Hosted by Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University. Co-sponsored by National Science Council and the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.
Affect, Politics, Psychoanalysis is the second conference in a series, the first of which took place in Taiwan in 2008 under the title “Lacan in Context: Psychoanalysis in East Asia.” Information on this inaugural conference is available at: http://tuche.fll.ntu.edu.tw/lacan/index.html . One of the purposes of both conferences is to develop international collaboration among scholars in the United States, Australia, and East Asia who work on psychoanalysis and contemporary cultural theory. We also seek to promote among English-speaking readers a better understanding of the intellectual contributions to psychoanalysis and cultural theory that are currently being made by scholars in East Asia.
Presenters will be asked to present papers approximately 20 to30 minutes long based on their current research, as it relates to the conference themes. Keynote speeches are expected to be 50-60 minutes long, with around 20-30 minutes for questions and discussions. The conference will take place at National Taiwan University, one of the premier universities in Asia, and will be structured sequentially as a series of presentations (no simultaneous papers), in order to maximize interaction among participants and support future collaboration.
This conference addresses the conceptual challenges that arise when psychoanalysis is deployed in contexts – both geopolitical and conceptual – that extend or reconfigure its current intellectual framework. A great deal of fruitful work has recently explored the relation of psychoanalysis to contemporary French philosophy, its increasingly important and fruitful intersection with post-colonial theory, and its contribution to other areas of cultural theory that are not directly or exclusively psychoanalytic, such as political theory, esthetics, literature, film, gender studies, etc. Psychoanalytic theory has had a significant impact on emerging areas such as biopolitics, affect theory, new media, questions of transnational identity, race and ethnicity; productive engagements have also developed between psychoanalysis and the work of thinkers such as Agamben, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Nancy and others. The conference seeks to explore the intersection of psychoanalysis with these broader debates, focusing on the topics of affect and politics.
In conjunction with these “conceptual” intersections, the conference also addresses the question of the encounter of psychoanalysis with the varied cultural systems of East Asia, which developed institutional, social and intellectual practices that are very different from what one finds in Freud’s Vienna. East Asia itself includes a variety of distinct national and intellectual traditions, all of which differ from the framework of Freud’s thought – including a radically different account of the body, a very different tradition of medical knowledge, a Buddhist and Taoist religious horizon that is irreducible to the three Western forms of monotheism, an ethical framework that does not correspond to the (largely Kantian) horizon of Freud’s thought, a linguistic context that is not only distinct from the West’s, but also non-alphabetic, and – with all this – a conception of subjectivity that does not correspond to the framework of 19th and 20th – century European thought. While the countries of East Asia may be said to exhibit some distinct national traditions, these countries have also profoundly influenced each other, through a unique and complex history of trade, linguistic influence, colonization, migration, and so on, which – together with long-standing and complex relations with the West – makes the question of “cultural identity” and “subjectivity” in East Asia especially challenging. How is the conceptual framework of psychoanalysis altered or extended by its encounter with the conceptual traditions and geopolitical experience of East Asia? How does psychoanalytic theory contribute to the conceptual intersection of “affect and politics” in the context of East Asia?
Kiarina Kordela is professor of German and director of the Critical Theory Program at Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Writing and Society Research Center, University of Western Sydney, Australia. She publishes on topics such as literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, critical, political, and film theory, intellectual history, and biopolitics. Kordela is the author of $urplus: Spinoza, Lacan (SUNY Press, 2007), Being, Time, Bios: Capitalism and Ontology (SUNY Press, forthcoming), and co-editor of Freedom and Confinement in Modernity: Kafka’s Cages (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011). Her articles have been published in several anthologies—most recently in Psychoanalyzing Cinema: A Productive Encounter with Lacan, Deleuze, and Žižek, Spinoza Now, and European Film Theory—and in several journals such as Angelaki, Cultural Critique, Differences, Parallax, Political Theory, Radical Musicology, Rethinking Marxism, and Umbr(a), as well as in Japanese and Turkish translations. The provisional title of her next book monograph is “Ontosemantics,” and her next co-edited project is “Spinoza’s Authority.”
Professor Lambert is internationally renowned for his scholarly writings on critical theory and film, the contemporary university, Baroque and Neo-Baroque cultural history, and especially for his work on the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida. Professor Lambert’s published works cover a wide range of disciplines and topics, including: the history of literary criticism and theory, contemporary continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and issues in the general Humanities, and contemporary academic institutions. To date he has published more than eight books and critical editions, over fifty articles in peer reviewed journals in several different fields, encyclopedias, textbooks and collected volumes.
He currently holds a research appointment as Dean's Professor of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, where he also serves as Founding Director of The SU Humanities Center and Principal Investigator of the Central New York Humanities Corridor, a collaborative research network between Syracuse University, Cornell University, and University of Rochester funded by the Mellon Foundation. He has served as a principal investigator of several other major multi-institutional research and interdisciplinary initiatives in addition to the Humanities Corridor Project. He is also an elected member of the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.
Kazushige Shingu is a psychiatrist, and professor at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University. He is the author of many books and papers on clinical psychiatry and psychoanalysis, including Being Irrational: Lacan, the Objet a and the Golden Mean (translated and edited by Michael Radich, Gakuju Shoin, 2004), “Freud, Lacan and Japan” (The Letter: Lacanian Perspectives on Psychoanalysis, Summer 2005：48-62), “Japanese myth, Buddhist legend, and the structural analysis of clinical dreams in relation to the mourning process” (The Letter: Lacanian Perspectives on Psychoanalysis, Summer 2006：93-113), “Oedipus and the Other in Japan” (Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 7:277-285，2009 http://www.discourseunit.com/arcp/7.htm)．“The creation of the Other World: From dream to reality” (The Journal of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, No. 21: 15-28, 2011).
Fu-jen Chen is Professor and Chair in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature at National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan, where he teaches American literature and psychoanalysis.
He is the author of The Traumatic Thing (2005) and The Adoption Triad Reconsidered (2010). He has published articles on ethnic American writers in journals such as Critique, Women’s Studies, Journal of the Southwest, North Dakota Quarterly, CLCWeb, Children’s Literature in Education, The Comparatist, and The International Fiction Review. He has also contributed to the Greenwood Press sourcebooks including Asian American Novelists, Asian American Short Story Writers, Encyclopedia of Ethnic American Literature, and Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography.
His two most recent publications—"Asian Transnational Adoption: Subject and Trauma in Life Narratives of Korean Adoptees and Gish Jen's The Love Wife" and “Picture Books on Asian Transnational/-Racial Adoption”—are respectively published in ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature (2012) and Canadian Review of American Studies (2013).
Shu-ching Chen is Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Vice Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. She received her PhD in English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her research interests include ethnic literature, gender studies, Taiwan documentaries, Asian Anglo-phone literature, Asian American literature in the age of globalization. Her recent publication includes articles published on EurAmerica, Chung-Wei Literary Quarterly, Concentric, Tamkang Review, and a monograph on Asian American Literature and globalization: Asian American Literature in an Age of Asian Transnationalism. She is currently working on a project concerning affect, historiography and imperial intimacy in Filipino American Literature.
Joyce C.H. Liu is Professor of Social Research and Cultural Studies at National Chiao Tung University, Director of the International Institute of Cultural Studies of the University System of Taiwan, Chief Editor of Router: Journal of Cultural Studies. She was the founding chair of the Graduate Program of Comparative Literature at Fu Jen University (since 1994), and the Graduate Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, Chiao Tung University (since 2012). Her research covers East-Asian modernity, psychoanalysis and contemporary critical thoughts, especially on issues related to politic-ethics-aesthetics, and the question of the visual culture. Her publication includes The Topology of Psyche: The Post-1895 Reconfiguration of Ethics (Taipei: Flaneur, 2011), The Perverted Heart: The Psychic Forms of Modernity (Maitian: 2004), Orphan, Goddess, and the Writing of the Negative: The Performance of Our Symptoms (Lixu: 2000), Eight Essays on Literature and the Other Arts: Intertextuality, Counterpoint and Cultural Interpretation (San Ming: 1994).
Opening keynote by Gregg Lambert: Charles Shepherdson, SUNY Albany
Session 1: Lacan and Asian Traditions: Chi-Hui Liu 劉紀蕙, National Chiao Tung University
Session 2: The Effects of Affect: Gregg Lambert, Syracuse University
Session 3: Between Psychoanalysis and Literature: Fu-Jen Chen 陳福仁, National Sun Yat-sen University
Keynote speech by A. Kiarina Kordela: Charles Shepherdson, SUNY Albany
Session 4: Biopolitics and Psychoanalysis: Fu-Jen Chen 陳福仁, National Sun Yat-sen University
Session 5: Psychoanalysis in a Cross-cultural Context: Shu-ching Chen 陳淑卿, National Chung Hsing University
Session 6: Ethics, Politics, Psychoanalysis: Hsien-hao Liao 廖咸浩, National Taiwan University
Plenary Talk by Naoki Sakai: Hsien-hao Liao 廖咸浩, National Taiwan University
Session 7: Moving Images, Taiwan: Kien Ket Lim 林建國, National Chiao Tung University
Session 8: On the (In)human: Charles Shepherdson, SUNY Albany
Keynote Speech by Kazushige Shingu: Chao-yang Liao 廖朝陽, National Taiwan University
Closing Plenary Discussion: Charles Shepherdson, Naoki Sakai, and all three keynote speakers
Yingshan Chen is currently Ph.D candidate in the Department of Foreign Language and Literature, National TaiwanUniversity, and now working on her dissertation project roughly about the philosophical link among Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze in terms of ontology and immanence. Her research interests include Anglo-American novels, psychoanalysis and philosophy. She also gave conference presentations entitled as “From Logic of Hegelian Dialectic to Logic of Spinozan Expressionism: A Deleuzian Plane of Immanence.” at 5th Deleuze Studies Conference 2012, New Orleans, the U.S. 25-27 June, 2012.“Dialectic in Process/Progress: Plato, Kant and Hegel.” at The Society for European Philosophy and the Forum for European Philosophy Joint Conference 2012. Manchester University, theU.K. 5-7 Sept. 2012.“The Paradox of Ontological Immanence: Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze.” at Taiwan Philosophical Association Annual Conference 2012. National Taiwan University, Taipei. 19-21 Oct. 2012.“An Object Invested with Desire: Spectare, Speculation and Gaze in Henry James’s The Golden Bowl.” at ROC English and American Literature Association Annual Conference. Fu-Jen University, Taipei. 23 Nov. 2012.“The Deleuzian Immanent Power of Becoming: Assemblage, Bodies without Organs and Life.” at The First International Deleuze Studies in Asia Conference 2013. Tamkang University,Taipei. 31 May-2 June, 2013.
