Last night I presented a paper at the weekly graduate seminar series I attend and it went surprisingly well.
‘Blots, Others and Desire: The dossier of the anxious spy’
This paper navigates the development of the spy genre, beginning with the genre’s revolutionary roots, using Lacanian psychoanalysis as its compass. From the troubling blot of the hunted man to the curiosity of the accidental spy, Lacanian concepts enable us to meaningfully explore the psychology of the spy genre. In turn, the spy genre in turn offers fresh territory in which to expand our understanding of the big Other, desire and the Lacanian blot.
I didn’t quite stick to this abstract, however; in fact, I’d rather forgotten about it. Bad student.
My paper did look at the history of the genre, as a case study of the anxious subject, but I only briefly touched on desire and the Lacanian blot. Instead, I focussed largely on how the development of the spy-hero can be read through Lacan’s Imaginary, Symbolic and Real registers. However, I think I can be forgiven in light of the fact it was a seriously condensed version of the chapter I hope it will span out into.
It prompted a fascinating discussion afterwards on the concept of work (i.e. the adversarial spy who is employed to work v. the ‘professional’ spy who is a hero) and a debate on why the spy-hero is an object of desire (i.e. as the Other that knows and as a sexualised figure).
Came home with heaps of ideas on where I can take this thing next.