CFP: [Theory] Psychoanalysis and The Posthuman

full name / name of organization: 
Colin Wright

Major International Conference: Psychoanalysis and the Posthuman
University of Nottingham, September 8-9 2009

Since the late 1990s, the posthuman has emerged as a major area of
academic enquiry investigating the extent to which notions of ‘the human’
are being redefined by the increasing imbrication of the human with the
technological. Recent developments within cybernetics, informatics and
genetics are not simply the tools by which the human agent sustains
itself, posthumanism argues; rather, they have a transformative impact
upon both the concept and the experience of subjectivity.
        However, engagement between posthumanism and psychoanalysis has
thus far been relatively limited. Even critical discourses on the
posthuman that are guarded about the emancipatory promise of technology
have nonetheless claimed that psychoanalytic models of subjectivity have
been rendered obsolete by more recent ‘informational’ theories of the
human, and by the contemporary knowledge economy with its emphasis on
network and entropy over the linear structure of the Lacanian signifying
chain. Psychoanalytic thinkers such as Slavoj Žižek, meanwhile, have more
often found alarming ethical consequences in the cultural shift that new
technologies represent towards an elision of sexual difference and
a ‘flattening out’ of the other. Rarely has the engagement with
psychoanalysis by the posthuman taken full account of the evolution in
psychoanalytic thought since Lacan’s early writings, and psychoanalysis
has seldom engaged with the notion of the posthuman as a means to
contextualize its own work in the clinical setting.
        The purpose of this conference is to prompt a more balanced
dialogue between critical posthumanism and psychoanalysis. Participation
has already been secured for Jerry Aline Flieger and Véronique Voruz. The
organizers will be pleased to receive any proposals relating to the
intersections of psychoanalysis and the posthuman, although contributions
in any of the following areas would be particularly welcome:

• The ‘human’ of posthumanism and psychoanalysis
• Posthuman and psychoanalytic ethics
• Language, information and consciousness
• Embodiment and sexual difference
• New clinical phenomena in a ‘posthuman’ age
• Science and technology in a psychoanalytic perspective

Proposals of no more than 400 words should be sent by 27th March 2009 to
either or

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Received on Fri Feb 13 2009 - 09:56:11 EST