Sigmund Freud: Everything you always wanted to know about but were afraid to ask

The PACT Division of the EGS is very pleased to announce that the “Leading Thinkers”
series will continue with a course on Sigmund Freud led by Professor Elizabeth Rottenberg .

Dates: February 18, 2023–April 22, 2023
6:30–8:30pm (CET) / 12:30–2:30pm (EST)

All of us, even those of us who are convinced of the revolutionary force of psychoanalysis,
live as if we believed in the sovereignty of the (conscious) ego. That is, we proceed as if
the psychoanalytic revolution had never taken place. And yet the “logic of the
unconscious,” as it has been called, throws a wrench into everything that has traditionally
defined our discourses on autonomy, intentionality, responsibility, etc. How, then, are we to
articulate psychoanalysis with questions of law, ethics, politics? How are we to take into
account— seriously, effectively, practically—something that remains, as Jacques Derrida
has put it, “a nearly unimaginable earthquake”? This “Leading Thinkers” course will be an
introduction to the life and work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). We will begin at the very
beginning with “Some Points for a Comparative Study of Organic and Hysterical Motor
Paralyses” (1893) and Studies on Hysteria (1893-1895) before proceeding to the three
books considered to be “canonical” with regard to the unconscious—The Interpretation of
Dreams (1900), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901), and Jokes and Their
Relation to the Unconscious (1905); these, we will read alongside Freud’s more
popularizing Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916-1917 [1915-1917]). We will
then focus on particular moments and texts that lead Freud beyond his own comfort zone,
as it were: his visit to America, the country he loved to hate, in 1909 (Five Lectures on
Psychoanalysis); his discovery of dreams —namely, traumatic dreams—that explode
psychoanalysis’s theory of dreams as wish- fulfillment (Beyond the Pleasure Principle
[1920]); his speculative, socio-political analyses (Group Psychology [1921] and Civilization
and Its Discontents [1930]) that push psychoanalysis to think the limits of the individual
and the family. Finally, we will end this course by reconsidering the transformative potential
of the practice of psychoanalysis.

To receive more information and to apply, please contact