FUHITO ENDO is Professor of English at Seikei University, Tokyo. He was also a Visiting Professor at University College London. His recent publications include "The Death Drive of Revolution/Counter-Revolution" (a): the Journal of Culture and the Unconscious 8.2 (2011-12) and "Singular Universality: D. H. Lawrence and Marxism" D. H. Lawrence Studies 20.1 (2012). He has recently published a monograph-length book in Japanese, a comparative reading of psychoanalysis and British modernist literature.
Kazuyuki Hara is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo. He is the author of Lacan: A Philosophical Exodus (in Japanese, Kôdansha, Tokyo, 2002), Amour et Savoir: Etudes Lacaniennes (in French, Collection UTCP, Tokyo, 2011) as well as numerous articles and papers on philosophy and psychoanalysis in France with a particular focus on Jacques Lacan. He is also the translator of Lacan (Les Formations de l’inconscient, co-translation) and of Foucault (L’Herméneutique du sujet, co-translation). He is preparing a book-length study on the place of psychoanalysis in the history of analysis, tentatively entitled Another “Analytic Revolution”: Lacanian Psychoanalysis in the History of Analysis.
Skyler Hijazi is a PhD student in American Studies at King’s College, London. His work focuses on queer and dissident erotic subcultures online and the transnational circulation of “postproduced” popular media, with emphases on issues of neoliberalism and global capital, the co-constitution of financial and libidinal economies, and histories of gender, race, and nation. His doctoral thesis, titled Figurative Bodies, Figural Children: Erotic Economies of Queer Fanart Online, explores the representations of juvenated and “child-like” bodies in queer online fan communities, particularly the homoerotic fan art circulated in English-language anime and manga fandoms. He holds an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Arizona where he began his work on queer fan cultures with research on homoerotic fanfiction in the Harry Potter fandom.
Li-Chun Hsiao (PhD in Comparative Literature, SUNY Buffalo) is associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University. He has published articles in international journals such as Comparative Literature and Culture, M/MLA Journal, and Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, on topics ranging across postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis, the Caribbean, race, and the (in)human. Hsiao also edits, introduces, and contributes a chapter to the book “This Shipwreck of Fragments”: Historical Memory, Imaginary Identities, and Postcolonial Geography in Caribbean Culture and Literature (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2009), and has essays collected in the book Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror (Purdue UP 2010) and the forthcoming volume Comparatizing Taiwan (edited by Shu-mei Shih and Ping-hui Liao). His current research projects involve critical theory in East Asian contexts, native theory, and Taiwan’s intellectual history.
Han-yu Huang is associate professor in Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University. His research interests include biopolitics, witness literature, Žižek and political theology. He published Horror and Evil in the Name of Enjoyment with Peter Lang in 2007 and other essays on a variety of topics in some most prestigious Taiwan-based journals including Concentric (A&HCI), Chung Wai Literary Quarterly and NTU Studies in Language and Literature. He is now working on a project on the testimonies of the White Terror in Taiwan. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Youngmin Kim has been teaching 20th Irish/English/American/Canadian poetry and critical theories, including poststructualism/postmodernism, postnationalism, postcolonialism, transnationalism, and psychoanalysis at the English Department, Dongguk University. He taught Korean studies at the Department of Asian Studies of Cornell University in 1998-1999 as Visiting Professor, English Poetry at Sapporo Gakuin University in Japan and at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He wrote books and articles on Yeats, Pound, Hopkins, Irish/Canadian/English/ American poetry, Lacan, Heidegger, Postmodernism/Postsructuralism, Transnationalism, and Psychoanalysis. His recent research focuses on cultural translation and contemporary poetry. He was President of Yeats Society of Korea, of Society for Lacan and Contemporary Psychoanalysis, of ELLAK (English Language and Literature Association of Korea), and Council Member of IASIL (International Association of the Studies of Irish Literatures) and IATIS (International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies). He is currently editor-in-chief of JELL (Journal of English Language and Literature of Korea).
Hsiu-chuan Lee received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. She is currently Professor of English at National Taiwan Normal University, where she teaches American literature, women’s literature, Asian American studies, psychoanalysis and film theory. She authored Re-Siting Routes: Japanese American Travels in the Case of Cynthia Kadohata and David Mura (Taipei: Bookman, 2003), and translated Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) into Chinese (Taipei: Commercial, 2008). She publishes in both English and Chinese. Her recent English articles include “Historical Distance and Textual Intimacy: How Newness Enters Toni Morrison’s A Mercy,” Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 37.2 (2011): 135-55; The Asia-Pacific in Asian American Transmigration: Lydia Minatoya’s The Strangeness of Beauty.” Tamkang Review 42.2 (June 2012): 139-161; and “The Remains of Empire and the ‘Purloined’ Philippines: Jessica Hagedorn’s Dream Jungle,” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 45.3 (Sept. 2012): 49-64.
Hung-chiung Li is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University, Taiwan. His research interest includes contemporary literary and cultural theories, and comparative literature. In the field of theory, he has published papers on Lacanian psychoanalysis, Benjamin, biopolitics, Agamben, Badiou, Deleuze, globalization, cyberculture, etc. In the field of comparative literature, he endeavors to create dialogues between theory and Taiwan and has published paper on Taiwan’s literature, cinema, art, and socio-cultural phenomena. His most recent research is directed toward East Asian thoughts and cultures, with the aim to derive possible theoretical modes for East Asia in the contemporary age of globalization.
Chaoyang Liao received his Ph.D degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, and is currently a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University. He has done research in Buddhist thought, classical Chinese fiction, critical theory, psychoanalysis, cinema studies, and translation studies. He has also written on social and political issues as well as fiction and cinematic works from Taiwan.
Dr. Hsien-hao Sebastian Liao is Professor English and comparative literature at the Department of Foreign languages and literatures at National Taiwan University, Taiwan. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University (1988) and was post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University (1990-91), visiting professor at the University of Washington (Seattle), visiting fellow at Princeton University, Chicago University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and most recently Walter Mangold Visiting Fellow at University of Melbourne (2011). He also served as President of the Comparative Literature Association of Taiwan (ROC) (2002-04), and Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs of Taipei City Government (2003-06). His main research fields include comparative poetics, literary and cultural theories (focusing on psychoanalytical theories, Deleuze, postcolonial and transnational theories), modern American poetry, film studies, modern Taiwanese literature and culture, Red Chamber Dream studies, and cultural policy formation. His English articles have appeared in Journals such as American Journal of Semiotics, Journal of Chinese Literature and Concentric and in collected volumes published internationally, including Postmodernism and China (Duke 2000) and five others by Tokyo UP (2003), Lit Verlag (2004), Palgrave Macmillan (2010), Harrassowitz (2011), and Brill (forthcoming 2013).
Kien Ket Lim, Associate Professor at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at University of Rochester, New York. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Film Appreciation Academic Journal (FAAJ), an official journal in Chinese published by the Chinese Taipei Film Archive, and serves currently on the editorial board of Concentric (National Taiwan Normal University) and the UK-based Journal of Chinese Cinemas. His essays in English have appeared in Cultural Critique and Tamkang Review.
Liu, Yu-hsiu 劉毓秀, National Taiwan University (Taiwan)
Phallic Jouissance and the Affect
- Position and affiliation:
Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University
- Fields of publications:
creative writing (poetry and prose), psychoanalytic feminism, Scandinavian gender relations and policies
- Current research interests:
psychoanalytic theories, Scandinavian gender relations and policies.
Louis Lo is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the National Taipei University of Technology. He finished his PhD in Comparative Literature at The University of Hong Kong in 2006. He is the author of Male Jealousy: Literature and Film (Continuum, 2008) and co-author of Walking Macao, Reading the Baroque (with J. Tambling) (Hong Kong University Press, 2009). He contributes a chapter entitled ‘Dickens’ and Calvino’s Invisible Cities’ in Dickens and Italy (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) and ‘Baroque Macao: The City, History and the Dialectical Image’ in Macau – Cultural Interaction and Literary Representation(Routledge, 2013). His current project is an interdisciplinary study of the culture of revenge in literature and films.
