Critical Theory from the Global South

Psychoanalysis and Politics

Fall 2019

Psychoanalysis and Politics Jokes and Civil War

The “Extimacies: critical theory from the Global South” Mellon colloquium will re-convene for its second year to explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and politics. The sessions of the colloqium will be divided into three parts: the first part will serve as an introduction to the central works of the Slovenian School of Psychoanalysis which since the 90s has formulated a unique theoretical field by bringing together post-Cartesian Philosophy [Kant and Hegel in particular], Freudian Psychoanalysis, and Marx. The aim of the first part of the Colloquium is focus on the relevance of theoretical psychoanalysis for politics today with regards to how we understand ideology and authority in particular, what does psychoanalysis offer by way of analysis to our understanding of neoliberal regimes in society today? What can psychoanalysis provide in relationship to the increase in populist politics, racism, and sexism today?

The second part of the Colloquium will center around Arabic psychoanalytic writings from the twentieth century with a particular focus on George Tarabishi, Adnan Huballah, Mustapha Safouan, and Fethi Ben Salama. The aim of this workshop is to tease out how psychoanalysis has been employed for the analysis of culture and society in the Arab world in the past century.

The Colloquium this term convenes in preparation for the topic of Jokes and Civil War. This coming theme of the Colloquium will be concerned with the Lebanese Civil War and takes its cue from experience of the research group “Jokes, War, and Genocide: emancipating modes of commemoration” led by Damir Andresavic in Bosnia ex-Yoguslavia. The aim of this part of the Colloqium is to set up a research group around jokes about the Lebanese civil war. What can comedy [as developed by Hegel, Bergson, and Freud] offer to a post-war society in which commemoration has been delimited to the slogan of “remember so as not to repeat”. What does the joke about civil war expose in its own structure as a ‘playful judgement’ ? A joke is comical because it brings together incommensurables , further it is only freedom that can produce a joke, a freedom to play with ideas. A joke brings forth something that is concealed and hidden: what is missing in commemoration that the joke refuses to repress?

Please email [email protected] if you are interested in participating in the colloquium by Septmeber 15, 2019.