ACLA 2017 - Lacan in a Fictional Direction

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2017
contact email: 

Below is a proposal by Joshua Winchester and Alessia Ricciardi for a seminar on Lacan at the ACLA in 2017 (July 6th-9th, Utrecht University, the Netherlands). The deadline for abstracts is September 23rd, 2016. There is some interest already in publication post conference.

The past year marks the fiftieth anniversary not only of the publication of Jacques Lacan’s Écrits but also of the famous Johns Hopkins University conference “The Language of Criticism and the Sciences of Man.” Both text and conference are in part responsible for a shift in the humanities’ attention from the perspective that fiction is derivative to the understanding that fiction is formative of truth, knowledge, and the sciences. In his most well-known essay “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function,” Lacan inserts the mirror into Freud’s developmental theory of the child and gives a primordial form to the pronoun “I,” a form that “situates the agency known as the ego, prior to its social determination, in a fictional direction [dans une ligne de fiction] that will forever remain irreducible for any single individual.” Given the constant recourse that the humanities must make to arguments for realism and against formative fictions, how do we understand the site occupied by fiction in psychoanalysis and in the language of criticism more generally? How do we recognize the difference or indifference concerning the fiction of literature—a fiction as much inspirational as constitutive of ethical and aesthetic truths—from what Freud calls “protective fictions [Schutzdichtungen]”—those fictions necessary to avoid the “real?” And what do we do about the ideological denial of fiction’s necessity in so many contexts both within and outside of the humanities? We are looking for paper proposals that interrogate the function of fictionalization and the site occupied by fiction from a psychoanalytic perspective. Proposals about literature, psychoanalysis, and criticism more generally are all welcome.

To submit, you must register and login to the ACLA 2017 website. The link is provided here: