Upcoming Event

Slavoj Žižek and Alenka Zupančič

discuss

Incontinence of the Void:
Economico-Philosophical Spandrels

and

What IS Sex?

in conversation with MLADEN DOLAR

This event includes a book signing

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
There will be a standby line at the door

Date

Nov
14
Tuesday
November 14, 2017
6:00 PM
(Doors at 5:30)

Location

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

SOLD OUT. View our Sold Out Event FAQ.

Harvard Book Store welcomes renowned philosophers SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK and ALENKA ZUPANČIČ for a discussion of their latest books, Incontinence of the Void: Economico-Philosophical Spandrels and What IS Sex?. They will be joined in conversation by philosopher, cultural theorist, and film critic MLADEN DOLAR.

About Incontinence of the Void

If the most interesting theoretical interventions emerge today from the interspaces between fields, then the foremost interspaceman is Slavoj Žižek. In Incontinence of the Void (the title is inspired by a sentence in Samuel Beckett's late masterpiece Ill Seen Ill Said), Žižek explores the empty spaces between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the critique of political economy. He proceeds from the universal dimension of philosophy to the particular dimension of sexuality to the singular dimension of the critique of political economy. The passage from one dimension to another is immanent: the ontological void is accessible only through the impasses of sexuation and the ongoing prospect of the abolition of sexuality, which is itself opened up by the technoscientific progress of global capitalism, in turn leading to the critique of political economy.

Responding to his colleague and fellow Short Circuits author Alenka Zupančič's What Is Sex?, Žižek examines the notion of an excessive element in ontology that gives body to radical negativity, which becomes the antagonism of sexual difference. From the economico-philosophical perspective, Žižek extrapolates from ontological excess to Marxian surplus value to Lacan's surplus enjoyment. In true Žižekian fashion, Incontinence of the Void focuses on eternal topics while detouring freely into contemporary issuesfrom the Internet of Things to Danish TV series.

About What IS Sex?

Consider sublimation -- conventionally understood as a substitute satisfaction for missing sexual satisfaction. But what if, as Lacan claims, we can get exactly the same satisfaction that we get from sex from talking (or writing, painting, praying, or other activities)? The point is not to explain the satisfaction from talking by pointing to its sexual origin, but that the satisfaction from talking is itself sexual. The satisfaction from talking contains a key to sexual satisfaction (and not the other way around) -- even a key to sexuality itself and its inherent contradictions. The Lacanian perspective would make the answer to the simple-seeming question, "What is sex?" rather more complex. In this volume in the Short Circuits series, Alenka Zupančič approaches the question from just this perspective, considering sexuality a properly philosophical problem for psychoanalysis; and by psychoanalysis, she means that of Freud and Lacan, not that of the kind of clinician practitioners called by Lacan "orthopedists of the unconscious."

Zupančič argues that sexuality is at the point of a "short circuit" between ontology and epistemology. Sexuality and knowledge are structured around a fundamental negativity, which unites them at the point of the unconscious. The unconscious (as linked to sexuality) is the concept of an inherent link between being and knowledge in their very negativity.

Alenka Zupančič
Alenka Zupančič

Alenka Zupančič

Alenka Zupančič, a Slovenian psychoanalytic theorist and philosopher, teaches at the European Graduate School and is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Arts. She is the author of The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two and The Odd One In: On Comedy, both in the Short Circuits series, published by the MIT Press.

Mladen Dolar
Mladen Dolar

Mladen Dolar

Mladen Dolar taught for 20 years in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he now works as a Senior Research Fellow. He is the author of a number of books, most recently (with Slavoj Zizek) Opera's Second Death.

Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek, a philosopher and cultural critic, is Senior Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular CultureThe Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of ChristianityThe Parallax View, T he Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic (with John Milbank), and Žižek's Jokes (Did you hear the one about Hegel and negation?), these five published by the MIT Press.

UPDATE: Tickets for this event are sold out. Please note, we are often able to accommodate additional attendees from a standby line for sold out events. View our Sold Out Event FAQ for more information.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable.

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and proceed along Brattle St. Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe and Alden & Harlow Restaurant, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.

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