Psychoanalysis in Our Time 2015 – Psychoanalysis and Science (Tallinn University, Estonia: 13th-15th March 2015)

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CFP: Psychoanalysis in Our Time 2015 – Psychoanalysis and Science
Tallinn University, Estonia – 13th-15th March 2015

"In addition to Freud's three impossible positions – government, education, and psychoanalysis – I would add a fourth, science. But the experts are not expert enough to know that their position is untenable."
–Jacques Lacan

Following the success of our inaugural sessions in Copenhagen and Sauðárkrókur last year, the Psychoanalysis in Our Time research circle is very pleased to announce the call for papers for our next event, which will take place in Tallinn, Estonia from 13th to 15th March 2015. The topic for this symposium will be "Psychoanalysis and Science".

The connection between psychoanalysis and social sciences is now well established, with the founding of Psychosocial Studies departments, for example, across the UK and prominent scholars such as Stephen Frosh writing about the importance of understanding social phenomena from a psychoanalytic perspective. But what of its connection with natural science? Even though Freud never saw psychoanalysis as a natural science, he never gave up the idea that his theories could or would constitute a science. Lacan, on the one hand, attempted to find a way of describing psychoanalytical encounters through mathematical equations but, on the other, was deeply sceptical of "knowledge".

This has not prevented a large group of scholars and clinicians, such as Mark Solms and Aikaterini Fotopoulou, from bringing together psychoanalysis and neuroscience in order to work towards the development of a new platform under the name of "neuropsychoanalysis". Can this still indeed be considered psychoanalysis? Is it productive to forge links between psychoanalysis and neuroscience? Is psychoanalysis still relevant in this context? Or what could psychoanalysis itself tell us about the philosophy of science? We are interested in how these questions play out not only between the couch and the lab, but also in wider intellectual contexts, from the philosophical investigations of Catherine Malabou and Adrian Johnston to the debate between cognitive and psychoanalytic approaches in Film Studies. And we also ask: how do these ideas find cultural expression or influence works of art, film, television, or literature?

We welcome submissions for 20 minute papers from artists, academics and clinicians, and would invite different approaches to this subject from, for example, neuroscientists alongside historians, film and literature scholars and natural scientists with an interest in psychoanalysis.

Possible topics could include (but are not limited to):

The epistemological status of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis, the Science Wars, and scientism
Psychoanalysis and neuroscience / neuropsychoanalysis
The place and history of the case study
Freud's scientific training/background
Metapsychology and formalisation
Psychoanalysis as "the science of desire"
Psychoanalysis and/as social science
Cultural representations of psychoanalysis vis-à-vis science
Psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and the figure of the "shrink" on screen and page
Psychoanalytic and cognitive approaches to culture (e.g. cinema spectatorship)

Please send an abstract (max 300 words) and a short biographical statement to Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska ( or Dr Ben Tyrer ( The registration fee will be £125 (£65 for full time students) to include two dinners, all tea, coffee and biscuits, and light lunch.

The deadline for submission is 15th November 2014.

Psychoanalysis in Our Time ( is an international research initiative with the Nordic Summer University and the Nordic Council of Ministers (, with the aim of providing psychoanalytic interrogation of social, cultural and scientific issues. It is a trans-disciplinary network that aims to create a space for a dialogue between clinicians, academics and practitioners of psychoanalysis as well as scholars in other fields, including film, post-colonial, and literary studies in order to investigate and elaborate ways in which psychoanalytic thinking can assist in understanding the events and developments of our times. Our ambition is to be rigorous and outrageous, scholarly and radical.

The Spring 2015 session is being held in partnership with Tallinn University, Estonia.