CALL FOR PAPERS – SUMMER SYMPOSIUM July 31st– August 7th 2011

Venue: Falsterbo educational centre, 20 km South of Malmö, Southern Sweden

“A man of letters by instinct, though a doctor by necessity, I conceived the idea of changing over a branch of medicine—psychiatry—into literature,” writes Freud in a letter to Giovani Papini. Thus he asserts the inextricable relation between the psychoanalytic take on psychopathology and the subjective narrative that serves as its vehicle. The narrative that is produced and re-produced in the analytic session moulds the past, infancy and childhood, the present and the manifold hypothetical futures. Phantasmal narratives and images can be regarded, on the one hand, as intensely asocial, a private world of pleasure and pain; while on the other, they constitute the psychic glue that binds communities together, as in the shared myths of a group or a nation. Each individual, to Freud, “is bound by ties of identification in many directions,” and “therefore has a share in numerous group minds.” The myth of the hero, “the step by which the individual emerges from group psychology” embarking on a flight of fancy, nevertheless preserves clear traces of the facts which were disavowed. Narratives and iconic images can function as protective fictions, as façades barring the way to memories. Thus psychoanalytic thinking can function politically as a lens that makes visible the unconscious reflections of social power-structures in the story or pictorial representation.

Psychoanalytic thinking may also investigate how processes of imaginative re-elaboration or working through, enable a partial recognition of memory, allowing for as much as is bearable of history to come to light, making past atrocities or sufferings more tolerable, constituting containment or perhaps mourning. Analogously, one might here think of Ferenczi’s description of dreams as attempts at better mastery and settling of traumatic experiences, aiming to establish a balance between forced repetition and wish-fulfilment as denial. “Any sorrows can be borne,” wrote Karen Blixen, “if you can put them into a story or tell a story about them.” In these artistic products, the collective can be criticized, questioned, transformed, uncovered, appealed to or held; the subjective may, in turn, be found in the resisting or in the transgressing, in the protesting or in the self-sacrificial, the appeal to its assertion or dissolution.

The focus of this Symposium is the psychoanalytic interrogation of the political in terms of its narrativity and iconography, its readings, counter-readings, interpretations, transmissions and transgressions. This encompasses the junction of politics and psychoanalysis with literature, media, rhetorics, film, linguistics and public images. Possible subjects of inquiry include depictions of, and engagements with, social stratification, sexualized politics, such as the role of (polarized) heterosexuality or homosexuality, dramatizations of oedipal scenarios, narratives of colonization, or the role of violence and shared myths of origin in political fantasies of the primal scene. In addition, new forms of minimal narratives that have proved to meet the political, such as Facebook or Twitter, may also be brought into question. These challenge traditional understandings of individual and collective symbolic agency as well as notions of authorship and addressee, and prompt engagement and militancy in political rebellions, ecological activism and individual causes.

This is an interdisciplinary conference – we invite theoretical contributions and historical, literary or clinical case studies on these and related themes from philosophers, sociologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, literary theorists, historians and others. Perspectives from different psychoanalytic schools will be most welcome. The symposium takes place from the 31st of July to the 7th of August at Falsterbo educational centre 20 kilometres South of Malmö, in Southern Sweden. It is situated by the sea – allowing for swimming during breaks – and it is just a short train ride from Copenhagen airport. This is a relatively small symposium, in a friendly and enjoyable social atmosphere, where active participation is encouraged. Please send an abstract of 200 to 300 words to moc.liamgnull@scitilop.sisylanaohcysp by May 10th 2011.

