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Theorize Yourself: Autotheory and Psychoanalysis (ACLA Conference 2021)

Organization: The New School
Event: ACLA Conference 2021
Categories: Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Literary Theory, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2021-04-08 to 2021-04-11 Abstract Due: 2020-10-31

Conversations about autotheory circle around psychoanalysis as a conceptual touchstone, with the understanding that analytic theory, more than serving as one of the fields that autotheoretical writers engage, is itself a parallel discourse. “Freud’s dream” of the theory of the Oedipus complex appears, in one moment, to be an autotheory avant la lettre; in the next, it seems that the birth of psychoanalysis takes place in the sublation of Freud’s self-analysis.

This seminar will query the connection between autotheory and psychoanalysis in order to articulate their respective desires, resistances and limits. Indeed, psychoanalysis since Freud has tended to forget its own autotheoretical origins, with analytic theorists rarely interpolating themselves into their own writing. By the same token, “canonical” autotheoretical writers such as Maggie Nelson, Chris Kraus, Paul Preciado, and others, at once rely on, interrogate and resist psychoanalytic theory, as though the genre can’t do without both psychoanalysis and a resistance to it. What would it do to return both psychoanalysis and autotheory to their repressed or ambivalent origins in each other? What can psychoanalysis and autotheory do for each other?

Possible topics:

The role of the Other in self-writing
Autotheory in the Lacanian “pass”
“Structure” and the “self” in autotheory and psychoanalysis
Transference in autotheory and clinical experience
Frantz Fanon’s “autotheory”
Autotheory in afropessimist psychoanalysis

Papers can be submitted through the ACLA portal until October 31



Emma Lieber