Playing Doctor: Performance, Trauma, and the Ethics of Psychoanalysis [EXTENDED DEADLINE]

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Literature and Psychoanalysis Graduate Student Symposium, Department of English, University of Toronto
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Keynote Speaker: Professor Naomi Morgenstern, University of Toronto.
"The University in Crisis: Teaching, Transference and Tenure in David Mamet's Oleanna."

Call for Papers

In their exploration of the intersections between literature and psychoanalysis entitled Testimony, Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub turn to the classroom experience, asking, "[i]n a post-traumatic century, a century that has survived unthinkable historical catastrophes, is there anything that we have learned or that we should learn about education, that we did not know before?" Indeed, both trauma and pedagogy confront their subjects โ€“ doctors, teachers, patients, victims โ€“ with the difficulties of communication: not just of putting history into words, but of making past events present enough to do them justice without ignoring the contingencies of memory and hindsight. Meanwhile, performance, in all its outward spectacle, seems at first to contradict the difficulties of traumatic and pedagogical processes; tragedy in particular ostensibly promises a cathartic experience, centering around those very aspects of recognition and expression that often elude the traumatized victim in the context of psychoanalysis. And yet participants in both educational and therapeutic settings often find themselves troubling the boundaries between fact and narrative, memory and story, authenticity and theatricality โ€“ distinctions whose surprising fineness can cast ethical questions harshly into the spotlight.

The Literature and Psychoanalysis Reading Group invites proposals for papers that explore the convergences and divergences of trauma theory, literature, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, and/or performance. We welcome submissions from a range of disciplines within the humanities and Social Sciences.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

the relationship between teaching and psychoanalysis ("impossible professions")
trauma theory
ethics and psychoanalysis
transference (Freudian and post-Freudian theories)
literary representations of education and psychoanalysis
gender theory and psychoanalysis
speech acts and violence
borders and thresholds
identification and desire
masculinity, sovereignty, and the symbolic order
theatre and psychoanalysis

Please send abstracts of 300 words in .doc format to Please include your full name, contact information, and institutional and departmental affiliation. Accepted papers should be no longer than 8-10 pages or 20 minutes. The deadline for submission is March 26.