Non-exclusive list of relevant literature

Abraham, N./Torok, M. N. T. Rand ed. The Shell and the Kernel. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.
Anderson, B. (1983/2006) Imagined Communities. London/New York: Verso.
Aulagnier, P. (2001) The Violence of Interpretation. London: Brunner-Routledge.
Balint, E. (1989) “Creative Life” in E. Balint/J. Mitchell/M. Parsons eds. Before I was I. Psychoanalysis and the Imagination. London: Free Association Books, 1993.
Butler, J. (2004) Precarious Life. The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London/New York: Verso.
Baudrillard, J. (1993) Symbolic exchange and death. London: Sage.
Baudrillard, J. (1994) Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
Bhaba, H. J. (1994) The Location of Culture, London: Routledge.
Clarke, A. Language, Hybridity, and Dialogism in The God of Small Things. In Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. Ed. Tickell, A. London: Routledge. 2007.
Deleuze, G./ Guattari, F. (new ed. 2004) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia New York: Continuum.
Derrida, J. (1995) The Gift of Death. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Derrida, J. (1995) Literature in Secret. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Derrida, J. Of Grammatology. Buenos Aires: Silgo Veintiun Editores.
Figlio, K. (2001) Psychoanalysis, Science and Masculinity. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge.
Ferenczi, S. (1931) “On the Revision of the Interpretation of Dreams”, Notes and Fragments in S. Ferenczi/M. Balint ed. Final Contributions to the Problems and Methods of Psycho-Analysis. London/New York: Karnac Books, 1994.
Foucault, M. What is an author? Unedited.
Freud, S. (1908e[1907]) Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming. SE vol. 9.
Freud, S. (1911) Psychoanalytic notes on an autobiographical account of a case of paranoia (Dementia Paranoides). SE Vol. 12.
Freud, S. (1912-1913) Totem and Taboo. SE vol. 13.
Freud, S. (1921) Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. SE vol. 18.
Freud, S. (1930 [1929]) Civilisation and its Discontents. SE vol. 21.
Freud, S. (1939 [1934-38]) Moses and Monotheism. SE vol. 23.
Greedharry, M. (2008) Postcolonial Theory and Psychoanalysis: From Uneasy Engagements to Effective Critique. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Green, A. (1969/1979) The Tragic Effect. The Oedipus Complex in Tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Guha, R; Spivak, G.Ch. (1988) Selected Subaltern Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Innes, C. L. (2007)The Cambridge introduction to postcolonial literatures in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Klein, M. (1929) “Infantile Anxiety-Situations Reflected in a Work of Art and in the Creative Impulse” and
Klein, M. (1930) “The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development of the Ego” both in Love, Guilt and Reparation. USA: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence.
Klein, M. (1963) “Some Reflections on ‘The Oresteia'” in Envy and Gratitude. USA: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence.
Lacan, J. (1977) The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud. In Écrits: A selection. London: Tavistock.
Lacan, J. (2005) Le Séminaire XXIII: Le Sinthome. Paris : Seuil.
Lacan, J. (2005) Joyce le Symptôme. Paris: Seuil.
LaCapra, D. (2001)Writing History, Writing Trauma. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Lyth, I. M. (1988) Containing Anxiety in Institutions. London: Free Association Books.
Milner, M. (1955) “The Role of Illusion in Symbol-Formation”, in New Directions in Psychoanalysis, ed. M. Klein et al.; republished in Milner (1987), pp. 83-11
Mitscherlich, A./Mitscherlich, M. (1975) The Inability to Mourn: Principles of Collective Behavior. New York: Grove Press/Random House.
Moïsi, D. (2009/2010) The Geopolitics of Emotion. New York: Anchor Books.
Money-Kyrle, R. (1939) “Varieties of Group Formation” in Meltzer, D./O’Shaughnessy, E. eds. The Collected Papers of Roger Money-Kyrle. Strath Tay/Pertshire: Clunie Press, 1978.
Moore-Gilbert, B. Postcolonial Theory: Contexts, Practices, Politics. London: Verso. 1997.
Mulvey, L. (1989/2009) Visual and Other Pleasures Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ricœur, P. (2000) La memoire, l’histoire, l’obli. Paris: Seuil.
Rickman, J. (1957) “On the Nature of Ugliness and The Creative Impulse” Marginalia Psychoanalytica II (1940).         
Roy, A. The God of Small Things. New York: Harper Perennial. 1997.
Rickman, J. (1938) “Does it take all kinds to make a world? Uniformity and diversity in communities” in P. King ed. No Ordinary Psychoanalyst. London: Karnac Books, 2003.
Rose, J. (1996): States of Fantasy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Rustin, M. (1991) The Good Society and the Inner World, London: Verso.
Rulfo, J. Pedro Páramo. Mexico: Planeta. 1953.
Said, E. (2003) Freud and the Non-European. London: Verso.
Segal, H. (1957) “Notes on Symbol Formation” in International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, v.38.
Spivak, G. CH. (1998) Can the subaltern speak? In Nelson and Grossberg eds. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. London: Macmillan.
Stonebridge, L. (1998) The Destructive Element. British Psychoanalysis and Postmodernism. New York: Routledge.
Whitebook, J. (1996) Perversion and Utopia, Boston: MIT Press.
Williams, P./Gabbard, G. O. (2007) Key Papers in Literature and Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac Books.
Winnicott, D. W. (1967) “The Location of Cultural Experience” in International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 48, Part 3.
Zizek, S. (1995): The Sublime Object of Ideology, New York, Verso.