Jan van Eyck Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique


Friday 5 November

Seminar on Schreber, psychosis and Deleuze

animated by Ana Zerjav and Fabrice Bourlez (Ecole supérieure d'art et de design, Le Havre and Reims)

Ana Zerjav will introduce us to the Schreber case, Fabrice will present a lecture on 'Schreber in between Deleuze and Lacan: a becoming-minoritarian of psychoanalysis.'

Suggested reading:

Freud, Psychoanalytic Notes upon an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (dementia paranoides), Standard Edition vol. 12, pp. 9-82

Deleuze and Guattari, 'the molecular unconscious' in Anti-Oedipus (chapt. IV, §2)

Deleuze and Guattari, the Becoming 'plateau' in A Thousand Plateaus (chapter 10)


11.00 am - 1.00 pm


2.00 pm - 4.00 pm

Room 204


Thursday 4 November

Psychology's Problem with Reflexivity: Politzer & friends

In collaboration with Versus Lab, animated by Giuseppe Bianco

Read Politzer's Introduction to his Critique of the Foundations of Psychology here

Since the beginning of 19 th century – but, even more, starting from the promotion of psychology as an independent science around 1880 – philosophy formulated two critiques: an epistemological and a ethico-political one.

What philosophy puts into question firstly are the coherence and the originality of psychology: at once the logical consistence of its fundamental concepts and its singularity as a science which is supposed to treat an object sui generis and which is supposed to use a method sui generis. Even if these critiques take as a point of departure the state of psychological discursivities at a certain moment in time, their structure is very similar (in the French context we can mention the ones of Comte against Cousinian spiritualism, the ones of neo-kantians like Brunschvicg or Alain to associationism, the ones of Merleau-Ponty and Canguilhem against reductionist behaviourism, the ones of Foucault against psychology reduced to a simple « cultural form », etc.).

This epistemological critique very often goes along with an ethical or sociopolitical one. Philosophy denounces the way in which psychology reduces subjects to objects, with the aim of subjecting them and governing them: psychology portrays a norm as a normality, ideology as truth. We can find this attitude already in Alain – according to whom psychologists unlearn to “think standing up” [ penser débout ] –, in Politzer or in Althusser, and, in general, in all “Marxist” philosophers, who inscribe the attack against psychology in the framework of a critique of ideologies, in Lacan, who enlarges the critique of ego-psychology's normative endeavor to all psychology and, even more, in Fouacult and Canguilhem.


We can say that the whole of this critique deals with a triple lack of reflexivity of psychology. Psychology does not reflect on the epistemological status of its concepts and methods because it is not able to grasp the reflexive operation which is employed in a discourse which takes the subject of knowledge as the object of a science. This double lack of reflexivity implies a third one, a political one, which causes the transformation of the subject of science into a subject of an ideological discourse.

In this seminar I would like to underline those points of confrontation between philosophy and psychology starting from the work of the philosopher and psychologist Georges Politzer, and from his work on The critics of the fundaments of psychology . This book – which was supposed to be a part of a bigger project aiming to ground psychology as a science on the basis of behaviourism, psychoanalysis and Gestalt psychology – is a cornerstone not only in French epistemology of psychology, but in twentieth century philosophy as such. Framing his book into his context of emergency, I will try to enlighten his main articulations and concepts, stressing the Kantian heritage of his project of a “concrete psychology”.

I finally try to show the influence of this book on French Marxism, phenomenology but, most of all, on the particular interpretation of psychoanalysis. I will show how much the Lacanian interpretation of Freud – at least the one that goes from his 1932 thesis on the “Aimé case” until 1946's “Propos sur la causalité psychique” – is indebted to the Politzerian conception of psychoanalysis as the first step toward a “concrete psychology”.

11.00 am - 1.00 pm

Room 204


Say yes! to the Signifier: Badiou, Transference, and Freud's Bejahung

Lecture by James Penney (Trent University, Ontario, Canada)

2.00 - 4.00 pm

Room 204


Wednesday 30 June

An impossible encounter: Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan

In collaboration with After 1968, Versus Laboratory, and the Hegel Seminar

Beyond Deleuze and Guattari's polemics against psychoanalysis and their generalized anti-Hegelianism, the workshop controverts concepts of Deleuze and Guattari in order to reexamine the political and philosophical problematics they confronted and to test the limits of these concepts at different stages of their thought, among others: univocity of being, sense, event, desiring machine, plane of immanence, virtuality, transcendental empiricism.

