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Tue, Nov 14, 2017

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Slavoj Žižek and Alenka Zupančič

This event is SOLD OUT. There will be a standby line at the door.

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

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.


Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.


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 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, 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.

  • Repertory Series! 'HANKSGIVING • Wednesday 11/22 – Tuesday 11/28
Special Event! INTERNATIONAL PANCAKE FILM FESTIVAL • Thursday 11/30 at 8:00 / Doors 7:00

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