Announcing New Beyond the Pleasure Principle – Reading Series

This coming Thursday I will be starting a reading series on Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). I will host this series via Zoom on Thursday nights starting September 24th. We will read the text closely and reference Lacan's work throughout the series. On our first night, we will consider the famous "fort-da" game that …

The Subject Supposed to Rebel

I'm pleased to share an article I wrote based on a talk I offered to the Lacanian Forum of Washington, DC earlier this month. The editors at Everyday Analysis have provided some really useful edits to this piece. You can read "The Subject Supposed to Rebel" here.

Upcoming Talk: On the Virtue of Modesty in Lacan

Lacan has remarked that modesty is the most important virtue. Lacan thinks modesty as an affect that keeps one’s desire or symptom protected behind a veil. Yet when the veil is lifted through the gaze of the other, the subject undergoes shame. Where there is shame, the extimate part of one’s being, precisely their desire is exposed to the other. Shame thus awakens the subject to being riveted to oneself, to a foreign self inside oneself.

Whither the critique of political economy in post-Marxism?

In my dissertation, I made an argument that the decisionism of Badiou, Zizek, Laclau and other so-called 'post-Marxist' theorists is derived from an intra-theoretical debate amongst left-Heideggerians, specifically against the pervasive authenticity politics and existentialist politics of the time. I argue that Lacan's 'ontology of lack' was the alternative formula that enabled these thinkers to …

Something Bigger: Lady Bird and the Divinity of the Name

“a something, a greater than which cannot be conceived.” St. Anselm Amidst the fanfare and excitement over Lady Bird, a lingering debate about the film is whether the family of Lady Bird really "lived in poverty." Some people want to suggest that her position was really just lower middle class striving, a more ordinary American family struggling …

Affects and Lacanian Theology

One of the more admirable aspects of Colette Soler's work is her allegiance to theological concepts, which we should remember, Lacan himself took very seriously. In Lacanian Affects: The Function of Affect in Lacan's Thought, theological and philosophical concepts such as sin, guilt, God, and the ethics of virtue--all of which were crucial to Lacan's understanding of …

Identification in Lacanian Psychoanalysis – Audio Lecture

As part of the clinical Wednesday series with the DC Lacanian Forum, I gave my third presentation to the group, this time on the theme of identification. I begin with an analysis of identification in Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego and look at Borch-Jacobsen's critique of Freud in his controversial The …

Identification and emancipation: unary trait or unary trace?

Political philosophy has considered its project of thinking to be ‘emancipatory’ since the enlightenment. Emancipation is a term that refers to the idea of a total freedom from ignorance, from animality, or from a state of ‘self-imposed tutelage’ – as Kant would say in What is Enlightenment. Today, the question of emancipation has taken new …

The Queen Mob’s Teahouse

My first post as a blogger for the new webzine Queen Mob's Teahouse is here. I wrote about the affect of shame in Lacan. This is a fun and creative collective for poets and writers of all different stripes. The brainchild of Berfrois, another website I have written for over the years.

Mourning, Psychoanalysis, and the Death of Adulthood

The widely read essay by A.O. Scott, "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture" argues pretty convincingly that the changing heroes and anti-heroes of contemporary television provide a glimpse into a larger shift in contemporary life, a shift that now means adulthood as we have come to know it, is conceptually untenable. The essay received a critique for …

From Shame to Love: The Politics of Hamlet. Interview with Simon Critchley

I recently interviewed the philosopher Simon Critchely on his new book, (co-written with his wife and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster) entitled, The Hamlet Doctrine: Knowing Too Much, Doing Nothing for the online magazine Berfrois. There's a lot this book opens up not only for Shakespeare studies, but also for psychoanalysis. The idea that mosts interests me in …

The Hysteric-Obsessional Dialectic in True Detective

"This world is a veil. And the face you wear is not your own." Preacher Joe TheriotIn one of the most telling lines in True Detective, Cohle says to Hart, "you're obsessed, just not with your work." Not only is this deeply funny for its brutal honesty and for the quick-witted retort of Cohle, it …

The Evolution of Lacan’s the Name-of-the-Father

The Name of the Father is an incredibly vast and important concept in Lacan's teaching. Due to the difficulty and the immensity of the concept, I have my work cut out for me, so I have decided to approach the concept from two angles: the way that the Name-of-the-Father intersects with the three-part Oedipal dialectic developed in Seminar V, and how the transition from the Name to the Names applies to clinical settings.

Enjoying What We Don’t Have: Interview with Philosopher Todd McGowan

Film theorist and philosopher Todd McGowan recently spoke with me about his new book, Enjoying What We Don’t Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis. For however much we throw the word "accessible" around in academic discussions as the strength of a philosophy book, McGowan's accessibility really is quite stunning. In one chapter he compared the …

Captured in the Image: Cynicism and Culture Jamming

We used to read the news like a Dadaist — piecing together the seemingly random series of signifiers to reveal an underlying or deeper truth. In this disarray and slanted piecing together of phrases, certain slips make themselves apparent like a series of cracks in the Real, bringing into relief the symptoms behind the news …

On Shame, or the Proof of the Other’s Inexistence

In analysis, one of the most frustrating questions an analyst can ask is: "Yes, I know that's what you are saying, but is it really that way, or is what you are saying more of a wish?"  Or, I know that you think you are over this, or that you have identified the way this …

In Defense of Theory

In a blog that I deeply respect, Marginal Utility, Rob Horning writes of Theory Cults and particularly about how the "Cult of Lacan" functioned in his comparitive-literature seminars during graduate school.  Horning dismisses Lacan as a religio-based prophet who was ultimately a narcissistic intellectual incapable of real emotional relations.  As a result, he claims that Lacan over-compensated …