Revolt or Resignation?: Between Lacanian Political Theory and Affect Theory
A talk by Dr. Mari Ruti, Distinguished Professor of Critical Theory and of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto
Wednesday, April 11
This presentation explores the divergent attitudes that Lacanaian political theorists--particularly Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, Paul Eisenstein, and Todd McGowan--and affect theorists such as Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Sianne Ngai, and Kathleen Steward bring to questions of political restistance and agency. Where Lacanian political theorists speak a revolutionary language of acts, events, and ruptures that are designed to alter the course of history on the grand scale, affect theorists are primarily interested in the tenous ways in which deprivileged subjects negotiate unequal, damaging, and humilating social worlds. For this reason, affect theorists speak a resigned language of compromised agency, the kind of agency that is characterized more by dreams of escape than by heoric acts of rebellion. Ruti presents a critical account of both perspectives, expressing sympathy for the affect theoretical focus on the attempts of precarious subjects to bear lives that often feel unbearable at the same time as she acknowledges the political significance of transformative acts, events, and ruptures.
About the Program
Emory University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Studies that is designed to give students a thorough knowledge of psychoanalysis across a range of disciplines. The Psychoanalytic Studies Program (PSP) deals with the theory, application, and history of psychoanalytic thought and practice. It is not a clinical training program.
The program draws faculty from Emory College, the Law School, and the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. In addition, faculty affiliated with the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute participate in the program, linking the academy with the psychiatric and psychoanalytic communities.
PSP students are provided a great deal of flexibility in designing courses of study to suit their unique needs and interests. Because psychoanalytic thought is not bound to one discipline, students are encouraged to cross disciplinary and intellectual boundaries.