Here is our Final CFP for the forthcoming AAG Meeting.
~~~ Final Call For Papers ~~~
American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting
Washington DC, April 3-7, 2019
Session organizers: Paul Kingsbury (Simon Fraser University), Sarah Moore (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Lucas Pohl (Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main)
Landscape has been central to a vast number of empirical studies and theoretical debates in human geography and other cognate disciplines. Over the past two decades, geographers and other researchers have drawn on psychoanalytic concepts such as abjection, dream-work, the uncanny, and the unconscious to consider the interrelationships between landscape, psyche, and society (e.g. see Wilton 1998; Nast 2000; Hook 2005; Pile 2005; Blum and Secor, 2011; Kingsbury and Pile, 2014; Pohl 2018; Proudfoot 2015). Despite the rise of Lacanian approaches in human geography and other cognate fields of study, few studies directly engage the works of Jacques Lacan to further understandings of landscape. We seek to address this lacuna by calling for papers that consider the role of landscape in terms of three potential overlapping areas of study: the role of landscape in Lacan's writings, how Lacan's ideas can guide landscape studies, and, the role of landscape in secondary literatures and how they might too guide research on landscape.
To begin with, landscape and related themes appear quite regularly throughout Lacan's four-decades long corpus. In Seminar I, for example, Lacan (1991) teaches about the "veritable subduction of the symbolic" (p. 124) and declares "you wouldn't believe what you owe to geology. If it weren't for geology, how could one end up thinking that one could move, on the same level, from a recent to a much more ancient layer?" Emphasizing the importance of reading desire, Lacan (2006) asserts in the écrit, "The Direction of the Treatment and Its Principles of Power", that "[t]o wipe desire off the map when it is already covered over in the patient's landscape is not the best way of following Freud's teaching". In 1971, discussing the notion of the "littoral", in the essay Lituraterre, Lacan (2001) reflects on his plane journey from Japan over Siberia, which "makes a plain, a plain desolate of any vegetation but reflections, which push into the darkness what does not shimmer". Elsewhere, gazing from his conference hotel window, Lacan (1970) compared the pulsating unconscious to the urban landscape of "Baltimore in the early morning" (p.189) with its commuter traffic and a nearby flashing neon "Enjoy Coca-Cola" (p.194) sign.
The second area of study concerns the question of how we can use Lacan's ideas, especially those concepts that emerge in his encounters with landscape, to further our theorizations of and methodological approaches to landscapes? Some of these include scenes of subjects' actions in landscapes. Affects such as anxiety are read, not only by an analysis of the patient's history, but also through the subjects' movements through space. Lacan (2014), for example, suggests two outcomes of a subject's suffering from anxiety: the 'passage to the act' and 'acting out'. How, then, might recognizing anxiety through 'passage to the act' and 'acting out' help geographers to grasp the interactions of subjects and landscape? Elsewhere, Lacan (1977) is interested in the visual and auditory palimpsest that produces human experience. How might Lacan's notions of the voice and/or the gaze aid geographers in analyzing multisensory experiences of landscape? Such examples might also prompt researchers to consider new Lacanian methods of data collection and analysis to enhance our understandings of landscape.
The third and final area refers to the role of landscape in secondary Lacanian literatures, as well as their application for empirical study. Notable here is Slavoj Žižek's (2009, p. 90) idea that reality itself should be understood as "ontologically incomplete". Joking about the possibility that God was too lazy, when he created earth, so that he didn't finish reality, Žižek calls the fundamental gap between nature and humanity into question. Accordingly, the antagonistic structure of reality is not limited to societies but can also be found in nature. Nature is therefore never ordered or balanced, but on the contrary disordered and unbalanced. There is not only an uneasiness in culture, but an "uneasiness in nature" as well (Žižek 2008, p. 420). Such an approach enables a number of partly unusual companionships between Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian dialectics, quantum physics, as well as new approaches deriving from the "material" or "ontological turn". How might these areas provide alternative perspectives on cultural, ecological, urban, and other kinds of landscapes?
Interested session participants should send an abstract (no more than 250 words) to Paul Kingsbury ([log in to unmask]), Sarah Moore ([log in to unmask]), and Lucas Pohl ([log in to unmask]) by October 15.
Blum, V. and Secor, A. (2011). Psychotopologies: Closing the Circuit between Psychic and Material Space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33,1130-1047.
Hook, D. (2005). Monumental space and the uncanny. Geoforum 36, 688-704.
Kingsbury, P. and Pile, S. (eds.) (2014). Psychoanalytic Geographies. New York: Routledge.
Lacan, J. (2014). Seminar X: Anxiety. Malden, MA: Polity.
Lacan, J. (2006). The direction of the treatment and the principles of its power. In: Écrits. New York: Norton.
Lacan, J. (2001). Lituraterre. In: Autres écrits. Paris: Seuil, p.11-22.
Lacan, J. (1991). Seminar I: Freud's Papers on Technique. New York: Norton.
Lacan, J. (1977). Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. New York: Norton.
Lacan, J. (1970). Of structure as an inmixing of an otherness prerequisite to any subject whatever. In: R. Macksey and Donato, E. (eds.), The Structuralist Controversy: The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 186-200.
Nast, H. (2000). Mapping the 'unconscious': Racism and the Oedipal family. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 90, 215-255.
Pile, S. (1996). The Body and the City: Psychoanalysis, Space and Subjectivity. New York: Routledge.
Pohl, L. (2018). Architectural Enjoyment: Lefebvre and Lacan. In: I. Kapoor (eds.), Psychoanalysis and the GlObal. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 142-163.
Proudfoot, J. (2015). Anxiety and phantasy in the field: The position of the unconscious in ethnographic research. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33, 1135-1152.
Wilton, R. (1998). The constitution of difference: Space and psyche in landscapes of exclusion. Geoforum 29, 173-185.
Žižek, S. (2008). In Defense of Lost Causes. London & New York: Verso.
Žižek, S. (2009). The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? Cambridge & London: MIT Press.
Paul Kingsbury, Professor of Geography
Simon Fraser University
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