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Return to Lacan

ENGL 790.402

Jacques Lacan has gained international visibility in the fifties when he attacked the Americanization of psychoanalysis, an “ego-psychology” geared to social adaptation that forgot the meaning of Freud’s texts. His battle-cry of a “return to Freud” entailed an original development of psychoanalysis understood as a more rigorous scientific discourse that was brought in close contact with philosophy, literature and politics. But if Lacan borrowed from disciplines such as linguistics, anthropology, semiotics, logic and mathematics, his point of departure remained the “talking cure” promulgated by Freud. The ambition of this seminar is to provide a survey of Lacan’s ideas by focusing on his readings. First, we will concentrate on his original interpretation of Freud’s main texts, especially when Freud deals with Doctor Schreber, Dora, Hamlet and the Young Homosexual Woman. We will then will work by couples, surveying Lacan’s links with Alexandre Kojève and Hegel, Lévi-Strauss, with Althusser, with with Merleau-Ponty, with Adorno and Horkheimer, with Derrida, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, with Levinas, with Badiou, with Zizek, and finally with Judith Butler. The texts we will use are the published translations of Lacan’s seminars (I, II, III, VII, XI, XVII, and XX) as well as the new translation of Ecrits (2007). We will also use on-line resources.