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