Past Event

Camille Robcis – The Politics of the Psyche

January 30, 2017
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
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Maison Francaise East Gallery, Columbia University, 515 West 116th St., New York

Speaker: Camille Robcis, Associate Professor of History at Cornell University

This talk maps the intersections of politics, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry in France in the aftermath of May ’68. For many thinkers during these years, Marxism could offer a theory of alienation to explain why the protesters had taken to the streets, but it was unable to account for why the revolution was systematically aborted. Why were libidinal politics consistently repressed by the “fascism in our heads,” “the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the thing that dominates and exploits us,” to quote Michel Foucault? In this context, several of these thinkers – including Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari – turned to psychiatry in the hope of finding a new theory of the subject that could embrace and reclaim these libidinal politics. This talk revisits this history and explores the possibilities behind a politics of the psyche.

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Camille Robcis is an Associate Professor of History at Cornell University and the author of The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in Twentieth-Century France.

This event is sponsored by the Department of History and Department of French at Columbia University.