Liebert Award Lecture • On Dangerous Ground: Freud’s Visual Cultures of the Unconscious

April 2, 2019 8pm

Diane O’Donoghue • Presenter

Freud’s collection of “antiquities” is well known, but is most commonly imagined as shown in the famous photographs, taken in May 1938, by Edmund Engelman. But this was the collection in literally its last moments in Vienna, just prior to Freud’s forced exile to London. As the over 2000 objects that filled his working spaces, we know this assemblage at its end far better than its start. Based on a chapter in Professor O’Donoghue’s recently published book on the role of art and archaeology in the shaping of Freud’s theories of the unconscious, this presentation will investigate when, and perhaps why, this collection began, relating it to a moment of tumult in Freud’s work – in the autumn of 1897 – when fragments of history took a highly consequential turn for him, and for the construction of psychoanalysis to follow.

Learning Objectives:

1. Discuss the role of material objects, particularly those of the distant past, on Freud’s emerging theories of an unconscious.

2. Assess the impact of external phenomena, such objects and archaeological sites, on the early language of psychoanalysis.

3. Critique the ideas of value, worth, and selectivity in Freud’s early shaping of psychical functioning.

The Pleasure of Technology

June 5, 2018  8:00 pm

Presenter: Ben Fong, PhD
Discussant: Kevin Kelly, MD

Dr. Fong examines the connections between drive gratification and the contemporary technological lure.  From a Lacanian-Lowaldian-Marcusian perspective, he explores the attraction we all have towards technological manipulations of our lives.

Benjamin Y. Fong is a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. He earned his PhD in Religion from Columbia University, where he was also an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. His interests lie at the intersections of philosophy, psychology, critical social theory, and the study of religion. His first book, Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism, which seeks to strengthen the psychoanalytic dimension of first generation critical theory in the hopes of rejuvenating its conception of subjection in late capitalism, was published by Columbia University Press.