Which Identity? Tribalism and Humanism

MAY 29TH-31ST 2020 1 Daleham Gardens, London, NW3 5BY, UK

Due to the recent international developments to do with the coronavirus pandemic, I have been in great doubt about the future of the planned Psychoanalysis and Politics conference, Which Identity? Tribalism and Humanism, due to take place in London May 29th-31st. I have written to some of the regular participants in Psychoanalysis and Politics who were also planning to attend this conference. Based both on what they said and on the general instability of the situation, I have reached the conclusion, with deep regret, that the best thing to do is to cancel this conference. Many participants have hesitated to sign up, a few have declared that they need to cancel their participation. A few new potential presenters, who would have replaced others who cancelled, have either been hesitant or have declared that they cannot make it to the conference after all. Although the situation may have improved in May, this is impossible to know at present, and a conference such as this requires months of planning in advance. This is simply too difficult for the time being. Furthermore, Norwegian authorities have recently predicted that the corona pandemic will reach a peak in May. (Universities, schools and kindergartens have recently been closed in Norway, and the official declaration is that people who have travelled outside of Scandinavia should observe a quarantine for two weeks).

A conference entitled Oppression and Welcoming Strangers is due to take place on September 19th at the House of Literature in Oslo. One possible prospect is to expand this conference from one day to two days, and to further the dialogue with the Norwegian Psychoanalytic Society. The planning of this conference has currently been paused. In a few months from now, when we see how the situation develops, I hope to continue with the planning of this event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Psychoanalysis and Politics.

The preliminary title for next year’s Psychoanalysis and Politics conference (a Friday-Saturday-Sunday in the spring) is “Fascist Imaginaries”. It will probably take a few months to confirm the time and the place.

I find it very sad to have to cancel this coming conference in May, though I believe it is necessary under the current circumstances. I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the situation of people in Italy in particular, who are worse off than many others are at the present time. There were meant to be presenters coming from Italy to this conference; I hope we will be able to meet them next year. My thoughts are also with people elsewhere who have been affected by the virus or who are at great risk. Let us try to remain in solidarity with each other through these difficult times.

If you would like to donate to Psychoanalysis and Politics to help cover the losses incurred, you can do so via this page: https://www.psa-pol.org/donate/

Dr. Lene Auestad, March 14th 2020