BY WAY OF AN INTRODUCTION
A bit of Laplanche's biography followed by an all too short account of the arc of Laplanche’s thinking touching on early concepts like leaning-on but emphasizing where he ends up. That is, a simplified account of the thinking about sexuality, the unconscious and the structure of mind growing out of his General Theory of Seduction aka The Fundamental Anthropological Situation.
Saturday, October 2
Chair: Diana Moga
THE MESSAGE, THE BODY AND THE DRIVES
Laplanche distinguishes himself from other important post-Freudian authors by using Freud’s own method to critically read Freud. This is especially remarkable in what regards the notion of drive. Though Freud clearly distinguished a drive (Trieb) from an instinct (Instinkt), he nevertheless remained ambiguous about the relationship between drives and the body. Laplanche, by locating the source of the drives in the untranslatable element of the message of the other implanted in the infant’s psyche, may seem to disembody the drive. The position of the body with regard to the drive therefore needs to be clarified. It may turn out that Freud is not as “biologizing” as he may seem, and that Laplanche does not ignore the role of the body as he is sometimes accused of doing. The discussion of this issue seems to me to converge around the conception of the Sexual. This German term was adopted by Laplanche in his late writings to dispel any confusion about the meaning of the sexual drive: not whatever is sexual or sexualized, but the “infantile perverse sexual”. But how and why does the infantile perverse sexual intervene as a drive, and what does the notion of sexual drive convey that makes it problematic for the subject? It will be proposed that the meaning of “perverse” in “infantile perverse sexual” does not rest so much on deviance or aberration, as Freud thought, but on the coupling of the Sexual (the drive) with the drive for power (Bemächtigungstrieb).
Saturday, October 2
Respondent: Amber Musser
Chair: Michelle Stephens
FROM TRAUMATOPHOBIA TO TRAUMATOPHILIA: RACIALIZATION, SOVEREIGN EXPERIENCE, AND THE ACTION OF DETRANSLATION
Braiding Laplanchean metapsychology with the work of Georges Bataille, I apply critical pressure on the concept of trauma to offer a somewhat counterintuitive proposition: that we may be overly focused on what can be done about trauma (traumato-phobia), and might instead become more interested in what people do with their trauma (traumato-philia). A traumatophilic approach helps us discern that we are ontologically drawn to return to the site of the traumatic, as a way of touching our inaugural wounds. Key to the distinction between traumatophobia and traumatophilia developed in this paper is Laplanche’s distinction between implantation and intromission. Laplanchean metapsychology would have us think that it’s the latter, not the former, that is more traumatic. Applying the pressure on Laplanche that he applied to Freud, however, I argue that implantation is by far the more traumatic domain-though not in the conventional sense of trauma’s repellent effects but, primarily, in terms of its attractive affinities. Refusing the dialectic between intactness and injury, suffering and cure, implantation permits us to see how we are conjugated by and drawn to the traumatic.
Not all subjects, however, are afforded the luxury of recognizing the workings of these processes: racialization bears heavily on which version of trauma, and, thus, of the unconscious, we afford to differently racialized people. To illustrate this, I turn to the documentary The Artist and the Pervert to show how a traumatophilic lens can help reroute out thinking about how consent may be understood in the aftermath of the trauma of slavery. Through Bataille’s notions of expenditure, I will suggest that traumatophilic visitations are based on an economy of squandering, not of preservation. It is in that squandering that one may come into contact with the abrasions of one’s being, offering the possibility of enlarged psychic freedoms.
Saturday, October 2
Respondent: Tim Dean
Chair: Eng-Beng Lim
TRANSLATION OF 'PROBLÉMATIQUES V - THE TUB: TRANSCENDENCE OF THE TRANSFERENCE'
This presentation will include a reading of excerpts from the first English translation of Laplanche’s ‘Problématiques V - The Tub: Transcendence of the Transference’. This translation, currently under way by the presenter and Sophie Sauvayre is to be published by The Unconscious in Translation. Originally published in 1987 by Presses Universities de France, this volume consists of a series of lectures given at the École Normale of the Sorbonne in the Centre de Recherches en Psychanalyse et Psychopathologie in the equivalent of a doctoral program (Diplôme d’Études Approfondies). These classes stretched from November 1979 to February 1984.
The excerpts will focus on the concept of the Tub and on the necessary conditions for its construction. The Tub, as seen in the cover art for the French publication, which depicts two naked women washing and fondling each other in a wash tub), involves the construction of ‘the analytic situation’. Laplanche conceptualizes it as a bounded space, like the REM period of sleep, that allows for sexuality (in its full enlarged Freudian meaning) to emerge in the analytic situation as transference. Just like the enigmatic message, the ‘hollowed out’ transference, as he calls it, calls – indeed demands – to be translated, in the space created by neutrality’s asymptotic function in the analytic situation.
Following the reading of the excerpts, I will offer some reflections on the specific translation of this work as it applies to the concept of the Tub, thus illustrating the centrality of both the concept and praxis of translation to Laplanche’s thought, and life.
Sunday, October 3
Chair: Romy Reading
THE TRANSLATING ACTIVITY OF JEAN LAPLANCHE'S TSG: SOME THEORETICAL AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS
José Carlos Calich
This lecture will present details of the “translating activity,” central to Laplanche’s model, but scarcely discussed in the literature. It will explore themes like “why a “translating activity”; “how translating creates the psychic spaces”; “how does a translating activity create the drive”; “what is the role of repression in the translating activity”; “what is binding and unbinding, how and why does it occur”; “what are the role of affects in translating”; “what is the role of myths and symbols in the translating activity”; “what does Laplanche mean by de-translating and re-translating” and what are the clinical implications of these relevant changes in theory.
Some clinical vignettes will be presented.
Sunday, October 3
Respondent: Christine Anzieu-Premmereur
Chair: Dionne Powell
WHY LAPLANCHE MATTERS IN 2021
This lecture begins with a series of reflections on teaching psychoanalytic theory in the context of higher education in the humanities and the liberal arts, exploring how students’ reception of psychoanalytic thought has changed since the 1990s. The author suggests that Jean Laplanche provides a needed supplement to make psychoanalytic theory more persuasive in an historical moment marked by widespread political disenfranchisement—a situation which has prompted a renewed attachment to the notion of a sovereign, self-possessed, agentive subject. The other and the enigma, central in Laplanche’s thought, trouble this fiction of total self-sovereignty, but they also provide a path beyond its impasse.
Sunday, October 3
Respondent: Adrienne Harris
Chair: Annie Sansonetti