The Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) is holding its annual conference at the Union Theological Seminary of Columbia University. The theme of this year's conference is: PSYCHOANALYSIS AND DEMOCRACY.
The conference will take place on October 15-17, 2004, just prior to the American presidential election. The aim of the conference is to explore how psychoanalysis might help to address some of the major issues facing democratic institutions and ideals, both in the United States and at a more broadly global level.
Psychoanalytic theory, since its inception in the late nineteenth century, has aspired to possess a broadly social and cultural dimension, and to maintain a theoretical framework that would allow it to address not only our personal and subjective life, but also our broader social institutions, from the family and other intimate human relations, to larger institutions such as the nation, the army and the church. Every human social link, from the parent-child bond to the formation of larger national ideals and cultural practices, entails a complex set of identifications and ideals, which shape subjective experience in diverse and sometimes conflicting ways.
Recent debates about democracy, and current events on a global scale, call for a re-examination of the basic concepts that lie at the intersection between psychoanalysis and democracy today, from notions of citizenship, human rights, and justice, to practices of punishment, freedom, equal representation, and other political "technologies of the self." How might psychoanalysis help to address the social questions that challenge or reconfigure democratic culture today? What does psychoanalysis have to say about citizenship and subjectivity in the world today?
Possible Topics May Include:
the subject of democracy
psychoanalysis and the politics of identity
democracy and sexuality
historical transmissions of trauma
witnessing in psychoanalysis and politics
abject citizens: exiles, immigrants, prisoners, the disenfranchised
institutions of mourning in politics and psychoanalysis
citizenship and subjectivity
punishment, reparation, and historical memory, freedom of speech
biotechnology and the subject
institutions of traumatic memory: the Truth Commission, the Supreme Court, The Hague, the war memorial
perversions of democracy
psychoanalysis and human rights
formations of guilt in politics and in psychoanalysis
the nation/state as case study: Haiti, Chile, Argentina, Bosnia, Texas, California, South Africa
Panel proposals are especially welcome. Send panel proposals, and individual paper proposals, including: (1) title, (2) abstracts (not to exceed 300 words), and (3) the name and affiliation of each speaker to the address given below.
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