Psychoanalysis and the Posthuman
The University of Nottingham
The field of the ‘posthuman’ emerged in the mid-1990s as a major area of academic enquiry. It examines the extent to which our understanding of ‘the human’ is rapidly being redefined by advances within cybernetics, informatics, artificial intelligence and genetics. Posthumanists argue that these technoscientific developments have a transformative impact on both the concept and the experience of subjectivity.
Given this core concern with evolving forms of contemporary subjectivity, it is remarkable that posthumanism’s engagement with psychoanalysis has thus far been so limited. Even critical discourses on the posthuman that are guarded about the emancipatory promise of technology have claimed that psychoanalytic models of subjectivity have been rendered obsolete by recent ‘informational’ theories of the human. Yet this lack of engagement applies in the other direction too. Psychoanalytic cultural theorists such as Slavoj ˇi˛ek have tended to find only alarming ethical consequences in the cultural shift that new technologies represent towards an elision of sexual difference and a ‘flattening out’ of the other. Rarely has the engagement with psychoanalysis by the posthuman taken full account of the evolution in psychoanalytic thought since Lacan’s early writings, and conversely, psychoanalysis has seldom engaged with the notion of the posthuman as a means of contextualizing its own clinical work in the contemporary setting.
The aim of Psychoanalysis and the Posthuman is therefore to address this lack of engagement by facilitating a sustained encounter between critical posthumanism and psychoanalysis. All are very welcome to what promises to be an extremely stimulating event! Unwaged pay only £20, waged £30.
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