- Schedule of Classes - December 10, 2018 7:14PM EST
- Course Catalog - December 10, 2018 7:15PM EST
Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2018-2019.
This seminar will study the problem of transmission in psychoanalysis, with an emphasis on its stakes for political history and theory. Freud's Moses and Monotheism addresses the unconscious and intersubjective dimensions of the act that founds a people, which "imprints" itself on the people in ways that exceed the framework of allegiance. "How," he asks of Moses, "did one single man come to stamp his people with its definite character and determine its fate for millennia to come?" This transmission is further remarkable in being non-linear, discontinuous, distorted by repression, skipping many generations and crossing continents, but imposing itself nonetheless. My hypothesis is that Freud's argument might shed light on one of the central problems of political theory: the status of what Rousseau calls "the act by which a people is a people." The act as psychoanalysis understands it is not something we can know, interpret, or anticipate, but something by which we are "struck" both psychically and in the body, where it leaves its traces or impressions. What then is involved in being "struck" by the act of another, and how might it help us to understand the stakes of the act for those who receive it? What role do the unconscious and the body play in the subjectivation of the people and the transmission of its legacy? We will read psychoanalytic texts alongside works of political theory by Rousseau, Marx, CLR James, Du Bois, Arendt, Derrida, Rancière, Zizek, and Badiou.
When Offered Spring.
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