The workshop will be continued in December with papers by Giuseppe Bianco, Katja Diefenbach, Mladen Dolar, Dominiek Hoens, Tzuchien Tho.

Aaron Schuster
The philosophy of schizophrenia: Deleuze contra Lacan?
Samo Tomsic
Lacan's Anti-Oedipus vs. Deleuze's Anti-Oedipus
Ana Zerjav
Oedipus and the paternal metaphor in Lacan
Vanessa Brito
Deleuze and the literature: the nothingness of the will
Oxana Timofeeva, Pietro Bianchi
Ambiguity of language and desire between Bataille and Lacan.
Anne van Leeuwen

19:30 General discussion, final comments

21:00 Dinner


Saturday 29 May


Lecture by A. Kiarina Kordela

Beginning with an ontological theory, we shall first focus on the exigency posed by Spinoza’s monistic account of substance and Marx’s analysis of the commodity and commodity fetishism for a radical reconceptualization of Being in secular capitalist modernity. This ontology soon turns out to be necessarily also a theory of time—a category which through Marx is revealed to be (not unlike Lacan’s real) a priori only insofar as it is the a posteriori effect of social reality. Along with the secular (ontological) shift from “spirit” to “value” comes the secularization of eternity, already indicated in Spinoza’s concept of sub specie aeternitatis. Next to finite linear time, eternity marks henceforth equally the sphere of economic exchange and the domain of semantic exchange (i.e., the signifier and, via Lacan, the human subject), opening up as much an ethical dimension as possibilities for biopolitical control. To approach this biopolitical exploitation of eternity, however, a theory of the body and bios (life) beyond extant theories of biopolitics is required. This we shall pursue through Marx’s conception of (and Paolo Virno’s commentary on) labor-power, and Sartre’s and Lacan’s accounts of the body and the gaze.


A. Kiarina Kordela teaches at Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, and is the author of $urplus: Spinoza, Lacan (SUNY Press, 2007), as well as several articles on subjects ranging from German literature and literary theory, to philosophy, psychoanalysis, critical theory, sexual difference, film, cultural studies, analysis of ideology, political theory, and biopolitics, published in collections and journals such as Spinoza Now (U of Minnesota), European Film Theory (Routledge), The Dreams of Interpretation (U of Minnesota), Modern Language Studies, Angelaki, Cultural Critique, Parallax, Rethinking Marxism, Political Theory, Radical Musicology, Monokl (in Turkish translation), and Hihuo kukan [Critical Space] (in Japanese translation).


room 204

Wednesday 26 May

Derrida on animality: transcendental and genetic thought, philosophy and psychoanalysis
Lecture by Michael Lewis

I shall try, in as brief a way as possible, to situate Derrida’s understanding of the wolf man and the ‘werewolf’ (in the preface to Torok and Abraham’s Cryptonomies: The Wolfman’s Magic Word) in the context and problematics of his writings on ‘animality’ in general: in particular, The Animal That Therefore I Am (1997), and the first of his published seminars, The Beast and the Sovereign (2001–2).
I hope to be able to gesture briefly towards the way in which Lacan’s understanding of animality — and the relation between the animal and the human — may help us to differentiate psychoanalytic thought from transcendental philosophy.
A hypothesis developed in my earlier work proposed that we understand Derrida’s thought as a hyperbolic instance of transcendental thought. Here I shall test this hypothesis more thoroughly, particularly in light of Derrida’s most recent considerations of the animal, for at this point, the differences between Derrida and Lacan become most difficult to discern, and Derrida incorporates into his thought a number of surprising elements which one might more readily associate with a ‘genetic’ or ‘developmental’ theory of man, of the kind that is — perhaps — provided by Lacan (these elements include an invocation of the insights of certain natural sciences, the ‘hominisation process’ studied by paleo-anthropology, and so on). For this reason, among others, no doubt, it is crucial to consider Derrida and Lacan’s respective approaches to the question of ‘the animal’, in order ultimately to understand the relation between psychoanalytic theory and philosophy.