Sheng-mei Ma is Professor of English at Michigan State University in Michigan, USA, specializing in Asian Diaspora/Asian American studies and East-West comparative studies. His six single-authored, scholarly books in English are: Alienglish: Eastern Diasporas in Anglo-American Tongues (forthcoming); Asian Diaspora and East-West Modernity (2012); Diaspora Literature and Visual Culture: Asia in Flight (2011); East-West Montage: Reflections on Asian Bodies in Diaspora (2007); The Deathly Embrace: Orientalism and Asian American Identity (2000); and Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures (1998). He co-edited and translated Chenmo de shanhen (Silent Scars: History of Sexual Slavery by the Japanese Military—A Pictorial Book, bilingual edition, 2005) as well as co-edited The City and the Ocean (2011). Sanshi zuoyou (Thirty, Left and Right) is his Chinese poetry collection (Shulin 1989). He also published numerous articles and book chapters on literature, film, and global culture. He has taught at University of Washington, Indiana University, James Madison University, Korea University (Adjunct Professor), and Providence University in Taiwan (Chair Professor).
Kaori Mori-Want received her Ph.D. in English from the StateUniversity of New York at Buffalo in 2002. She is the associate professor teaching cultural studies at Shibaura Institute of Technology, Japan. Her current research is to examine cultural, social, legal, and psychoanalytic impacts that intermarriages and children of mixed racial/ethnic heritage may generate in Japan and the United States. Her recent publications include "A Formation of Multiculturalism in Hawaii and Its Problems" in The Journal of Comparative Culture, "Emigration, Nationality, Globalization, and Mapping Japanese Identity" in Mapping the World, Culture, and Border-Crossing (ed. Steven Totosy de Zepetnek and I-Chun Wang)," and "Towards Racially Diverse Society: Overcoming Stereotypes of Racially Mixed Japanese" in Us and Them - Them and Us: Constructions of the Other in Cultural Stereotypes (ed. Anna Gonerko-Frej, Malgorzata Sokoi, Joanna Witkowska, and Uwe Zagratzki) to name a few.
Naoki Sakai teaches in the departments of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies and is a member of the graduate field of History at Cornell University. He has published in a number of languages in the fields of comparative literature, intellectual history, translation studies, the studies of racism and nationalism, and the histories of semiotic and literary multitude - speech, writing, corporeal expressions, calligraphic regimes, and phonographic traditions. He has led the project of TRACES, a multilingual series in four languages - Korean, Chinese, English, and Japanese (German, Italian, and Spanish will be added in 2008) - whose editorial office is located at Cornell, and served as its founding senior editor (1996 - 2004). In addition to TRACES, Naoki Sakai serves as a member of the following editorial boards, positions east asia cultural critique(in the United States),Post-colonial studies(in Australia), Tamkang Review(in Taiwan), International Dictionary of Intellectual History (Britain and Germany), Modern Japanese Cultural History(Japan), ASPECTS(South Korea) and Multitudes(in France).
Charles Shepherdson is Professor of English and Director of Liberal Studies at SUNY Albany. He is the author of Vital Signs: Nature, Culture, Psychoanalysis (Routledge), and Lacan and the Limits of Language (Fordham UP), and editor of Insinuations, a series at SUNY Press that publishes books at the intersection of literature, psychoanalysis and philosophy. He has held fellowships at the Pembroke Center at Brown University, the Commonwealth Center at the University of Virginia, and he was a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. From 2006-11 he was a Senior Specialist with the Fulbright Program, and he was National Science Council Visiting Professor at National Taiwan University in 2007-08.
Alison Suen received her BA at University of Northern Iowa in 2006, and her PhD at Vanderbilt University in 2012. She is currently a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University. While she wrote her dissertation on the intersection between animal philosophy and philosophy of language, her broader philosophical interests include ethics, feminist philosophy, and social political philosophy. Her paper, “From Animal Father to Animal Mother: A Freudian Account of Animal Maternal Ethics,” is forthcoming in philoSOPHIA: A Journal for Continental Feminism. She is currently working on a project on animals and sexuality.
Mirana May Szeto did her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, UCLA and is Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. She publishes in postcolonial and critical theory journals like Interventions and Concentric writes on China and Hong Kong cinema and literature, urban cultural-spatial politics, cultural policy and coloniality in journals like Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Jump Cut (forthcoming) and volumes like Hong Kong Screenscapes: From the New Wave to the Digital Frontiers (HKUP), Neoliberalism and Global Cinema: Capital, Culture, and Marxist Critique (Routledge), Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (Columbia UP), Sinophone Cinemas (Palgrave, forthcoming), Blackwell Companion to Hong Kong Cinema (forthcoming). Her current book project is entitled Decolonizing Neoliberalism: Learning from Hong Kong Cultural Movements. Currently she is P-I of HKU grant entitled “Mainlandization of Hong Kong Film Industry,” and Co-I of GRF grant entitled “The Production-Innovation Networks of Cultural & Creative Industries in Hong Kong.”
Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Chung Hsing University. Her academic research is centered on psychoanalysis, Žižek Studies, Deleuze Studies and Literary Criticism. She had edited a book-- In the Infinite Duration of Life: Childhood, Memory, Imagination. Taipei: Bookman, 2012. Her latest book, The Unconscious Maze of Love and Belief, is published by Bookman, 2013 as well. Her previous papers could be found in The International Journal of Humanities, Atiner, Tamkang Review, Chung Wai Literary Monthly, A Journal of English and American Literature and The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture. She has also published two collections of poetry,The Height of Dreams, Light and Temperature of the Sky, sponsored by National Culture and Arts Foundation and has been working on the third collection of more experimental poetry.
Chien-heng Wu received his Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature from University of California, Los Angles in 2013. His dissertation entitled, “Toward a Politics of the Common: History, Subjectivity and Emancipation,” is supervised by Dr. Kenneth Reinhard and Dr. Shu-mei Shih. His research interests include psychoanalysis, theories of decolonization, theories of the subject and Sinophone Taiwan studies. He has previously published on psychoanalysis in Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies and his most recent piece “A Tiger’s Leap into the Past: The Politics of Redemption in Wu Zhuoliu’s The Orphan of Asia” will appear in the forthcoming volume Comparatizing Taiwan edited by Shu-mei Shih and Ping-hui Liao.
Peng YI is associate professor in the Department of English, National Central University in Jhongli, Taiwan. His doctoral thesis is mainly on Edmund Spenser and theories of allegory. His recent researches focus on the connection between psychoanalysis and fin-de-siècle Chinese philosophical and political thoughts as a means to reflect on questions of tradition and modernity. He is now working on Chinese modern manuscripts and attempts to apply genetic criticism onto the manuscripts of contemporary Taiwanese writers such as Wang Wen-hsing and Zhou Mengdie.
Macalester College, USA.
Biopolitics Of Blood and Immortality: From Tribes to Commodity Fetishism
By drawing on Lacanian psychoanalysis, as well as Spinoza, Marx, Lévi-Strauss, Bataille, and Balibar, this talk advances a psychoanalytically informed theory of biopolitics. This new theory argues that biopolitical mechanisms are organized around the transhistorical prohibition of self-referentiality—a prohibition that constitutes the very precondition for any society to function. The above entails that biopolitics is both a transhistorical and a historical phenomenon, and the essay proceeds to trace the concrete historical manifestations of this transhistorical prohibition from archaic societies through the state and sovereignty to capitalism and its distinct phases. After showing that the primary referent of the prohibition of self-referentiality is blood—as in the incest prohibition of archaic societies, that is, the interdiction of same-blood marriage—the essay follows the subsequent historical “transubstantiations” of blood through theocracy and sovereignty, to state and market capitalism, revealing that the main object of biopolitics today is not biological bodies and the preservation of populations, as Foucault has argued, but immortality.
Syracuse University, USA.
Strangers, Analysts, and Literary Critics: On the “Unhappy” Marriage of Psychoanalysis and Ethnology
In the closing pages of The Order of Things (1966), Michel Foucault first defines the post-Enlightenment critical project of the human sciences, saying that if the critical function of reason is to be carried forward at all, then it will only be accomplished by the merging of two of its recent “bastard,” or “counter-sciences”: psychoanalysis and ethnology (including cultural anthropology). Writing in 1966, Foucault could not foresee the later institutional confrontation and isolation of these two fields, but instead frames their promise in the terms of a theoretico-historical wager that the emergence of psychoanalysis and ethnology might signal an epistemological break within the general constellation of the human sciences. As he writes:
We can understand why ethnology and psychoanalysis should have been constituted in a fundamental confrontation: since Totem and Taboo, the establishment of a common field for these two, the possibility of a discourse that could move from one to the other without discontinuity, the double articulation of the history of individuals upon the unconscious of culture, and the historicity of those cultures upon the unconscious of individuals, has opened up, without a doubt, the most general problems that can be posed with regard to man. (387)In view of the ideological stakes of this wager, it is ironic that we have only recently witnessed the convergence of psychoanalysis and ethnology in literary criticism. It is this convergence—although, for the most part, left undefined and undeveloped as such by anthropologists, analysts, and critics themselves—that can account for the transformation of ethnographic and aesthetic notions at the base of literary narratives as an indirect expression of the unconscious of culture. Nevertheless, something of a paradigmatic shift in the understanding of the critical function of literature has resulted from this convergence, and this is particularly true if we understand this shift as the basis for understanding the emergence of conflicting definitions of “the colonizing ratio” that frames much of the discussion of literature in universities today. In his own work, however, Foucault situates the manifestation of this ratio not at the origin of the historical unfolding of the “colonizing situation,” but rather at the point of its reception—in Europe as well as in the former colonies. As I will attempt to demonstrate, following the work of contemporary literary critic Gabriele Schwab, this reception takes on its proper dimensions only when it is conceived in analogy to the presence that the analyst animates within the psychoanalytic function of transference. The positive terms of this experience unfold, in other words, not from a point that belongs neither to the history of a culture or the individual, but rather from a present that does not yet belong to that history, a present that emerges on the side of a transitional subject—both collective and individual—who first constructs this unconscious relation through the act of reading.
