Beyond the Politics of Castration: The Election, the Pandemic, and the Transformative Strange

Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St
StockbridgeMassachusetts 01262
October 30, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Virtual Friday Night Guest Lecture with Jill Gentile, PhD 

NOTE: This is s a VIRTUAL event and requires advance registration.

Friday Night Guest Lectures are designed for mental health professionals, offered free of charge, and provide 1.0 continuing education credit (see details below). 

Register Now

This talk explores the significance of sexual difference for a psychoanalytic “democratic position” and its potential contributions to radical equality and collective renewal.  I will explore Trump’s rhetoric and ideology (such as it is) as a nihilistic/necrophilic response to alterity, in which the seductions of incestuous relations predominate, resulting in a perverse politics of castration. The current election, amidst the persistent effects of the novel coronavirus, functions as a fulcrum for a fundamental decision: between a “return” to stasis, and a transformative turn towards the “strange.” Dr. Gentile suggests that recent signage of the enigmatic, the obscure, and the strange suggests that the motion (or democratic action of) the world, and of the US particularly, is at a juncture where vitalizing and erotic tensions make it impossible to return to some prior order. Thus the forthcoming general election is not only pivotal in the drive to reject an authoritarianism order of the same, but also functions as a genuine truth event, a rupture in the familiar order that opens us to novel dis/order but also to ethical communalism and social transformation. 

Jill Gentile, PhD is faculty member at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and supervising analyst at the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity. She sits on several editorial boards including Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA), Studies in Gender and Sexuality; Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context. She was awarded the 2017 Gradiva Award for her essay, “What is special about speech?”  Her book Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire, with Michael Macrone (Karnac, 2016) explores psychoanalysis’s relationship to democracy through the lenses of free association, freedom of speech, and the feminine.   

Dr. Gentile’s public essays have been featured in the Huffington Post, the New School’s Public Seminar, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Philosophical Salon, and she has also served as a consultant to the Emmy nominated film The Tale (HBO, 2018). She maintains a clinical practice in New York, where she sees individuals and couples and leads private study groups.  

For questions or additional information, please contact Erikson Institute Education Coordinator and Events Assistant, Kathleen Young at: kathleen.young@austenriggs.net / 413.931.5230.

Register Now


  • To describe developments in contemporary psychoanalysis
  • To examine interdisciplinary theories and methods of understanding human and cultural experience
  • To recognize biopsychosocial contributions to complex clinical issues

(Physicians, Psychologists Social Work)

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live interactive webinar for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live interactive webinar for 1.0 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology.

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230.

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider Approval Period: 02/02/2020-2/2/2023. Social workers completing this live interactive webinar will receive 1.0 continuing education credit(s). 

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/.

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your course, please contact info@austenriggs.net

For information about our accreditation, please visit: www.austenriggs.org/accreditation-educational-activities.

Attendees who wish to receive CE credit should note:  

After the conclusion of the event, you will receive an email with a link to complete the evaluation and claim your credits. 


1.5 hours