English 3250: Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory: Lacan, Sexuation, Perversion Spring 2007 W 4:30-7 309 Classroom South Dr.

Calvin Thomas Office: GCB 907 Office Hours: M 1-4, W 1-3, and by appointment Phone: 404-654-6157 e-mail: cthomas@gsu.edu
From the point of view of psychoanalysis the exclusive sexual interest felt by men for women is a problem that needs elucidating and not a self-evident fact. — Sigmund Freud There is no such thing as a sexual relation. —Jacques Lacan We can begin to appreciate just how strange, how distant from the normalizing perspective on love and sex, psychoanalytic theory really is. In its most fundamental formulations psychoanalysis is a queer theory. —Tim Dean

Course Description What the course is about: In this course we will examine psychoanalytic (i.e., Freudian and Lacanian) theories of sexual structuration (or “sexuation”), sexual normalization, and sexual deviation (“perversion” or “resistance to regimes of the normal”). Why the course is important: The value of psychoanalysis—both as a clinical practice and as a mode of socio-cultural critique—is that it does not assume any of the above phenomena as natural givens or self-evident “facts” but rather sees each as a problem in need of interpretation, elucidation, and explanation. Of course, the explanations that psychoanalysis offers for the occurrence of “normal” heterosexual masculinity and femininity—and for “polymorphously perverse” deviations therefrom—are highly debatable, as is the question of whether psychoanalytic theory challenges or reinforces an oppressive normativity. But again, the inestimable value of psychoanalysis for critique is that it holds normativity to account and attempts to account for sexuation rather accepting its formations as natural (much less supernatural or divinely ordained) facts. How we will proceed: After reviewing some major statements by Freud, such as the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, we will proceed to some “classical” Lacanian essays (“The Mirror Stage,” “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious,” “The Signification of the Phallus”) before moving on to the center-piece of the course, which will be our reading of Lacan’s 20th Seminar, called Encore: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge. Most of what we will read thereafter is commentary on the 20th Seminar by a host of Lacanian explicators, such as Slavoj Zizek, Bruce Fink, Joan Copjec, Charles Shepherdson, Renata Salecl, Jacques-Alain Miller, Colette Soler, Tim Dean, and others. Why you should be warned: Please be advised at the outset that none of what we’re going to read

“Knowledge and Jouissance” Slavoj Zizek. which we will discuss. from Read My Desire: “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason” Jacques-Alain Miller. so much so that one commentator. or Reason since Freud. An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis Jacques Lacan.” “Aggressiveness in Psychoanalysis.” “Philosophy of Language in Jacques Lacan. “Is Anatomy Destiny?: Freud and Biological Determinism” Anika Lemaire. the Limits of Love and Knowledge Charles Shepherdson.” “The Role of the Oedipus in Accession to the Symbolic” Jacques Lacan.this semester is easy. goes so far as to speak of the profound “malaise” that is often produced by reading Lacan and of the unsettling sense of being non-identical with oneself that the reader of Lacan can experience.” “The Signification of the Phallus” Suzanne Barnard. Culture. from Ecrits: “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience. Book XX. in her book Reading Lacan. from Jacques Lacan: “Synthesis of Lacanian Thought. For now let’s just say that if he bad news about Lacan is that his thought is so difficult that it requires a specialized critical dictionary just to make rudimentary sense of his willfully opaque (perhaps perverse) language. Sexuation Course Reader. Lacan is notoriously difficult. “On Perversion” . Jane Gallop. Texts: Dylan Evans. 6 Decatur Street Contents of Course Reader: Sigmund Freud.” “Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes. ed. for Lacan’s obstruse and challenging prose style.” “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious.” “Fetishism. Introduction to Reading Seminar XX Bruce Fink. “The Real of Sexual Difference” Bruce Fink. available at the Printshop. from The Lacanian Subject: “There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship” Joan Copjec. There are a number of reasons. The Seminar. Vital Signs: Nature. “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.” “On Femininity.” “Female Sexuality” Toril Moi. Psychoanalysis Renata Salecl.. the good news is that such a dictionary exists and that I have made it available to you.” “‘A Child is Being Beaten’: A Contribution to the Study of the Origin of the Sexual Perversions. Encore: On Feminine Sexuality.