Affect, Symbol and Structure
Affect often transforms itself into its opposite in psychoanalytic and psychopathological experiences. In Freud’s dream, affect behaves like Proteus. In schizophrenic ambivalence, affect collides with the symbolic, thus causing collapse of moral conduct of the patient. On the other hand, in many quotidian cases, affect is believed to lead us to the most intimate core of our being. It can make us feel that we are at home or inside ourselves. Nevertheless, we are here reminded that home is one of the key concepts of psychoanalysis, in that “the uncanny” (das Unheimliche) is explained by way of ambivalence toward home (Heim). If “the uncanny” lies in the kernel of affect, any affect may be estimated by the distance from home, rather than by intimacy with ourselves. As an ambivalent experience by nature, is affect a repetition of home, or difference from home? We can see from this question that the way out from the ambivalent impasse of affect is structure, that is, the topological relationship between what one is and what one is not. Lacan called this topology “extimité”, an external core of our being. If our affective life is connected to our “home”, affect must be coming from a certain outside. This is where the private internal experience of affect becomes to be endowed with a political power. We have a tendency to let ourselves subjected to a political agency that causes certain affect in us, especially the one that is associated with home. With the help of psychoanalytic concepts, we will be able to elucidate some mechanisms of political exploitation of human affect, and find a structural breaking through of the impasse.
The rise of affect theory, known as the study of the capacity of body to affect or to be affected, reexamines the fallacy of idealism since Plato to Descartes. While Plato’s Dialogue as the genesis of dialectic explicates the formation of knowledge system through the mediation of logos (namely, words, reason and ratio) and Cartesian Cogito privileges the faculty of mind over the capacity of body, the suppression of body implies first, the supremacy of idealist metaphysics over materialist physics and second, the formation of epistemology, as the theory of knowledge, necessarily clings to its basis of the faculty of mind and idealism. Thus, critiquing Plato’s theory of Forms and Cartesian dualist idealism, Deleuze traces back to Spinoza’s affect theory of mode as physical exposition on body and mind-body coordinated parallelism in which the affective power degrees of body corresponds to the thinking power degrees of mind in positive proportion. Thus, affect theory synonymous with the physical exposition on body explains the ongoing formation of body in terms of the composition of particles within and the compatible body encounters without. As the idea of the body constitutes the affect theory, the ultimate inquiry of what the body of an idea is examines how the movement and aggregate of cerebral particles determine the speed of thought, if possible, in the category of neuroscience, and the understanding of Lacanian sense of “this passion of the signifier,” (Ecrits 274) namely, how words express affective power in dialogical transference between the analyst and the analyzed. Thus, while Lacanian proposition that “the unconscious is structured like a language” (234) explicates how the unconscious dimension of the psyche as the slumber state of mind beneath the Freudian iceberg of consciousness reveals itself through the sign system of language, the line from Cartesian thinking subject to Lacanian speaking subject implies a close link between subject and logos (though Lacanian psychoanalysis synthesizes Freudian psychology and Saussurean structuralism). As Lacanian speaking subject seeks its formation of self-identity through the access into the desire of the Other, this speaking subject paradoxically reveals self-splitting in the symbolic castration of language in the Name of the Father. Thus, Lacanian desire of the Other mediated by language is a structure of lack in antithesis to Spinoza’s physical exposition on body driven by the natural law of conatus, the intrinsic striving power of self-preservation. This paper aims to examine how the self-Other relation is understood through the ontological difference between Lacanian scheme of subject and object dialectical dialogue and Spinozan scheme of substance-mode or mind-body relation for the understanding of two respective theories of relation in terms of dialogue and encounter (Zizek, Organs Without Bodies ix) and politics of identity.
Key Words: Spinoza, Lacan, Deleuze, subject, mind-body parallelism, affect, politics of identity
Although Raymond Williams’s direct mentions of psychoanalysis are not so frequent, some of his texts do indeed attempt to engage with a set of political potentialities of Freudian psychological discourses. I will try to develop this thread in Williams’s work to explore the possibility of much stronger connections between Williams’s cultural materialism and Freudian psychoanalysis. Williams’s concept of the ‘residual’ which ‘has been effectively formed in the past, but is still active in the cultural process’, shares some similarities with Freud’s notion of ‘affect’, which I suggest has ‘also been formed in the past, but is still active in the psychic process’. The homologous relationships between patterns in Williams’s thought and psychoanalytic theory will be discussed in order to reevaluate these connections in the context of the politics/aesthetics of Modernism, especially concerning that of revolution and/or counter-revolution.
The psychoanalytical approach to affect and especially to anxiety implies its topological articulation. In his “Inhibitions, Symptoms, Anxiety” Freud understands anxiety in terms of “separation”, and this presupposes a certain redefinition of the concept of space, for this separation, privation of phallus or loss of someone loved and longed for, doesn’t necessarily takes place in space in its ordinary sense, but it is lived subjectively as “danger”. The “space” in question is no more the philosophical or epistemological one, which sets a transcendental framework of our cognition along with time, nor a topographical description of psychic apparatus working within us, but rather “spacing” resulting from a certain closure, which psychoanalytical theory tries to articulate in diverse manners, in contrast with philosophy which prefers to talk about the “openness” of Being. In this paper, starting from a question about the nature of our understanding of affect through psychoanalytical theory, we would like to examine two series of its psychoanalytical and namely Lacanian articulation. In the first and theoretical series, the recursive structure of language Lacan elaborated as “signifying chain” is destined to define a closed area of subjective being and its “outside”. In the second and literary series, we will see how his discussions on tragedy follow as an extension of this articulation of closure, articulating it in terms of a particular sort of deadlock and tentatives of breakthrough. We will conclude this paper by discussing the political and other implication of this closure underlying the psychoanalytical conception of affect.
What might it mean, in the domain of mass culture texts, to return desire to a scene with a child—or a drawn “child-like” body—at its center? What might we learn of economies, both financial and libidinal, if we play with the notion of situating das Ding in the mythic body of the child?
Starting from the supposition that economies of all sorts—representational, libidinal, sentimental, and financial—must be understood in concert with each other, this paper attends to the ways sensations move between viewer/consumer and commodity when the commodity aestheticizes perpetually juvenated bodies on display at their limit. In particular, it considers the body in Japanese shounen anime/manga—a genre of sequential art and animation that features young protagonists in narratives of the fantastic, the dystopian, and the post-apocalyptic—and the homoerotic (yaoi) postproduction of these texts by fans in transnational online subcultures. By tracing how desire crosses and re-crosses the span between the diagetic textual universe and the extradiagetic world in which the text moves as commodity, the paper explores how tales of sublimation in the lives of characters might become an instance of the sublime for readers.
Mapping one such pathway of desire between queer subtext and reader, the paper crosses between homoerotic fanart postproductions and the popular manga series D. Gray-man—a story of interminable global holy war in which the adolescent protagonists are conscripted soldiers of the Roman Catholic Church, one of whom possesses the quasi-supernatural ability “shouka” (Japanese for sublimate). The retroactively told tale of this character’s youth, in which his infantile sexual researches find their outcome in a substitutive nonsexual aim that bars him forever from his place in a heteronormative erotic economy, dramatizes the queerly valued and paradoxically laudable implications of Freud’s narrative of sublimation—an outcome which he tellingly pronounced, in his analysis of Leonardo Da Vinci, to be the “rarest and most perfect” response to strenuous sexual repression. Freud’s story of Leonardo’s sublimation, a story dramatizing the child’s past as explanation for how desire comes to flow toward an aim that is both queer and (ostensibly) nonsexual, is a story that valorizes sublimation for the way it sets its subject apart from the normative erotic economy.
For many of the fan readers who find their desire set in motion by D. Gray-man’s narrative, it is precisely a queer subtext to do with the diegetic process of sublimation that becomes sublime extradiegetically. In a sense akin to Lacan’s analysis of the poetics of courtly love, a certain untraversable barrier that surrounds and isolates the child who sublimates his desire is what works to elevate him to the level of das Ding. This paper thus suggests that fans’ postproduced homoerotic art, like the juvenated anime body which inspires it, can illuminate the extent to which, in the transnational flows of mass cultural commodities, we might read das Ding as situated in fantasy representations of the child and the child-like to a far greater degree than we are commonly given to recognize.
