CFP: [Theory] Inscribing the Impossible: Instances of the Letter in Psychoanalysis

full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Colesworthy
contact email: 

Inscribing the Impossible: Instances of the Letter in Psychoanalysis

Featuring Keynote Speakers:

Juliet Flower MacCannell, Professor Emeritus, University of California,
Irvine, and author of The Hysteric's Guide to the Future Female Subject,
The Regime of the Brother: After the Patriarchy, and Figuring Lacan:
Criticism and the Cultural Unconscious

Peter Goodrich, Professor of Law and Director of Laws and Humanities at the
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and author of Laws of Love, A Brief
Historical and Practical Manual, Languages of Law: From Logics of Memory to
Nomadic Masks, Law in the Courts of Love: Literature and other Minor
Jurisprudences, Legal Discourse: Studies in Linguistics, Rhetoric, and
Legal Analysis, and Oedipus Lex: Psychoanalysis, History, Law

April 24-25, 2009
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

At the origin of psychoanalysis, in Anna O's absences and mutisms and in
Dora's dyspnoea and fainting spells, a forbidden jouissance inscribes
itself on the body. As corporeal metaphors, these symptoms bespeak another
scene: the unconscious. Psychoanalysis offers to read these letters of the
body, and to enter through them into the workings of the drive. Within the
discourse of the clinic the analysand responds to the analyst's desire for
knowledge of the unconscious and produces signifiers that lead towards the
real of jouissance. This work of writing thus charts an ethical movement
from the imaginary ideals that exclude the jouissance of the subject (and
thus support the ego within the social link), to the subject's encounter
with the jouissance that structures her relationship to the absent Other.

By posing psychoanalytic writing as the topic of our 2009 conference we
hope to both interrogate logics of the written within psychoanalytic
theory, and to ask what a psychoanalytic approach to the written allows us
to say about philosophical, literary, religious, scientific, and legal
practices of writing.

We encourage submissions that engage any aspect of psychoanalysis and the
written. Possible questions may include: How and why do literature and
poetry figure as psychoanalytically privileged sites of sublimation? What
is the relationship between the case study and literary production? How
does the historical emergence of new forms of writingâ€"in philosophy, logic,
or linguisticsâ€"allow us to articulate the drive? How can we situate
Lacanian psychoanalysis with respect to structuralist and/or
poststructuralist conceptions of language? What sacrifices does writing
entail? If writing involves a loss of imaginary jouissance, how do other
discourses encounter, inscribe, suspend, or eclipse this loss? Given the
thoroughgoing psychoanalytic critique of religion, why is it often to
mystical writings that Lacan and others turn in hopes of mapping or
indicating the other jouissance? What is the relationship of ethics to
writing? If psychoanalysis proposes an ethics of writing, how are
different discourses challenged by this ethics? Can the task of making the
unwritten, fantasmatically shrouded law visible and readable define an
ethics of psychoanalysis? What is the relationship between writing and the
pass? What does the written transmit? How does psychoanalysis support or
undermine claims to sexually different styles or economies of writing? How
might a psychoanalytic approach to the relationship between speech and
writing illuminate or complicate queer theory and our understanding of "the
love that dare not speak its name"?

The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 15, 2009. Abstracts
should not exceed 250 words; presenters will have 25 minutes each for their
presentations with ample time for discussion afterward. Please send
abstracts to the Psychoanalysis Reading Group at Notices
of acceptance will be sent by February 31, 2009.

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Tue Jan 06 2009 - 10:44:12 EST