Dr. Michael Lewis is affiliated to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sussex (UK) and published a.o. Derrida and Lacan: Another Writing (Edinburgh University Press, 2009)

5-7 pm

room 204

Wednesday 7 April

Verneinung, Verwerfung, Verleugnung

Seminar organized by Nathaniel Boyd, Dominiek Hoens and Eli Noé

This month's seminar will focus on three Freudian concepts and their dynamic interrelation to each other, to analytic theory in general and to our continued reading of the Wolf Man case in particular. The psychoanalytic concepts Verneinung, Verleugnung and Verwerfung have been variably translated as ‘negation', ‘disavowal' (denial), and ‘foreclosure' (repudiation). While negation has been clearly defined in relation to the process of analysis as a ‘way of taking cognizance of the repressed' insofar as the repressed – in terms of its ideational content – now reaches consciousness, it is also defined (more affirmatively) as that which enables ‘thinking [to] free itself from the restrictions of repression' (SE., XIX, 235-6). By contrast, the concepts of disavowal and foreclosure are less clearly defined in the Freudian corpus and, more often than not, conflated with each other. Rather than relating to the processes of analysis in general, they have been casually thematized as more or less specific mechanisms of pathogenesis (Verwerfung in the case of psychosis; Verleugnung in the case of perversion). Our goal this month will be to clarify these latter concepts in relation to the process of analysis alongside a detailed reading of the concept of negation; and to develop all three of them as specific tools with which we may be able to more thoroughly open up the dynamic case history of the Wolf Man.

5-7 pm



Sunday 7 March



Lecture by Slavoj Žižek

Is it Possible to be a Hegelian Today ?

4 pm



Saturday 6 March


Lecture by Geneviève Morel on the different conceptions of psychosis in Lacan's work

Introduced by Samo Tomsic

abstract :

In my talk I will outline an assembly of functions of the symptom, notably the separation, based on the last part of Lacan's teaching (Le sinthome, 1975), which I will compare, at this point, with the Lacanian theory of 1958. With the help of clinical examples and the reading of psychoanalytic texts, I will try to discuss the originality of this later teaching (1974-1977) in relation to the paternal metaphor and the Name-of-the-Father as the signifier of the law (1958), and in relation to the doctrine of fundamental phantasy (60's).

Geneviève Morel
is working as a psychoanalyst in Paris and Lille. She studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, did an MA in mathematics and obtained a PhD in clinical psychology and psychopathology. She is director of “Savoirs et clinique” and of “Collège de Psychanalystes d’Aleph”. She published Ambiguïtés sexuelles. Sexuation et psychose (Editions Anthropos-Economica, 2000, reedited in 2004); edited Clinique du suicide (Erès, 2002). Her two most recent books are L’œuvre de Freud, L’invention de la psychanalyse. Exploration et anthologie ( 2006); and recently La loi de la mère. Essai sur le sinthome sexuel (Anthropos, 2008).


3-5 pm


Wednesday 3 February


Discussion of From the History of an Infantile Neurosis (The Wolf Man) (Freud, 1918 (1914))

Seminar organized by Pietro Bianchi, Dominiek Hoens, Samo Tomsic and Ana Zerjav


5-7 pm


This year I want to continue the research on what one should consider as the basic psychoanalytic thesis: a subject originates in and lives by fantasy. In order to distinguish this ‘fantasy' from more traditional definitions and connotations like ‘faculty of imagination' or ‘creative force', the term ‘phantasm' was introduced. Questioning the status, meaning and implications of the phantasm also implies a (re)thinking of object, subject and desire.

In the course of elaborating the notion of phantasm Lacan introduced the notorious object a, 'his sole invention' as he put it in Les non-dupes errent. Despite the fact it has proven to be a useful tool to analyze politics, art, love and literature, the philosophical meaning remains obscure. It is time to address this question. In order to do so, there will be three sessions in which the Lacanian theory is confronted with some of his (implicit) interlocutors like Bataille, Derrida and Deleuze. After these preparatory steps one session will be devoted to the notion of semblance, which will allow us to question the limitations pertaining to the category of the Real. Before summer we end this philosophical investigation with a day on object a, during which, a.o. things, the relation between Lacan's subject ‘not without object' and Badiou's objectless subject will be explored.

