commentaries on Lacan’s Écrits text ‘Science and Truth’ will be released at the end of July as part of the Palgrave Lacan Series. From Cogito to Covid: Rethinking Lacan’s “Science and Truth” is edited by Molly A Wallace and Concetta Principe, and brings together contributions on post-truth politics, the incel phenomenon, and the COVID-19 pandemic exploring Lacan’s contribution to current debates on science, psychoanalysis, ethics, and truth.
Slavoj Žižek’s latest, Surplus-Enjoyment: A Guide For The Non-Perplexed, will be released in August. His central argument here is that “what is surplus to our needs is by its very nature unsubstantial and unnecessary. But, perversely, without this surplus, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy, what is substantial and necessary.” With his usual blend of film and popular culture references combined with Lacanian theory and Hegelian philosophy, he once again looks for a way out of political impasses in our “society of enjoyment” defined by excess.
Newly-announced for a tentative release date of September is Rob J Weatherill’s Lacan in the End Times: In the Name of the Absent Father. Positing a decline of the Father with a decline of mental health in modern society, Weatherill theorises this psychoanalytically through “the corresponding ferocity of the internal object and exposure to the Real.” Pre-order from publishers Routledge here.
Slated for an October release is Lacan’s Cruelty: Perversion beyond Philosophy, Culture and Clinic, edited by Meera Lee, as part of the Palgrave Lacan Series. Avoiding the reduction of the category of perversion to cultural representations, historical discourse or clinical diagnosis, the contributors to this volume attempt to “de-sexualise” and “de-mystify” the subject by bringing Lacanian psychoanalytic concepts into dialogue with clinical praxis, philosophy and literature. Pre-order from the publishers here.
Due for publication in November is Richard Boothby’s Embracing the Void: Rethinking the Origin of the Sacred. This book draws on Jacques Lacan’s concept of das Ding, the unknown dimension of the fellow human being, in sketching the broad outline of a Lacanian theory of religion. Part One seeks to clarify the notion of the das Ding, linking it with Lacan’s cardinal claim that “human desire is the desire of Other” and with other key Lacanian concepts such as the paternal metaphor, jouissance, anxiety, sublimation, and the function of the signifier in the unconscious. Part Two concretely unfolds the thesis that the sense of the sacred is centred upon the unknown Thing. What distinguishes this approach from “negative” theology is its emphasis on relation to an unknown subject. As Freud had noted, ancient Greek polytheism personified natural forces. Judaism reduces the throng of deities to a single, deeply enigmatic God who insists on a binding covenant with human beings. Christianity then “fulfills” the Judaic turn to a single divine Subject by returning the unknown Thing to its primal origin. Jesus’s exhortation to love not only the neighbour but also the enemy challenges all who hear it to directly embrace the anxiety-producing Other-Thing in the fellow human being. Part Two concludes with briefer analyses of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as the religious dimensions of capitalism overseen by the unknown God of money.
Turning to events, 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 both 2020’s Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: Transference and 2018’s Lacan and the Nonhuman. Register on EventBrite here.
On Thurs 28th April Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez will present an online seminar for Lacan in Scotland titled ‘Leaky Jars of Joussiance’. Exploring the concept of jouissance through the myth of the Danaides which Lacan discusses in Seminar XVII, the seminar will take place on Zoom and is followed by a virtual pub gathering on the platform Wonder. Register on Eventbrite here.
Looking further ahead, as heralded last month the Lacan: Clinic & Culture conference will be held at Duquesne University between October 14th-16th, and some of the keynote speakers’ abstracts have now been published via the link above. Speakers will include Sheldon George, Kristen Hennessy, Dany Nobus, Annie G Rogers, and Stijn Vanheule. Look out for more details coming shortly.
Among recent events, the World Association of Psychoanalysis held its Great International Online Conversation between 31st March and 3rd April. Bringing together seven schools and five official languages, the event was dedicated to consideration of the theme ‘Woman does not exist’, drawn from Lacan’s often misunderstood maxim of the early 1970s first pronounced in the Encore seminar. A summary account of the proceedings, courtesy of Peggy Papada, can be found here, and videos of analysts discussing topics relevant to the subject ahead of the gathering itself are on the WAP’s YouTube channel. The conference closed with the theme of the 2024 WAP Congress being announced by Jacques-Alain Miller as ‘Everyone is Mad’ – another aphorism taken from Lacan’s texts. The host city will be Paris, but once again will be relayed online, as Miller announced: “from now on, everywhere.”
Relatedly, a new edition of Scilicet (the journal of the World Association of Psychoanalysis, begun by Lacan, and now in its 9th volume) has just been published, bringing together the papers preparatory to the WAP’s Great International Online Conversation last month. In the spirit of the move to online access, the journal is published in Kindle format only and available now on Amazon.
YouTube continues to be a growing source of great Lacanian content. Over the past month Todd McGowan’s excellent channel has brought us a discussion between him, Slavoj Zizek, and Russ Sbriglia on the notion of surplus enjoyment, the formulas of sexuation, and the four discourses. They frame this discussion with analysis of the current Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Jamieson Webster’s talk ‘Listening to Hysteria’, which took place on 31st March for Lacan In Scotland, is also now available on YouTube. Dr Webster explores the concept of hysteria in the clinic and 21st century from a Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective. It is chaired by Dr Calum Neill, Director of Lacan in Scotland, and the presentation is followed by a discussion with the audience.
Richard Seymour, co-founder of Salvage Magazine, sits down with Daniel Tutt for a discussion of the Lacanian Left, Self-Help, and the Family, now available on YouTube.
Peter Mathews, author of 2020’s Lacan The Charlatan, is interviewed by Cooper Cherry and Taylor Adkins on YouTube discussing his excellent book, the contentions of Lacan’s main critics, and why Lacan seems to remain such a disturbing enigma for many academics and psychoanalysts.
Among podcasts, Radio Lacan has several new recently-released podcasts and recordings from Lacanian events around the world, under the auspices of the WAP and the New Lacanian School. Ruzanna Hakobyan’s lecture on ‘Fixation’, delivered in February in Toronto, discusses the theme of the next NLS Congress, ‘Fixation and Repetition’. Bruno de Halleux’s lecture on ‘The Real Unconscious’, delivered in January in Dublin, is also now available. And the London Society of the NLS, which has been reading Lacan’s Seminar XX, has provided recordings of its seminars – with guest speakers including Alexandre Stevens, Geert Hoornaert, and Sophie Marret-Maleval – to Radio Lacan here.
Lastly, readers may be interested in Susan Finlay’s newly-released fiction book The Jacques Lacan Foundation. Billed as “An Anglo-American comedy of manners about identity and class” it follows the protagonist Nicki as she completes the first American-English translation of Lacan’s “newly-discovered and highly controversial notebook” without knowing any French. An extract is available here. It is available from publishers Moist via the link above, and from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
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