Hedda Bolgar Series
Sheldon George, Ph.D
(Wakefield , MA)
Friday, October 29, 2021
Freud, Lacan and the Psychic Pleasures of Race
7-9pm (CST) :ZOOM
*** A recording will NOT be available for this session. ***
About the presentation: Our political and social moment seems destabilized by an increased emphasis on racial difference. But psychoanalysis has long ignored the stabilizing role aggression toward racial others has played in structuring society. Decades after American slavery ended, Freud, upon witnessing the horrors of World War I, first recognized within human subjects a drive toward aggression that he argued must be repressed for the sustainability of civilization. This talk reads slavery as a full manifestation of this psychic drive toward aggression. Through recourse to Lacanian theory, it argues that race functions as a source of psychic pleasure, or what Lacan calls jouissance. This jouissance is a mode of enjoyment that lures the subject to perilous transgressions that stabilize American society into its consistently oppressive racial configuration. Moving through an analysis of American slave masters’ efforts to establish slavery as a mask for what we can describe after Lacan as the psychic lack of the subject—a mask that refuted lack with racial superiority—the talk will turn to the writings of Zora Neale Hurston to describe religion and race as mechanisms through which African Americans themselves contend against social unveilings of psychic lack. Ending with a discussion of the role played by pleasure in contemporary incidents of police violence, the talk presents race as an apparatus that mediates subjective lack. Race, it argues, binds contemporary American civilization to sustained modes of psychic pleasure and discontent that grew out of the atrocity of slavery.
Sheldon George, PhD is a Professor of English, a Lacanian theorist and a scholar of African-American literature. He is an associate editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society and a guest editor of two special issues of the journal: “African Americans and Inequality” (2014) and “Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions into Culture and Politics” (2018). George’s book Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity was published in 2016 by Baylor University Press. He is coeditor of Reading Contemporary African American and Black British Women Writers: Narrative, Race, Ethics (Routledge 2020) and is currently completing a collection on Lacan and Race.
1.Develop a working understanding of Freud’s notion of the drive and Lacan’s concept of jouissance.
2.Conceptualize the function of the drive and jouissance in some contemporary cultural moments of racial violence.
3.Critically consider some moral questions about the value of racial identity and the significance of American slavery and psychic aggression to contemporary moments of violence.
This is an intermediate level presentation
CCP members: free with annual $175 membership, payable at registration.
Students:free with annual $150 membership, payable at registration.
Fellows: free with annual $150 membership, payable at registration.
Non-CCP members, single admission: $50
Student non-members, single admission: $15
This program is sponsored for Continuing Education Credits by the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. There is no commercial support for this program, nor are there any relationships between the continuing education sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could be construed as conflicts of interest. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If the program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content. CCP is licensed by the state of Illinois to sponsor continuing education credits for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Counselors and Licensed Clinical Psychologists (license no. 159.000941 and 268.000020 and 168.000238 Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation).
Professionals holding the aforementioned credentials will receive 2.0 continuing education credits for attending the entire program. To receive these credits a completed evaluation form must be turned in at the end of the presentation and licensed psychologists must first complete a brief exam on the subject matter. No continuing education credit will be given for attending part of the presentation. Refunds for CE credit after the program begins will not be honored. If a participant has special needs or concerns about the program, s/he should contact Toula Kourliouros Kalven by October 28, 2021 at email@example.com
George, Sheldon. Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Analysis of African-American Identity. Texas: Baylor UP, 2016.
Lacan, J. (1998b) The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XI: The Four Fundamental
Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Translated by A. Sheridan. New York: Norton.
Gilman, S.L. (1993) Freud, Race and Gender. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Freud, S. (1915/1986) Thoughts for the Times on War and Death. Standard Edition 14.
London: Hogarth Press, pp. 273–302.
Freud, S. (1930/1986) Civilization and Its Discontents. Standard Edition 13. London: Hogarth Press, pp. 57–145.
Gates Jr., H.L. (1992) Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars. New York: Oxford. University Press.
The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis/CCP Program Committee: Carol Ganzer, PhD, Toula Kourliouros Kalven, Adina Bayuk Keesom, PsyD
The Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis is an IRS 501(C)(3) charitable organization, and expenses may be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and your personal tax situation.