Event date and location: 30 March 2023, Online (Zoom)

This Lacan in Scotland seminar “‘A Feminine Mode of Love: Perversion & the Phallus” took place on Zoom on Thursday 30 March 2023. Dr Meera Lee explores the concept of perversion in relation to femininity, love and the phallus. It is chaired by Director of Lacan in Scotland Dr Calum Neill and is followed by a discussion with the audience.


0:00 – Intro
01:07 – Presentation
44:33 – Discussion with Calum Neill
55:08 – Q&A with the audience


“[The] word [niederkommen, give birth] indicates, metonymically, the final term, the term of suicide, in which is expressed what is at stake in the young homosexual woman, this being the sole mainspring of her entire perversion……namely, a steady and particularly reinforced love for the father,” (my emphasis) Lacan remarks at the end of the eighth chapter of his fourth seminar, implying an interesting link between perversion and feminine love for the father. But he never ventured to explain this tie further. While his Seminars 4 and 5 primarily delineate a theory of the phallus, they also articulate a theory of perversion. For Lacan, perversion can be best approached through female sexuality—more specifically female homosexuality—for it is located precisely outside the phallus. 

Via a close examination of Lacan’s re-reading of Freud’s case histories of the young homosexual woman and Dora, this talk discusses the way in which perversion is considered “a feminine mode of love,” elucidating the relation between feminine phantasy and the phallus. This investigation consequently leads us to think about a new mode of jouissance, namely, “perverse jouissance” veiled in the hysteric’s fundamental question, “what is (to be) woman (la femme).”

MEERA LEE is on the faculty of the Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College, CUNY and a psychoanalyst. She is the editor of Lacan’s Cruelty: Perversion beyond Philosophy, Culture and Clinic, as well as the author of Who’s Afraid of Hemingway Men: Reconstructing Masculinity in Freud and Lacan (in Korean). Her writings have appeared in positions: asia critique, Verge: Global Asias, Telos, Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, Tamkang Review, and 21st Century Literature, as well as the edited book Psychoanalyzing Cinema: A Productive Encounter with Lacan, Deleuze and Žižek. She is currently completing a monograph, tentatively titled, Of Cruelty: The Superego Today in Freud and Lacan.

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