After the summer recess we take a step back, at least historically, and discuss selected fragments from Freud's work, ranging from the pre-analytical to the later writings.

Dominiek Hoens

Friday 6 November 2009

Getting Knotted with Lacan

Lecture by Stijn Vanheule

followed by a discussion with Lieven Jonckheere


Tuesday 16 June 2009

Passion for the Real

Video-seminar with Robrecht Vanderbeeken


The audiovisual screen puts us face to face with images of facts and fiction. Rather then just being a window to the world, however, the screen produces a double vision that conflicts, eclipses and expands our personal perception. Eventually, disruptions and overexposure paradoxically result in a loss of reality which, in its turn, evokes a true passion for the real. This seminar discusses the impact of the screen as a mediator and generator of reality, based on an analysis of contemporary video art and media art experiments. Is the screen a virtual invader that produces a truth without reality or a reality without a truth?

Dr. Robrecht Vanderbeeken wrote a thesis (University of Ghent) on the subject in Social Sciences and Philosophy of Science (i.e. the explanation of actions). He is also a former researcher of the Jan van Eyck Academy (2004-05). Besides his 'What are you doing ? Essays on Video Art', his publications concern a variety of topics (metaphysics, philosophy of technology and aesthetics). Since 2007 he teaches at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University College Ghent (KASK) and at the Art Department of Ghent University. His current research concerns video art, media art and the philosophical implications of technological innovations in art and culture.




Thursday 7 February

Introduction to the Seminar's general topic, followed by a discussion of: Jacques Rancière, ‘The Aesthetic Revolution and Its Outcomes' (New Left Review, 14, 2002)



Friday 8 February



Malcolm Quinn – On Liberty and Art: Aesthetics and the Social Bond in Schiller and Lacan


What are the social ends of aesthetic autonomy? In this paper, I will pursue this question as it pertains to contemporary art, through an analysis of Friedrich Schiller's model of aesthetic autonomy, as set out in his On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795). My account includes discussion of speech, truth and temporality in Schiller's model of aesthetic autonomy, as this relates to the possibilities of ‘ autonomy speech ' in contemporary art. I focus particularly on Schiller's account of aesthetic education as producing a denatured, intangible space in which social subjects encounter each other solely as the malleable figures of a Spieltrieb, that is, as an object of free play. This is not a leisure activity or a virtual space beyond quotidian concerns, but the surest route through which autonomous subjects can assume a social and collective character without being subsumed within forms of general will. For Schiller, the route to political emancipation is achieved by cutting into the social bond to produce a domain of radical artifice. I will also show how Habermas's account of Schiller and a recent attempt to revive a waning debate on aesthetic autonomy on Habermasian lines, miss what is most valuable in Schillerian analysis of the social condition of aesthetics. I argue that Schiller's non-philosophical account of aesthetics and the Spieltrieb can be adequately approached using Lacanian models of the social bond.


Dr. Malcolm Quinn is Reader and Research Co-ordinator at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London. He co-authored with Dany Nobus, Knowing Nothing, Staying Stupid: Elements for a Psychoanalytic Epistemology (Routledge, 2005). See also:


Wednesday 5 March


Maurice Blanchot, The Two Versions of the Imaginary

in collaboration with Tom Van Imschoot.


Wednesday 2 April


R.W. Fassbinder, Angst essen Seele auf [Fear Eats the Soul], 1974


Thursday 3 April

The Active Gift of Love: Kaja Silverman's Ethics of Vision

Kaja Silverman, ‘Fassbinder and Lacan', Chapter 3 from Male Subjectivity at the Margins, Routledge, 1992, pp. 125-156.

Kaja Silverman, ‘The Screen', Chapter 6 from The Threshold of the Visible World, Routledge, 1996, pp. 195-227.


