Lecture in English by Chris Coffman
(Gender Research Office of the University of Vienna)
(Research director of the Sigmund Freud Museum)
Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 6:30 pm
Main Building of the University of Vienna, HĂ¶rsaal 31 (Stiege IX, 1. Stock), UniversitĂ¤tsring 1, 1010 Vienna
for the floor plan)
Free admission, please register below
Lacanian psychoanalytic theorists have only recently begun to understand transgender embodiments in affirmative rather than pathologizing ways. The concept of the sinthĂ´me has been crucial to this change in approach. This lecture will trace the sinthĂ´me from its initial appearance in the writings of Jacques Lacan through its feminist reinflection by visual artist Bracha Ettinger and its recent reworkings by trans-affirmative psychoanalysts Sheila Cavanagh, Patricia Gherovici, and Oren Gozlan. This work has been vitally important in understanding transsexualsâ€™ requests to transition as healthy and life-affirming rather than as symptoms of psychosis, as Catherine Millot notoriously claims.
Coffman will build on this line of trans-affirmative psychoanalytic thinking to argue that the sinthĂ´me can also be adapted to theorize forms of transgender embodiment that are unique to non-binary and genderqueer people. These subjective experiences of embodiment extend beyond the bodyâ€™s material contours. Supported by structures of sexual difference that need not be anchored by the Lacanian phallus, they offer alternatives to psychoanalytic feminisms predicated on the cisgender female body. (Chris Coffman, 2019)
is Professor of English and affiliated with the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her research uses psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories to analyze twentieth and twenty-first century literature, visual art, and film from Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States. Her first monograph, Insane Passions: Lesbianism and Psychosis in Literature and Film
, appeared in December 2006 from Wesleyan University Press; her second, Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity
, was published in June 2018 by Edinburgh University Press. She has also written articles on psychoanalytic queer and trans theory, queer film, Franz Kafka's The Trial
, James Joyce's Ulysses,
Monique Truong's The Book of Salt
, and Virginia Woolf's Orlando.
A past participant in a NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) seminar on â€śModernist Paris,â€ť she is currently at work on new articles on Woolfâ€™s The Waves
as well as on her Fulbright-Freud Research Project
called Queer Traversals
. While in Austria, Professor Coffman is also teaching a course on â€śQueer Theoriesâ€ť for the Gender Studies MA Program at the University of Vienna.