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Professor Naomi Morgenstern will be reading ‘The University in Crisis: Teaching, Transference and Tenure in David Mamet’s Oleanna’ in her address as keynote speaker at the University of Toronto Department of English’s Literature and Psychoanalysis Graduate Student Symposium, 21 May 2010.

In their exploration of the intersections between literature and psychoanalysis entitled Testimony, Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub turn to the classroom experience, asking, “[i]n a post-traumatic century, a century that has survived unthinkable historical catastrophes, is there anything that we have learned or that we should learn about education, that we did not know before?” Indeed, both trauma and pedagogy confront their subjects – doctors, teachers, patients, victims – with the difficulties of communication: not just of putting history into words, but of making past events present enough to do them justice without ignoring the contingencies of memory and hindsight. Meanwhile, performance, in all its outward spectacle, seems at first to contradict the difficulties of traumatic and pedagogical processes; tragedy in particular ostensibly promises a cathartic experience, centering around those very aspects of recognition and expression that often elude the traumatized victim in the context of psychoanalysis. And yet participants in both educational and therapeutic settings often find themselves troubling the boundaries between fact and narrative, memory and story, authenticity and theatricality – distinctions whose surprising fineness can cast ethical questions harshly into the spotlight.

The Literature and Psychoanalysis Reading Group invites proposals for papers that explore the convergences and divergences of trauma theory, literature, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, and/or performance. We welcome submissions from a range of disciplines within the humanities and Social Sciences.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

– the relationship between teaching and psychoanalysis (“impossible professions”)
– trauma theory
– ethics and psychoanalysis
– transference (Freudian and post-Freudian theories)
– literary representations of education and psychoanalysis
– gender theory and psychoanalysis
– speech acts and violence
– borders and thresholds
– identification and desire
– masculinity, sovereignty, and the symbolic order
– theatre and psychoanalysis

Submission deadline: 26 March, 300-word abstract for a 8-1o page or 20-minute paper. Submissions must include full name, contact information and institutional and departmental affiliation.

Questions and submissions should be emailed to: 2010splrg@gmail.com.

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