Keywords: Sublimation, anime, manga, yaoi, economies, art, fanart, subtext, queer, child, sublime
My point of departure is that the ostensibly divergent philosophical underpinnings and frameworks behind psychoanalysis and Agamben’s work nonetheless can have somewhat surprising relevance to each other when examined in terms of topological formulation and their respective argumentative procedures of paradox and aporia. Such relevance, together with the political significance of Agamben’s preoccupations with language, is brought into light in Mladen Dolar’s brilliant reading and formulation of Agemben’s writings on bare life, as Dolar grafts the topology of bare life onto the Lacanian schematizations of extimacy and the voice. Drawing on Dollar’s extensive and insightful uncovering of both the psychoanalytic and political significance in Agamben’s conception of bare life, I would add that the striking resemblance extends to Agamben’s own treatment of the voice, exploring the analogy between Agamben’s notions of language and its limits as prerequisite for immeasurable potentialities on the one hand, and the Lacanian conception of the real as “teeming with emptiness” or as a “swarming void.” In terms of Agamben’s distinction between people and People, the voice of the People is neither a genuine expression of the “ordinary people” nor merely an imaginary construct, since the People, as a collective, are always already extimate to the myriad of groups constituting it. For the concept of people is, as Agamben contends, “what cannot be included in the whole of which it is a part as well as what cannot belong to the whole in which it is always already included.” If what undergirds such conception of people/People is “the fundamental biopolitical facture,” the voice of the People is real—in the Lacanian sense—when it emerges at the topological point that is at once radically outside and penetratingly internal, as that which is invoked to foreground its constitutive exclusion and inherent fissure.
It is by far a commonplace that biopolitics from an Agambenian perspective reigns over life at the threshold or the zone of indistinction and profanes many traditionally sanctified distinctions: life and death, human and nonhuman, animate and inanimate, etc. However, we are yet to explore how psychoanalysis may contribute to our rethinking or, hopefully, critiquing of such an “undead” biopolitical condition. My research project attempts to tackle with the possibility of this intervention. First of all, I will examine how psychoanalysis never falls short of the avatars of the undead in question---drive, anxiety, objet a, jouissance, the Neighbor, for example---and life conceptualized through them is densely biopolitical: the subject emerges exactly in the cut wielded by the law, while the Real is never grasped as any self-sufficient whole or thing in-itself. Then, in light of Žižek’s elucidation, I will apply Lacan’s “University discourse” to disentangle the complication of bureaucratic knowledge, surplus-enjoyment and contemporary uncertain, risky, anxiety-provoking capitalist- biopolitical conditions. The last part brings Žižek and Agamben into a contrasting focus regarding Saint Paul’s vocation to look into the undead as the zero degree of the liberation from biopolitical domination. What I aim at is not so much any survival kit for contemporary biopolitics as some psychoanalytically-informed politico-theological views on radical politics.
Key Words: anxiety, bare life, biopolitics, death drive, jouissance, undead, University discourse
According to Martin Heidgger, "rupture" means both "that which tears" (fission) and "the fissure" that it opens up. It is one of the modalities of the "ontological difference." The term is first introduced in On the Way to Language, and signifies the difference, the separation which at the same time is a "gathering middle" in whose intimacy the bearing of things and the granting of the gift of the world pervade one another. The fission of the difference expropriates (or makes things proper) the world in doing what it is supposed to do, that is, to grant things. The "ontological difference" describes the relation between thinking and poetizing as the fission that rips them open and assigns them to be near to each other, reminding us of Jacques Derridean "differánce." The fission which tears open constitutes the unity of the essence of language, which is also the primary sketch or outline (a "cleft" or "crack") that results from the tearing. In "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1935), Heidegger uses the word to characterize the strife between world and earth. The fissure draws together world and earth which simultaneously turn against each other into the source of their unity. Rupture ("Riss") is this drawing together into a unity of "Aufriss"(tear up), "Grundriss" (tear off), "Durchriss" (tear through), and "Umriss" (tear around) (Poetry, Language, Thought, 63-64). The purpose of this presentation is to go into the particular of each poetic thinker in relation to the universal as well as how they struggle to grapple the problematic of the schism of poetry and philosophy in terms of border imagination.
This paper proposes to read Lacan side by side with Toni Morrison. More specifically, it intends to tease from the linguistic focus of the Lacanian psychoanalysis a discursive model that foregrounds the importance of the turning of tropes in enacting the unconscious, and puts this model in dialogue with Morrison’s narrative reconstruction of American racial history, which, as the paper argues, hinges not as much on a “return” of the repressed pasts as on a “turning” of historical temporalities. A project as such does not attempt to apply psychoanalytic findings or teachings to understanding Morrison’s texts; rather, it seeks a paradigm of thinking about time and historicity through an anatomy of psychoanalysis, in particular through the praxis of psychoanalysis as an extraverted and interminable “talking cure” that calls forth linguistic exchange and rhetorical construction in confronting (lost or effaced) memories. Essential to my concern is how Lacanian psychoanalytic theories and the Morrisonian way of story-telling may enlighten and enrich each other, in that they usher history-writing into an ethical dimension of narratives and rhetorics.
First, I discuss Freud’s paper on aphasia (1891) to explicate the central position of speech disorder and linguistic apparatus in psychoanalysis. Then, I move onto Lacan’s paper on “The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud” (1957) and his seminar on “The Purloined Letter” (1956). Both articles not simply bring to the fore “letter” as the constituting materiality of human discourse but also cast “letter” as an element with energy and agency which, by driving forward the sliding of signifiers, enacts the shifting relationship between words, and thereby unfixes the past into the epistemic flow of the present and the future. Indeed, this idea of “letter” as perpetually propelling signifying formations envisages a historicity that does not hark back to an a priori point of historical origin or unconscious truth. Psychoanalytic praxis as understood here rides on rhetoric exchanges—the turn of tropes—to enact the turn of histories.
Strongly resonating with this psychoanalytic effort to trace the human unconscious into rhetoric dialogism and signifying multiplicities, Morrison de-chronologizes the historical thread with a labyrinth of times in her novels. While many studies have been done on Morrison’s restoration of the traumatic history of African Americans, little attention has been given to how Morrison’s narrative style—her conjoining of flashbacks, repetitions, projections, and re-membering—entails new historical temporalities. Instead of returning her readers to an unquestionable past, Morrison’s story-telling mostly draws on the haunting force of the past in order to drive forward the vibrations and mutations of memories and thoughts. In this part of the paper I take Morrison’s two most recent novels, A Mercy (2008) and Home (2012), as examples to explore how Morrison transforms a world of historical reality into a world of words. Through the encounter of the world and “letters” (Morrison’s term in A Mercy), American racial history may evolve into shifting networks of personal times and contingent periodization.
In “Mourning and Melancholia,” Freud formulates the process of melancholia as, first, the loss of a narcissistic object and, thereafter, the return of libido from the object back to its prototype, the ego. This explicitly implies that the melancholic loves himself from the very beginning. However, this return, which supposedly should fill the ego with psychical energy, paradoxically exhibits an ego-loss, a loss or impoverishment that empties the ego. We thus have ground to suppose that two egos are involved here, one related to the world and the other to the ego—so Freud contrasts normal mourning’s world-loss to melancholia’s ego-loss. This of course hinges on the distinction between the superego and the ego, as Freud himself had already adumbrated in “Mourning and Melancholia” and was later to elaborate in The Ego and the Id. In the former work, Freud mistakenly ruminates that, through identification, the lost object becomes the target of self-criticism; for identification should on the contrary establish the critical agency, as the latter work clarifies. This confusion complicates the picture of melancholia. Here I would like to resume Freud’s analysis by positing that melancholia is world-loss plus ego-loss, and that the former affects the ego’s object-relations whereas the latter disrupts the fundamental affective structure of the ego. Countering against Freud’s attribution of narcissistic identification to the oral drive of incorporation, I will illustrate that it is through collective eating, that is, through a reactivation or adjustment of the instinctual constitution, that the affective structure can be mended. Furthermore, I will probe into the modification of affects in the process of mourning by considering the function of the comic in tackling the distressing affect. In my analysis, I will use as my example Seven Days in Heaven (父後七日), a Taiwanese film co-directed by Yu-Lin Wang and Essay Liu. It depicts the process in which the narrator goes through her father’s death and funeral, from initial stupor through interspersed comical displacements to eventual grief outburst. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud has shown that affects can be displaced from their proper object to an unrelated substitute, and from the due time to a delayed moment. In the film, we see the appearance of these two displacements. However, these as an intrasubjective working fail to deal with the grief, in consequence of the fact that the traditional subject supposed to mourn, embodied by the professional mourner, is merely evoked but not practically enlisted in mourning. It can be effectuated by this ritualistic, exaggerated subject because, I will argue, she carries out the displacement of the ego and of the superego aggressivity.
Desire in Deleuzian philosophy tends to be ontologized into an infinitely persistent driving force of being. At the same time, of course, it always retains elements shared with a number of more “secular” understandings, such that it is always possible to compare the Deleuzian/Guattarian understanding with, or oppose it to, alternative views. Like many other concepts in this philosophy, therefore, desire can be “turned against itself.” To borrow a distinction from Lacanian theory, desire can be both pure (for itself) and impure (against itself).
When desire is further associated with production, however, this distinction tends to be occluded. When the psychoanalytic model of the theater of desire is replaced with terms based on machines and factories, to form “desiring-production,” the “pure” form of desire as unlimited source of productiveness is directly “overcoded” by its actualization in concrete production, evoking a sense of futility where each moment of (completed) production is equivalent to the ceasing of sustainable productiveness. Paradoxically, a desire that produces has spent its productiveness. A desire that can flow into production without losing itself has to be non-productive.
This paper argues for the necessity for a “practical” philosophy to account for this twofold structure of the explanatory apparatus. By referring to a similar discursive situation in a quite different context, that of Buddhist philosophy where non-productive desire is sometimes formulated as a “pure body” (qingjingshen), it hopes to shed some light on the nexus of production and desire in Lacanian theory and in Deleuzian philosophy. The pure body can perhaps be described as a form of pure desire. When it is achieved, the subject enters an “ecstatic” state, a symbolic death as in a Žižekian act, non-productive yet capable of reforming the cognitive world of the subject.
