Tutor: Keith Barrett B.A. Ph.D
There has always been a wing of feminism that looks to psychoanalysis for an elucidation of the problem of the difference between the sexes and of the problem of sexuality generally. While, at the same time, there has always been an opposing wing that roundly criticizes the theories that have been forthcoming – from male analysts such as Freud and Lacan – as ‘repressive’ towards women and deeply patriarchal. This situation has been modified, but not resolved, by the powerful intellectual contribution of female analysts such as Klein and Kristeva.
1st Session: We will review Freud’s most important writings on the difference between the sexes and engage with the criticism his ideas provoked, both from within psychoanalysis and beyond it. We will contrast Freud’s views with the very different psychoanalytic thinking of Klein and Winnicott – drawing out the social and cultural implications of both positions.
2nd Session: We will study Simone de Beauvoir’s analysis of the relationship between the sexes in ‘The Second Sex’, and note her evaluation of Freud and psychoanalysis. We will then examine the radical philosophy of sexual difference developed by Luce Irigaray, engaging with her critique of Freud and Lacan, and exploring her reconceptualization of the foundations of Western thought.
3rd Session: Continuing with the critique of Freud and Lacan, we will explore Julia Kristeva’s brilliant post-Lacanian theorizing in which the relationship between the sexes is bought into alignment with the distinction between the ‘semiotic’ and the ‘symbolic’. We will then conclude by looking at Judith Butler’s rejection of Lacan – and critique of Kristeva – and her radical new approach to the whole question of human sexuality.
10am — open
10.30am — first session
12.30pm — lunch
1.15pm — second session
3.15pm — tea break
3.30 — third session
5.30pm — finish
Tea and coffee will be available during breaks and you are welcome to bring lunch with you, which can be consumed in the lecture room.