Wednesday 7 May


Marguerite Duras, Nathalie Granger, 1972


Thursday 8 May

This Impossibility to Love: Marguerite Duras


Joan Copjec, ‘India Song/Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta désert': The Compulsion to Repeat (October, 17, 1981)


Wednesday 4 June


Helena De Preester – Images aren't in the Head: On the Phenomenology of Imagination

Although every philosopher is inevitably confronted with it, philosophers have never liked very much the phenomenon of imagination. Imagination was considered deceptive, inferior and sometimes dangerous in comparison to pure thought. Early in the 20th century, however, imagination is being studied from a more neutral point of view, i.e. not in order to warn people for its illegitimate use, or in a effort to restore imagination's glory. Instead, phenomenology's godfather Edmund Husserl tried to see clear into the complex structure of imagination, while at the same time resisting the classical view that imagination is a matter of 'little pictures' in the head. In this lecture, we will present the above context, and Husserl's fascinating thoughts about imagination, and how he considered imagination in terms of 'making something present' while at the same time 'neutralising' its existence.

Dr. Helena De Preester is Visiting Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Ghent University, and Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, University College Ghent. See also: and


Thursday 5 June

Workshop with Helena De Preester on:

Evan Thompson, Look again: Consciousness and Mental Imagery, chapter 10 of Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard UP, 2007)


Tuesday 1 July


Andrew Cutrofello - Hamlet and the History of Nihilism

In this paper I draw a connection between the post-Kantian problem of nihilism and a persistent worry about the ontological status of ghosts. Kant sought to dispel this worry in his Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Elucidated by Dreams of Metaphysics. When Schopenhauer revives the worry, he does so in terms that echo Lessing's reflections on the effectiveness of Shakespeare's portrayal of the ghost in Hamlet. As we will see, the Shakespearean problematic haunts Schopenhauer's polemic against Hegel. It also informs Nietzsche's representation of nihilism, but it is occluded by Heidegger. One of the aims of my paper is to provide a partial genealogy of the problematic of haunting that Derrida develops in Specters of Marx.

Dr. Andrew Cutrofello is a Professor at Loyola University Chicago. He is author of numerous essays on Kant, Hegel, Lacan and Deleuze. His most recent book publication is Continental Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge, 2005). See also:


Wednesday 2 July


Discussion of 'The Ontological Status of Lacan's Mathematical Paradigms' (Reading Seminar XX, SUNY, 2002) in the presence of its author, Andrew Cutrofello


Monday 8 September

The Scene of Two

Discussion of Alain Badiou's 'What is Love ?' and ' The Scene of Two'


Friday 3 October

Lecture by Yannis Stavrakakis on The Consumerist Politics of Jouissance

respondent: Jan De Vos (Ghent University)


Dr. Yannis Stavrakakis studied political science at Panteion University (Athens) and discourse analysis at Essex and has worked at the Universities of Essex and Nottingham. He is currently Associate Professor at the School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Theoretical Studies, University of Essex. He is the author of Lacan and the Political (Routledge 1999) and The Lacanian Left (Edinburgh University Press/SUNY Press 2007) and co-editor of Discourse Theory and Political Analysis (Manchester University Press 2000) and Lacan & Science (Karnac 2002).

Jan De Vos worked for several years as a clinical psychologist. He is currently a researcher at the Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry (CEVI, Ghent University) and prepares a PhD in philosophy on “Psychological Subjectivity in Late Modernity. A Critical Analysis of Psychologization under Globalization” Most of his published articles deal with the phenomenon of psychologization.

Thursday 6 November


Discussion of Slavoj Zizek, The Ticklish Subject (Verso: 1999), 'The Deadlock of Transcendental Imagination, or, Martin Heidegger as a Reader of Kant', pp. 9-69.


Wednesday 3 December

Alenka Zupancic, 'Enthusiasm, Anxiety and the Event', Parallax, vol. 11, no. 4, 2005, pp. 31-45.



Thursday 8 February

Figures of Exception: Bartleby and Deleuze's 'Original'


Thursday 8 March

What is an Encounter ?

Lacan on choice, necessity and contingency


Thursday 3 May

Love beyond the Law: Pauline universalism

On chapters 6-8 from Badiou's Saint Paul


Thursday 7 June

From Singularity to Universality: Saint Paul

Justice, State, Politics. On Badiou's Of an obscure disaster chapter 3

Intervention by Ozren Pupovac


Thursday 8 November

Discussion of Thomas Brockelman's text: Zizek and Heidegger: The Question Concerning Techno-Capitalism


Thursday 6 December

You Never Know Your Luck: Lacan and Pascal's Wager

interventions by Thomas Brockelman and Dominiek Hoens