Sinthome is the concept that the later Lacan postulated for re-conceptualizing the subject in relation to his jouissance and to the larger picture of the symbolic. Being a “sign” rather than a signifier, the sinthome produces meaning in the form of an enigma. Only as enigma can this joui-sens in turn produce endless other meanings. Thus, characterizing the sinthome, a signifier permeated with jouissance, as being the “meaning of meaning” (Thurston) reveals its major function as both binding jouissance and opening up the ossified Symbolic. The sinthome portrayed as a saint that “makes a litter of the letter” and puts the whole symbolic order (or knowledge) into question aptly brings to mind the Taoist adept, who has developed the ability to “you”, which means both “to roam” and “to revel (in)”. In “roam-reveling,” the Taoist adept re-joins by stripping her- or himself of all knowledge the One or the Tao, which is unnamable and from which the world was born and is constantly re-born, and thereby transforms the whole world. As the Tao permeates the world of the myriad things, so the real grounds the symbolic. What is at stake in both systems of thought is that moment of liminality, the moment of “subjective destitution” resultant from roam-reveling in/by means of the sinthome, when “the new” can be produced.
Diverse interpretations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet have taken place most acrimoniously between the psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic communities. Within psychoanalysis itself, the readings proceed largely in two separate trajectories: clinical and metapyschological. When Freud came to diagnose “Hamlet the hysteric” (his wordings), he had the clinical picture of hysteria of his days in mind; Lacan’s 1959 lecture on Hamlet weighs more on the character’s metapsychological aspect, seeking his own theoretical gain in the name of “learning” from the play. All subsequent Lacanian readings have largely followed the same pattern. The Shakespeare scholarship that borrows psychoanalysis does not seem to detect this minute, but critical, distinction between Freud and Lacan, for lack of sufficient psychoanalytic knowledge to pass judgments. Due also to this lack, most readings of Hamlet that seek to criticize psychoanalysis (from the feminist camp in particular) tends to misfire. It is not until 2001 do we begin to see a better grip of the psychoanalytic paradigm to read Hamlet in a productive manner.
This project fights then on two fronts. On the one hand, a drastic rework is launched to streamline all readings of Hamlet ranging from Freud to Jones to Lacan. This is done by employing Lacan’s theory of the hysteric’s discourse (not his often-cited 1959 lecture) to look at Hamlet as a hysteric text, through which we trace back to Freud’s original insight about “Hamlet the hysteric.” And a hysteric has many faces: he or she is always incoherent, smart, manipulative, cruel, hateful of women (even if she may be a woman), as well as sensitive to others’ desire. All these traits have been picked up here and there by many a Shakespeare scholar, to the extent that these traits are, to psychoanalysis, merely puzzle pieces for forming a coherent whole. That Hamlet is highly intellectual (as according to Harold Bloom) does not therefore conflict with Freud’s diagnosis that he is a hysteric. If so, the impossibility for Hamlet to be a Man (i.e., being a child to his mother and father, being confused by gender in his misconception of woman) must come into view in such a hysteric framework, so to see Bloom’s extolment of Hamlet as a perfect Man as unnecessary. Thus comes the second front: this is how diverse interpretations of Hamlet—as distant as Bloom from Freud—can be looked at, as this project seeks to prove, as one selfsame comment on one selfsame character. By doing so, this project seeks a closure to the as-yet open-ended rift between psychoanalytic and anti-psychoanalytic readings of Hamlet.
Keywords: Freud, Hamlet, hysteria, psychoanalysis, Shakespeare, subjectivity.
Lacan’s criticism of what he calls “phallic jouissance” can be seen to be based on the following claim, “A woman can but be excluded by the nature of things, which is the nature of words” (SXX 73). The deciphering of this claim is the key to the interpretation of his Seminar XX, which is a matter of “Encore” since, as Lacan intimates, here “we are in a domain where law is repetition” (112), i.e., where there is the “not-whole.” We have to follow Lacan and begin with a hard look at the “whole” in order to find a way leading to its outside, which is said to be logically an inside, namely, the not-whole, the locus of feminine jouissance with its strange language, called “lalangue,” and its “enigmatic affects.” As a first step in the deciphering of Lacan’s Seminar XX, efforts will be made in this paper to look back to – to use the prefix Freud himself loves to use – Freud’s Ur-texts behind Lacan’s seminar. In a word, this paper will look into how things and words are constituted, how they interact with the affect and “quota of affect,” and how all this brings about the exclusion of Woman.
An island inhabits an irony. Surrounded by the sea, it is wide open on all sides, unbounded by any immediate neighbors, free to come and go. Yet the ocean is one nearly unscalable wall, if horizontal, teasing, daring islanders to cross by seafaring or imaginary flight. In terms of the natural world, an island and the ocean mate for life; they checkmate each other. On the one hand, any circum- or trans-island (huandao) road trip draws a centripetal circle onto itself, a proverbial cocoon of sanctuary. The back-and-forth along the coastal circumference or city-hopping arc appears to testify to self-sufficiency. On the other hand, contrary to Hollywood road movies of going westward and toward freedom, the prefix of “circum” lapses into that of “circumscribe,” “circumcise” with the association of imprisonment, necessitating a straight, centrifugal flight away from the loop. Indeed, one embarks upon a pilgrimage away from home for the true, spiritual home; away from the self of here and now for an intangible, Quixotic vision; away from materiality for the transcendent voice. The voice, by definition, is ephemeral and incorporeal, the very vocalization on the cusp of fading into silence. An island’s irony can thus be grasped in body metaphors: a body produces voice, their close bond requiring that they must divorce each other. Likewise, an island like the postcolonial, millennial Taiwan produces multilingual cinema, which gravitates to moments that render tongue-tied even this voluble filmic discourse of many tongues.
Due to its postcolonial and postmodern condition, the “floating” island of Taiwan by the “grounded” continent Mainland China is multilingual with Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakanese, aboriginal languages, accented dialects, Japanese, English, and more. Deemed a renegade province by China and interdicted worldwide, Taiwan is a country that is not recognized as such by the international community, except a handful of small nations heavily financed by Taiwan, such as Tuvalu. Its political illegitimacy and dysfunctional identity strip the twenty-three million Taiwanese of their presence and voice. This collective ressentiment leads Taiwanese to imagine a way out in multilingual cinema, where flat, two-dimensional celluloid images materialize Taiwaneseness, one “fleshed out” by linguistic code-switching so sputtering and dynamic as to appear three-dimensional. Cinematic multilingualism not only embodies the island’s lived reality but also realizes the fantasy of shape-shifting and talking one’s way out of any sea-locked, China-blockaded quagmire.
This fantasy of choral transcendence culminates, ironically, in its own denial. Hence, the forked-tongued Taiwan cinema repeatedly, compulsively launches a quest beyond multilinguality in intense cinematic moments, as if to transport the protagonists across the high seas, outside of any national jurisdiction or cultural border. These flights of imagination are buoyed up by trilling music on the soundtrack, the equivalent to an aria’s high Cs, evidenced by beach-performance climaxes in Cape No. 7 and Island Etude. The prose of film script and dialogues bursts into song and the poetry of music; even the song lyrics give way to sustained vibratos approximating the highest possible male pitch—the high Cs—before cracking, rising above the high seas before crashing. Making sense in various tongues in these films is sublimated as speaking in tongues, a possessed state of mind over and beyond the multilingual, multifaceted reality, a lull with no dialogue or human sound save theme music.
Huai-en Chen’s 2006 film Island Etude encapsulates this island paradox. The hearing-impaired, speech defective actor Ming-hsiang Tung plays Ah Ming who embarks on a seven-day bicycle tour around Taiwan’s coastlines before his college graduation, equipped with daily necessities and an out-of-tune guitar. A Baudelaire-Benjamin flaneur wannabe, Ah Ming is a representative islander seized by the frenzy of huandao (circum-island tour), whose loafing is as severely constricted as his senses are flawed. All the chance encounters along the way within earshot of the sea reveal that Ah Ming is not the only person with disabilities; every character is “impaired,” in mourning, and in search of something. After all, to be in the sound world is to be shut out and deprived of soundlessness. Unable to hear the ocean waves distinctly, unable to communicate with others effectively, Ah Ming crystallizes this irony, one that almost lies beyond words and one that is etherealized as soaring music—so close to the boundless waters yet so locked in; speeding along a circular coastal highway as if borne on sea wings yet landing at the exact place where he has started.
Island Etude comes with a plethora of documentary-style features: the protagonist nicknamed after the actor’s real name; the Chinese subtitle of danchi huandao rizhi (Journal of Biking around Taiwan); the day-to-day travelogue structure; the appearance of chance encounters with ordinary people; the feeling of “magic” out of quotidian lives; the interviews; and loose ends and messiness. Even the addition of the word “Island” to the Chinese title Liangxichu (Etude) for global distribution points to the keen awareness that Taiwan’s here and now are shared among insiders-islanders and not widely known to outsiders. Thus, it epitomizes a slew of virtual pilgrimages—feature films, documentaries, YouTube clips, photograph exhibitions, Web site blogs, tour packages—along the circumference of Taiwan. Fraught with ambiguous longings, these documentary-style pilgrimages in virtual reality and on screen from, around, to, and within the island itself pay tribute to the beloved home as a near-holy shrine. However, a pilgrimage usually entails taking leave in order to return a new man or woman. That the pilgrim never leaves this sacrè—sacred and cursed, penal—rock suggests the spinning either of a prayer wheel that lifts up to a divine being or of an exercise wheel in a small cage. This duplicity is not unique to Taiwan but to humankind in general, as the next section on “Wheel Dream” expostulates. Furthermore, these pilgrimages are only experiential for the pilgrims themselves; they exist as virtual reality or xuni shijie (“a conjured up world” in Chinese) for the public. To be conjured up suggests it is not quite real, as film audience and Web surfer imagine the pilgrimage as if it were, virtually, their reality.