or if you vanish after the break. Writing: There will be a take-home exam after the third week of class (at the conclusion of the Freud section) and after the sixth week (at the conclusion of the pre-Seminar XX Lacan section). If you think I’m kidding about this.Judith Feher-Gurewich. beyond that. and participation (20%). “A Lacanian Approach to the Logic of Perversion” Deborah Luepnitz. you will be charged with a half-cut (and. Turn off all cell-phones and related technology.” “Lacan Meets Queer Theory” Jan Jagodzinksi. mastication ceases). “be prepared to discuss” means you have a question or two to ask—and I imagine that if you have in fact read the material you will have nothing but questions). In the context of our once-a-week schedule. the research paper (40%). “Lacan and Queer Theory. two instances of significant lateness or post-break departure add up to one full cut). Etiquette: No food or snacks: consume before class or during break (when class resumes. Final grades will be based upon the examinations (20% each). obviously. You are allowed ONE full-cut. “Beyond the Phallus: Lacan and Feminism” Tim Dean. “attendance” means you are here at 4:30 and you stay until 7:00. Schedule: . A 10-12 page research paper is due at 4:30 one week after the last day of class. notebooks. “Exploring the Riddle of Sex/Gender: Lacan’s Formulae of Sexuation in Queer Contexts” Requirements: Attendance and participation: you are expected to attend each and every class meeting and to read and be prepared to discuss the assigned material for that class (at the minimum. just try me. every unexcused full-cut from class will lower your final grade one letter. No open lap-tops. If you miss a significant portion of the first part of class. etc.

VII-XI Week Nine: Bruce Fink.. Seminar XX. “Fetishism: The Symbolic.” “Female Sexuality” Toril Moi. Seminar XX.” “Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes. “Is Anatomy Destiny?: Freud and Biological Determinism” Week Four: Anika Lemaire. “The Real of Sexual Difference” Bruce Fink. Genevieve Morel. Colette Soler. “The Signification of the Phallus” Jacques Lacan and Vladimir Granoff. and the Real” (handout) Week Seven: Suzanne Barnard.. I-VI Week Eight: Jacques Lacan. “Knowledge and Jouissance” Slavoj Zizek. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience. the Imaginary. ed. Sexuation: . from The Lacanian Subject: “There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship” Joan Copjec. and Darian Leader Week Eleven: From Renata Salecl.” “Fetishism. from Read My Desire: “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason” Week Ten: From Renata Salecl. “On Femininity. or Reason since Freud” Week Six: Jacques Lacan.” “Aggressiveness in Psychoanalysis” “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious.Week One: Introduction to Psychoanalysis Week Two: Freud. from Jacques Lacan: “Synthesis of Lacanian Thought. Introduction to Reading Seminar XX Jacques Lacan.” “Philosophy of Language in Jacques Lacan.” “The Role of the Oedipus in Accession to the Symbolic” Week Five: Jacques Lacan.” “‘A Child is Being Beaten’: A Contribution to the Study of the Origin of the Sexual Perversions” Week Three: Freud. ed. “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Sexuation: Introduction and essays by Jacques-Alain Miller.

Alain Badiou. Culture. Afterword Week Fourteen: Jacques-Alain Miller. “On Perversion” Judith Feher-Gurewich. and Renata Salecl Week Twelve: Charles Shepherdson. Psychoanalysis. Introduction. “Beyond the Phallus: Lacan and Feminism” Week Fifteen: Tim Dean. Culture. 4-5. Psychoanalysis. “Lacan and Queer Theory.1-3 Week Thirteen: Charles Shepherdson. Vital Signs: Nature. “A Lacanian Approach to the Logic of Perversion” Deborah Luepnitz.Essays by Paul Verhaeghe. “Exploring the Riddle of Sex/Gender: Lacan’s Formulae of Sexuation in Queer Contexts” . Vital Signs: Nature.” “Lacan Meets Queer Theory” Jan Jagodzinksi. Alenka Zupancic.

” “Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes.Reader: Sigmund Freud.” “‘A Child is Being Beaten’: A .” “Fetishism. “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.

“A Lacanian Approach to the Logic of Perversion” Deborah Luepnitz. “Beyond the Phallus: Lacan and Feminism” Tim Dean. from Read My Desire: “Sex and the Euthanasia of Reason” Judith Feher-Gurewich. “Is Anatomy Destiny?: Freud and Biological Determinism” Anika Lemaire. and the Real” Suzanne Barnard.Contribution to the Study of the Origin of the Sexual Perversions.” “Aggressiveness in Psychoanalysis. from Jacques Lacan: “Synthesis of Lacanian Thought. “Knowledge and Jouissance” Slavoj Zizek. “Lacan and Queer Theory.” “On Femininity.” “Philosophy of Language in Jacques Lacan. from The Lacanian Subject: “There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship” Joan Copjec.” “Female Sexuality” Toril Moi. “Exploring the Riddle of Sex/Gender: Lacan’s Formulae of Sexuation in Queer Contexts” . “The Real of Sexual Difference” Bruce Fink.” “The Instance of the Letter in the Unconscious.” “The Role of the Oedipus in Accession to the Symbolic” Jacques Lacan. Introduction to Reading Seminar XX Bruce Fink.” “The Signification of the Phallus” Jacques Lacan and Vladimir Granoff.” “Lacan Meets Queer Theory” Jan Jagodzinksi. or Reason since Freud. the Imaginary. “Fetishism: The Symbolic. from Ecrits: “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.

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