2019 Lacan’s Écrits Conference: Call for Papers

2019 Lacan’s Écrits Conference
11th-13thOctober 2019

Duquesne University, Pittsburgh
Organized by the Duquesne Psychology Department

Without doubt the foundational text of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan’s Écrits remains, fifty years after its (1966) publication, an invaluable resource for how we might understand – and practice – psychoanalysis. As labyrinthine as it is enigmatic, Écrits is at once Lacan’s manifesto for what a Freudian psychoanalysis should be, and the condensed companion-piece to the first fifteen years of his weekly Seminar.

The publication, in 2007, of Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English (translated by Bruce Fink), made Lacanian theory more accessible to the English-speaking world. And yet Lacan’s Écrits remains inexhaustible, an array of elliptical texts that invite multiple interpretations and interventions. The 2019 Lacan’s Écrits Conference will extend this tradition of exposition and engagement by hosting many of the world’s foremost experts on Lacan, and by exploring multiple perspectives on, and applications of Lacan’s Écrits.

Call for papers:
Papers with a maximum length of 2000 words can be presented (15-20 minutes) and discussed.

  • The specific text(s) of the Ecrits should be foundational to your presentation.
  • The Ecrits should be taken up as “living” text, with the aim of extending its reach. Attempts at authoritative interpretation should be avoided.
  • Presentations that speak to “real-world” issues will be given special consideration.  Concrete cultural, clinical, social, political, professional, and organizational problems and trends should be illuminated and brought into dialogue with theory. Papers that are more conceptual in nature, however, are still welcome.
  • You should strive to speak in your own style, not Lacan’s, and should prioritize clarity and a spirit of engagement with the audience.

Paper submissions (WORD format) should be between 450 and 500 words. Your submission should make clear the basic points you will discuss, as well as provide an overview of your overall line of argument. The first page of your submission should include your name, the submission title, institutional affiliation, phone and email. The second page of the submission should include your title and the 450-500 word proposal.

Panel submissions (WORD format) should contain all individual paper submissions in addition to an overall description of aims and thematic concerns of the panel. Submissions should also mention the panel chair (name, institutional affiliation, phone and email). Panels should be made up of between 3 and 4 papers, and should take no longer than 80 minutes (in total) to present.

Proposals for papers and panels should be submitted by April 1st, 2019, and will be peer reviewed. Acceptance will be announced by May 1st, 2019.

Please send your proposals to: LacanConference2019@hotmail.com – mentioning ‘Paper Proposal 2019 Lacan Ecrits Conference’ or ‘Panel Proposal 2019 Lacan Ecrits Conference’ in the subject box.

The second installment of the three volume Routledge commentary series Reading Lacan’s Écrits will be launched at the conference. This book, Reading Lacan’s Écrits: From to ‘On a Purpose’ to ‘Comments on Daniel Lagache’ (edited by Derek Hook, Calum Neill and Stijn Vanheule), will be available at a reduced rate to conference delegates.

Organizing committee: Yael Baldwin, Dan Collins, Bruce Fink, Derek Hook, Mike Miller, Calum Neill, Stephanie Swales and Stijn Vanheule.

Confirmed keynote speakers: 

Todd McGowan (University of Vermont, USA)

Law Without a Legislator: Sacrificing Castration to the Other’s Enjoyment

Focusing on two of Lacan’s most philosophical Écrits(“Kant with Sade” and “The Subversion of the Subject”), this talk will examine the role that the subject’s relation to the law plays in structure of its enjoyment. While Lacan does not think that one can do without the law, he shows that the barrier that neurosis constructs relative to the law is that it imagines that the law is authorized, that it is the product of a knowledgeable legislator. Even Kant falls victim to this neurotic trap when he constructs the content of the categorical imperative out of the purely formal moral law. The point of psychoanalytic theory, in contrast, is to reveal the non-authorized and yet still binding status of the law, which is what enables the subject to give up its investment in its own castration and thereby allow for the Other to enjoy.

Stijn Vanheule (Ghent University, Belgium)

Lacan’s Point About Madness in the Écrits

Besides ‘On a question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis’, his most important writing on psychosis,Lacan formulated several ideas on madness across his Écrits. In this keynote address, Prof. Vanheule will synthesize and discuss these ideas, arguing that key concepts of psychoanalysis, like the drive, the unconscious and the subject cannot properly be addressed without taking psychosis into account. The structure of psychosis highlights crucial aspects of how the psychoanalyst should listen to speech. Moreover, Lacan’s perspective opposes the stigmatizing tendencies concerning madness in Western culture. It is not a condition of otherness that excludes the possibility of psychoanalytic work, but rather a mode of functioning that highlights the dimension the Other, without which the subject of psychoanalysis cannot be thought.

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