April 12-14, 2024
Kinzie Hotel ( Wolf Point Room, 5th floor)
20 West Kinzie Street, Chicago
Sheldon George is Chair of the department of Literature & Writing at Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. His scholarship centers on application of cultural and literary theory to analyses of American and African American literature and culture. George is chair of the Executive Committee of the MLA forum Psychology, Psychoanalysis and Literature. He is an associate editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society and has coedited two special issues of that journal: one titled “Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions into Culture and Politics” and the other titled “African Americans and Inequality.” His book Trauma and Race, published in 2016, is the first to offer an extended Lacanian analysis of African American identity. George is coeditor, with Jean Wyatt, of Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers; and his recent publications include the pioneering collection of essays, coedited with Derek Hook, Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity and Psychoanalytic Theory.
Seminar Title: Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Race and Difference
Seminar description: Though Lacanian theory speaks of difference and the role of the Other in the psyche, Lacanian theorists have only recently begun to imagined this other as raced and gendered. This seminar will engage Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to explore what it teaches us of the psyche’s relation to race and difference. The seminar will start with a basic overview of Lacan’s rethinking of psychoanalytic theory through his use of linguistics, reading Lacan’s early works like “The Agency of the Letter” and “The Mirror Stage” alongside of the writing of Structural Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. It will then engage works by Lacan and his student, Jacques Alain-Miller, to talk about the role of difference and aggression in psychoanalysis. Finally, the seminar will focus on the writing of contemporary Lacanian theories who deploy the theory in analyses of difference based on race and sexuality. Thus moving through Lacan’s theories on language and difference, we will explore how Lacan’s nuanced understanding of the psyche has lent itself to sophisticated elaborations of the psychic motivations that guide our contemporary relations to differences of race, sex and gender.
Saussure, Ferdinand de. “Nature of the Linguistic Sign” and “[Binary Oppositions]”
Lacan, Jacques. “The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason Since Freud”
Lacan, Jacques. Ecrits Ch.1 “The Mirror Stage as Formative”
Lacan, Jacques. Ecrits Ch 2. “Agressivity in Psychoanalysis”
Baldwin, James. “Going to Meet the Man”
George, Sheldon. Trauma and Race. “Introduction: Race Today”
Miller, Jacques, Alain. “Extimité.”
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Stephanie Swales. “Transphobia in the Bathroom: Sexual Difference, Alterity and Jouissance.”