The symposium will feature five invited speakers who will each give a full-length presentation followed by Q&A. The symposium’s title, “What Is Sex?” figures its topic as a question to which the answer might not be as self-evident as popular opinion would suggest. Our speakers have been invited to address the tension between “sex” as sexual difference and “sex” as sexual practice—that is, to examine how psychoanalysis might think erotic practice without always framing it via the heterosexualizing lens of sexual difference. The intellectual aim is to generate more varied accounts of gender/sexuality outside the orbit of heteronormativity, and to consider how a psychoanalytic emphasis on sexual difference de-prioritizes other forms of embodied difference, such as race or dis/ability. The invited speakers represent an international and interdisciplinary group who promise to engage these questions with rigor and gusto.
Leo Bersani, Univ. of California at Berkeley
Eugenie Brinkema, MIT
Patricia Gherovici, Pyschoanalyst, Philadelphia PA
Philippe Van Haute, Radbound University
Kathryn Bond Stockton, Univ. of Utah
Sponsored by: UB Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Culture, The Gender Institute, the Humanities Institute, the Department of English, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Department of Transnational Studies, the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, the Eugenio Donato Chair (Rodolphe Gasche), the Julian Park Chair (Ewa Plonowska Ziarek) and the Samuel P. Capen Chair (Jorge Gracia).