With the defeat of World War II, approximately 400,000 Allied forces servicemen, mainly American servicemen came to Japan with the mission of democratizing the military nation. The Headquarter of the occupation army mandated "non-fraternity policy" between Japanese women and American servicemen, however, it is reported that many of them had intimate relationships.
Babysan is a cartoon book drawn by Bill Hume along with a commentary of John Annario. The cartoon is composed of three series. The first one, Babysan: A Private Look at the Japanese Occupation was published in 1951 by a Japanese publishing company. This book received popularity among American servicemen, and two books, Babysan's World (1954), When We Get Back Home (1956) were soon published after the success of the first one. These series are out of print now and have received any academic attention or analysis before. This presentation deals with the three books for the discussion.
Hume was sent by the Navy to the occupied Japan in 1951 as an officer in charge of damage control. He contributed his "Babysan" to the base newspaper "the Oppaman," of which Annario was the editor. "Babysan" is a word coined by Hume and Annario referring to Japanese women dating with American servicemen. In Babysan series, Hume and Annario mockingly portrayed Japanese women as flirtatious, whimsical, money-monger, and hyper-sexy. Objectification and eroticization of Asian women in the gaze of Western men is a recurring psychoanalytic and feminist theory's theme. We can see how Hume and Annario objectified and eroticized Japanese women in their Babysan series. For example, in When We Get Back Home, Annario writes:
When it comes time for him to pack his bags and head for the States, he finds it hard to leave the charming things he has found in Japan. It is so hard, in fact, that there are some things he just refused to leave behind (p6,emphasis added ).These sentences are followed by a Hume's cartoon in which an American serviceman holds a Japanese woman when he tries to pass a customs inspection. The cartoon says, "how much duty does he pay on something he's declared priceless?" (p7) . Hume and Annario see Japanese women as "things" and if they cannot bring them back to the US, it was easy for American servicemen to dump them. An irresponsible aftermath between Japanese women and American servicemen is actually a social problem at the time of occupation. Japanese women who had children with American servicemen were abandoned by men, and they had to raise father-less children in postwar Japan where anti-American sympathy was very strong.
Japanese women were, however, not docile and disposable "things" simply manipulated by American servicemen. I'd like to discuss how Japanese women both in Babysanas well as in reality challenged the insulting and commodifying gaze of American servicemen, and create their own agency. In doing so, I will demonstrate the applicability or non-applicability of psychoanalysis to Asian contexts.
A plurality of peoples inhabits the world, and frequently the world is presented as a common space where differences among these peoples are manifest. Each people is a group, so differences among peoples are not entirely reducible to differences among individuals. In order to distinguish the plurality of peoples from the plurality of human individuals, we often rely upon categories for collective identities such as family, kin, race, nation, ethnos, culture and civilization. Collective categories that are most powerfully operative in knowledge production today are the West and the Rest, and the civilizational identities of Europe and Asia are derivatives of this dichotomy.
What is the status of theory today? What can we imagine Asian Theory to be today? What is to be pursued in this presentation is not the character of Asia at all. On the contrary, what is at stake in this paper is our presumption that theory is something we normally expect of Europe or the West. (Europe and the West must be differentiated historically and geopolitically, but due to a lack of space in this presentation the two designations are treated almost interchangeably.)
Just like any civilization, Europe produces knowledge, but it is distinguished from other civilizations by its unique mode of operation in knowledge production. Until recently, Europe was proud of itself in its commitment to theory - or philosophy at large - in the sense that it is determined and determining itself in terms of the secondary or derivative mode of its other: it is constantly reflecting upon, criticizing and transforming its own manner of knowledge production. Europeans regarded themselves as an exceptional kind of humanity capable of theory, and they called themselves humanitas in contrast to other types of humanity, anthropos: those who produce knowledge but are incapable of reflecting upon and criticizing their modus operandi in knowledge production.
I want to introduce the concept “civilizational transference” as a regime by which to accommodate the geopolitics of Humanitas and Anthropos, a regime that allows scholars to continue to fashion themselves within the dichotomy of the West and the Rest. It is thanks to this geopolitics of knowledge that the notion of Asian theory can be considered as scandalous.
Kant’s Critique of Judgment famously elaborates the distinctive conditions of esthetic judgment, as distinction from both moral and cognitive judgment. In the process, he defines “esthetic feeling,” not as “sensation” or “sense” (sensibility or mere perception), but as a “feeling in the mind,” a sort of auto-affection in which the subjective accord (or discord) of the faculties “makes itself felt.” For Kant, this feeling opens a dimension of subjectivity that would otherwise be hidden, and that cannot be discovered by ethical or epistemological judgment. This “feeling,” which is a “feeling of pleasure” (Wohlgefallen), is further complicated by the fact that it is distinguished from sensory “feeling,” and at the same time defined as something shared, something universal, something we have in common, and, further, as something that is consequently “communicable.” In an esthetic judgment, we implicitly reach out to the other, not merely with a feeling, but with a “judgment” that we assume the other will share (“This is beautiful don’t you think?”). Esthetic “sense” is thus detached from sensibility and already configured as belonging to the horizon of language and communicability (“sense”). This argument is crucial to what Kant defines as the “sensus communis.”
In The Muses, Jean-Luc Nancy reorients esthetic experience in the direction of the “senses,” exploring the way in which the “fine arts” (in their irretrievably plural form) are all “distributed” according to sensibility (painting for the eye, music for the ear, and so on). This esthetic configuration of “sense,” however, in spite of Nancy’s insistence on the bodily dimension of esthetic experience, also remains tied to intelligibility (“sense”) and language. In the course of his exposition, Nancy cites Freud on “pleasure.” Likewise, in Freud’s account of anxiety, we find that “anxiety can only be felt by the ego,” and that this “feeling” or “affective state” cannot be reduced to sensation. Only the being who speaks can have anxiety, as Heidegger also says.
This paper will explore the ambiguity of “sense” (“sensation” and “meaning” or “communicability”), and the curious and sometimes obscure links that bind the body to language, in the horizon of esthetic “feeling.”
Keywords: Animal, Affect, Feminism, Maternal Ethics, Phobias, Paternal Law
In nearly all cases of Freud’s study of infantile zoophobias, the feared animal takes on the prohibitive role as the father-substitute. The substitutability of the feared animal for the father is crucial insofar as it anchors the familial, social, and religious structure of a patriarchal society. In light of the standard animal-father substitution, Freud’s Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood stands out as a provocative exception. In this psychoanalytic biography, Freud examines da Vinci’s fascination with the vulture—only this time the vulture is an androgynous creature that serves as a mother-substitute. This paper analyzes the significance of this deviant case of animal obsession and its ramifications for reconceiving the human-animal relationship.
In Part One of this paper I analyze the story of the androgynous vulture in detail. I show that in Freud’s corpus the animal does not necessarily take on a prohibitive role (even though Freud claims otherwise). In my analysis, I juxtapose two kinds of substitution—animal as the father and animal as the mother. Whereas in most cases of infantile zoophobia the animal (the father-substitute) is seen as a threat, da Vinci’s vulture is perceived as a caring figure—instead of threatening to devour or castrate the infant da Vinci, the vulture kisses him in his dream. As such, da Vinci’s animal is an object of fantasy rather than an object of fear.
In Part Two, I examine the ways in which infantile zoophobias inform our current discourse on animal ethics. In Freud’s account, the totemic taboos mark the beginning of the (paternal) law. The institution of law is grounded in the logic of prohibition. In light of this, the overemphasis on the legal rights of animals in the literature seems reductive and paternalistic. After all, our relationships with animals are not governed exclusively by prohibitions. Now, Freud’s vulture story seems to suggest a different way of doing animal ethics, an ethics that is grounded in compassion rather than prohibitions. Nonetheless, Freud’s analysis is predicated upon a gender stereotype whereby love is associated with the maternal. So, is it possible to learn from Freud without ossifying gender stereotypes? Relatedly, what does it mean to insert the maternal in animal ethics, when there is an age-old association of the animal and the feminine in our philosophical tradition? A reflection on these questions will help us see the limits of animal care ethics (without necessarily losing our appreciation for it). At the end, I contend that Freud’s account of the vulture-mother remains instructive insofar as it recognizes the nurturing power of animals. Just as the vulture-mother kisses the infant da Vinci in his dream, intimacy can also ground human-animal relations. And just as da Vinci sublimates his desire for his vulture-mother into artistic creativity, we can also sublimate our desire for animal flesh into intellectual inspiration. Our recognition of the animal as nurturing mother, it seems, would point to a more nurturing (and less violent) human-animal relationship.
Recently, a spectacular Chinese nationalist movement flared up in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan against territorial disputes with Japan over the Diaoyutai/Senkaku islets. A few Hong Kong pan-democrats, traditionally alienated by the local and Beijing governments, passionately jump-started this nationalist campaign, interestingly, with state assistance, while China, for the first time, allowed passionate riots against Japan to happen all over the country. In this issue, the symbolic order of democracy danced dangerously with the perverse order of nationalism.
