credit: LaConference

LaConference 2018

April 07, 2018

Vancouver “Lacan and the Environment”

Date: April 6 & 7, 2018
Location: Western Front 303 E. 8th Ave
Keynote speaker: Todd McGowan
Opening remarks: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun

Lacan Salon is very pleased to announce LaConference 2018, the fifth conference on Lacanian theory held here since 2011. LaConference 2018 will take place at the Western Front on April 6 & 7, taking as its theme Lacan and the Environment, the latter concept meant in two interlocking ways. On the one hand, the socio-cultural environment to which the child or subject or analysand is asked to adapt. On the other hand, the environment conceived of as our planet's ecology which, perhaps, we have forced to adapt to us.

LaConference 2018 will begin with a roundtable discussion, "What does the environment want?" on the Friday night (April 6), followed by four panels on the Saturday (April 7), culminating with a keynote address by Todd McGowan. Professor of English at the University of Vermont, McGowan has published extensively (including 8 sole authored books) on political subjectivity, popular culture, and consumer society using a Lacanian psychoanalytic lens. His recent book, Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (2016, Columbia University Press), explores how capitalism mimics the structure of our desire while hiding the trauma that the system inflicts upon it. Also of note is Only a Joke Can Save Us(Northwestern UP, 2017) in which, ranging from Kierkegaard to Charlie Chaplin, McGowan argues that the social order positions us between lack and excess, with comedy resulting from a momentary collision between these conditions (see the riff on the overpriced coffee scene in The Lego Movie). Please visit the Lacan Salon website at for the full schedule.

Prof. McGowan will also conduct a seminar on theory ("The Absent Universal: From the Master Signifier to the Missing Signifier") on Friday, April 6, from 1-3 pm at SFU Woodwards (room 2205). This seminar is open to graduate students and faculty;

Contact person: Clint Burnham ( for a copy of the reading and to register, a space is limited.

LaConference 2018 is presented by Lacan Salon; organizing committee: Clint Burnham, Paul Kingsbury.  Many thanks to Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology; Faculty of Environment; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Department of Geography; Department of English for their generous support, to the Western Front for hosting, and to the SFU Woodwards VanCity Office for Community Engagement. LaConference 2018 takes place on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.