Polis and Psyche Lecture Series

January 02, 2020

Although psychoanalysis began as a method of treatment, Freud wanted to commend it to the general interest “on account of the truths it contains, on account of the information it gives us about what concerns human beings most of all––their own nature––and on account of the connections it discloses between the most different of their activities.”

Psychoanalysis then, as a unique theoretical approach, allows us to think through problems of the individual in a way that attends to forces beyond rational consciousness and inform perspectives that look at unconscious processes lying at the heart of the many humanitarian, geopolitical, environmental, and socio-economical crises contemporary societies face today. Such crises have historically included and demanded creative and radical forms of therapeutic response as well as  aesthetic, literary and cultural inquiry at  the level of theory. One such response engages psychoanalytic insights to illuminate the complexity of these phenomena by bringing into public discussion concepts such as the unconscious, narcissism, trauma, memory, desire, drive, fantasy, representation, identification, power, etc. Because its fundamental lesson, as Nietzsche suggested in his canny anticipation of psychoanalysis, is that we are “strangers to ourselves,” psychoanalysis can provide a vital ethical response to a world increasingly darkened by the clouds of xenophobia, racism, and exclusion, borders and walls.

In this lecture series, a partnership between the SFU's Institute for the Humanities and the Lacan Salon, we want to reflect, through the lenses of diverse psychoanalytic schools: Freudian, Lacanian, Ferenczian, Object Relations, etc., on current issues that gather around the theme of “The Meaning of Refuge.”