At the same time, Beijing and Hong Kong governments tried to impose national education on Hong Kong primary and high school students to instill patriotism to the next generation. To mainstream Hong Kong, this implied the loss of freedom of thought, expression and information, i.e. the big brother watching over you. This triggered a successful high-school student driven mass resistance movement against national education. In this issue, the symbolic order of democracy in Hong Kong, backed up by the perverse order of localism and xenophobic fear, clashed with the state symbolic order of national education.
Another ongoing dispute is about elites in China and Hong Kong imposing on the populace free trade and free flow of people between China and Hong Kong. This has resulted in Hong Kong being overwhelmed by Chinese people, tourists, drivers, home buyers, shoppers, pregnant mothers, school-entry age students. They are crowding out roads, public spaces and facilities; buying out land, homes and basic supplies in grassroots shopping malls; putting stress on provision of public goods like education and health care. The same problem has happened to Chinese people across the border before, when Hong Kong desires encroached on them. Resistance against the un-regulated flow of capital and people is now taking a more localist and xenophobic turn. The competing desires and jouissances of Chinese and Hong Kong people is plaguing Hong Kong-China relations, especially on the grassroots level.
How can psychoanalytic insights in the context of xenophobia, nationalism and localism help to illustrate the unrecognized imaginaries in the political unconscious of contemporary Chinese nationalisms and localisms by looking at how certain cultural imaginaries of “nationalism” (i.e. “love of one’s nation”) and “localism” (i.e. “love of one’s community/culture/place/way of life”) are perverse? This idea has profound political implications for democracy, because in Lacanian psychoanalysis, the pervert is tortured by the inability to separate his subjectivity from the perversely demanding Other. However, democracy is supposed to protect, and allow for the equal and free manifestation of, subjectivity in the human community. What, then, can these cases teach us about the difficult relation between the dominant modern political imperatives of nationalism/localism and democracy? What kind of disavowal is central to the operational logic of nationalism/localism? Can psychoanalysis helps us understand how the perverse cultural imaginary of nationalism/localism goes against the democratic ideals of freedom, equality, community and tolerance? How can theory articulate and make knowable the plight of nationalism’s and localism’s others? How can Jacques-Alain Miller’s concept of extimacy address the relation between the nationalist/localist community and its disavowed others?
For the last five years, there arises a phenomenon in contemporary Asian films—dealing with the historical traumatic memories buried in the past. These films have the shared characteristics: restructuring the affects developed as the cultural symptoms, haunted by the Japanese specter. In Taiwan, Cape No. 7 (2008) and Seediq Bale (2011), in Hong Kong, Ip Man I (2008) and Ip Man II (2010), in China, The Flowers of War (2011), these movies are all centered on the traumatic events under the Japanese imperial expansion in Asia in the modernity. Nanking Massacre in China occurred in December 1937 lasting for six weeks with its widespread rape and looting and hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians and soldiers being murdered by the imperial Japanese army. The Flowers of War directed by Zhang Yimou reflects Japanese horrifying atrocity ravaging Nanking; Ip Man I and II directed by Wilson Yip, partially based on the life of Yip Man, the grandmaster of the martial art, recreate his image as patriotic heroism displayed in his practice of Wing Chun martial art that re-establishes a more dignified Chinese national identity under the Japanese dominance. Seediq Bale directed by Wei Te-Sheng, portrays the buried history of the Wu She event led by Mona Rudao while Japanese colonizers launched its military hegemony to discipline and of course, in a large-scale violently attack and kill the aborigines in Nan Tou county in 1930. The film recreates Mona Rudao as the heroic chief of the aborigines Seediq Bale, who retaliates and murders Japanese soldiers but eventually fails in his sublime suicide as ultimate uncompromising resistance to the power of the Japanese colonizers. If documentary photographic images uncover multi-layered hidden realities, unmask hypocrisy and function as the truth-telling evidence to preserve the past, the films could be the aesthetic presentation trying to work through the trauma, the hard kernel of the Real, to change the collective fantasy structure and finally to dissolve the cultural symptoms haunted by the specter of Japan. The cinematic presentation reinterprets the memories in a new perspective and restructure or recreate the new affects that could reshape the cultural identity. In this paper, I do not attempt to focus on the detailed discussion of the difference between the historical event and cinematic representation, but to use theories from Žižek, Badiou and Ricoeur to aim at the emphasis on the discussion of memory, history and imagination in cinematic aesthetics which creates new affects and politics to work through the cultural symptoms developed by the traumatic memories in the past.
Key words: Žižek, Ricoeur, Badiou, the Real, symptom, fantasy, memory, affects, specter, imagination
Back in 1999 when Slavoj Žižek published The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Center of Political Ontology, there is a chapter devoted to the work of Alain Badiou in which Žižek, despite an undisguised admiration for the valor of Badiou’s militant subject in fidelity to the Truth/Event, takes issue with Badiou’s criticism of psychoanalysis as providing an insufficient mode of inquiry into political practice. According to Žižek, Badiou fails to take into account the dimension of the death drive which constitutes a radical act of traversing the fantasy and as a result of which the subject undergoes a subjective destitution and accepts the void of his being and the non-existence of the Other. In Žižek’s view, the ethics and politics (basically synonymous here) of psychoanalysis consists in breaking free from the fantasmatic lure of the Other and recognizes in the subject’s destitution the space of freedom from which a new form of the Other can emerge. Years later, when confronted with a question from the audience whether he still subscribed to the critical appraisal of Badiou’s work put forth in The Ticklish Subject, Žižek reversed his position: “I told myself with doubts that this [analytic] process is political, even that any political activity correlates with it. I’ve now abandoned that. I don’t believe any more that the conclusion of psychoanalysis is...the authentic form of political engagement” (Philosophy in the Present 102-103). Žižek’s admission warrants our attention not only because it comes from someone who has done years of work to draw political implications of psychoanalysis but also because the context in which this statement is uttered suggests a degree of endorsement of Badiou’s earlier evaluation. This paper will look at Žižek’s initial debate with Badiou and identify in his problematic conflation of ubjectivization and the subjective process (as evident in the phrase “Truth/Event”) the reason why, at this stage of his thinking, politics is fundamentally a name for the evental happening and therefore transmissible to the psychoanalytic experience of subjective destitution. The paper will then proceed with Badiou’s ongoing engagement with Lacanian psychoanalysis as a mode of political inquiry, investigating issues concerning the location of the void and how the four political affects (anxiety, courage, superego and justice) are played out in the Sophoclean model upon which the ethics of psychoanalysis rests and in the Aeschylean model which Lacan only hints at in one of his seminars. In the conclusion, I will draw a distinction between ethics and politics through a dialecticization of their relation. I argue that an ethics based on the recognition of radical contingency of the Other is itself a necessary but insufficient ground for politics. In order for psychoanalysis to remain a valid partner in the conversation on politics, attention needs to be paid as much to the moment of rupture as to the question of consistency that involves not just a parallax view into the ontological incompleteness of the world but also a sustained effort to organize and elaborate its consequences.
Key Words: Žižek, Badiou, the event, theory of the subject, political affects.
One major twist of the plots of the theory of affect since Freud is the centrality of representation and the amorphous force working against the latter, be it the drives or the representability of representation itself. In this effort of re-conceptualizing affect, issues such as memory and the body also play important roles. In a way, the development of the theory of affect can be understood as the dynamics between articulation and the inexpressible, in which memory and the body, among others, impose sense or inflict non-sense. In the present paper, I want to employ this matrix of sense, non-sense and especially the super abundance of sense in the melodramatic, to look at the Taiwanese modernist writers, such as Wang Wenxing and Wang Zhenho in order both to apply recent theorizations of affect and to explore how the theories could be adapted to the memories (or even bodies) belonging not entirely to the writers themselves. In short, I will try to take a closer look at how the literary affect and affectation enact and transform the psychoanalytic matrix and how the enactment and transformation tell us about the analytic matrix itself.
A propos the literary works, I intend to examine the ways in which the modernist writers, in the face of an official language which is inadequate for historical and cultural or ideological reasons, attempt to supersede the language with the specific aim of articulating the inexpressible or the unacceptable. Whether their drama of trying to invent a (lower case, minor) language within a language not of their choice constitutes a tragic scenario or a melodrama in which the life-and-death story proves too histrionic or too true to life is something I aim to deal with. Namely, in the writers’ use of typography/calligram, the semi-system of invented punctuation, and creaolization, do we see an interplay of representability and the inchoate affected by memories and the corporeal or do we see an element of free play, or horseplay no less affected by memories and the corporeal which for a brief moment wedges itself between representation and the inchoate?
Keywords: Affect, Wang Wenxing, Wang Zhengho, the melodramatic, modernists
Break (refreshments provided)
Break (refreshments provided)
Break (refreshments provided)
(a mini-break for 5 to 10 minutes)
Break (refreshments provided)
Break (refreshments provided)
Break (refreshments provided)
Note Please note that Prof. Joan Copjec, who was initially scheduled to deliver the opening keynote, has informed us that she won’t be able to join us in June due to a very recent big change in her professional life that entails unforeseen circumstances under which long-distance travels become very difficult for her during this transitional period.
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The Culture Tirp is a great website for travelers. It not only introduces good hotels and restaurants but Taiwan festivals, galleries, museums and venues. In order to have a complete picture of Taiwan, our beautiful island, we recommend this website: The Culture Trip.
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(The above information comes from this webpage: Tirpadvisor: Taipei weather)
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