22-24 May 2008
National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Hosted by Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University
Co-sponsored by National Science Council and the Ministry of Education, Taiwan

What's New

  • May 26: All events successfully completed

The aim of this conference is to bring scholars together from across the region of East Asia who are working on Lacan and psychoanalysis, in collaboration with scholars from Australia, England, and the United States, in order to explore the special contributions that Asian scholars are currently making to contemporary cultural theory from a psychoanalytic perspective. Our goal is to cultivate international exchange in this growing area of research, to generate publications that will support further research and collaboration, and to promote among English-speaking readers a better understanding of the intellectual contributions to psychoanalysis and cultural theory that are currently being made by scholars in East Asia.

We are inviting participants from Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong as well as Taiwan, to address the question of “Lacan in Context,” in the context of East Asia. We especially aim to explore the special challenges and theoretical consequences that may arise when psychoanalytic theory is connected with the cultures and intellectual traditions of this region. Psychoanalysis in the United States and Europe has been heavily influenced by monotheism (including Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam). Its ethical framework is dominated by a Kantian conception of the moral law, as well as by certain presuppositions about family structure, individual subjectivity, ethical practices and ideals, political freedom, social structure, and so on. The very different linguistic, religious, political, medical and intellectual traditions of East Asia may challenge some of the basic concepts that are presupposed in the West, and that play a formative role in psychoanalytic thought. At the same time, however, psychoanalysis has been a unique and powerful means of exploring the formation of subjectivity, cultural identity, and political memory, and the influence of Lacan in East Asia is clearly growing, especially as a way of addressing the unique historical formations of identity in this region. The countries of East Asia may be said to exhibit some clearly distinct national traditions, but these countries have also profoundly influenced each other, through a unique and complex history of trade, linguistic influence, colonization, migration, and so on, which makes the question of “cultural identity” and “subjectivity” in East Asia especially challenging. In Taiwan, as in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, psychoanalytic theory has also generated considerable interest in recent years as an approach to ethnic and national identity, problems of historical memory, and the social formation of subjectivity. The growing interest in psychoanalysis among Asian scholars is an example of the fluidity of the apparent border between “East” and “West.” It is this complex set of relations around culture and identity in East Asia, together with the conceptual challenges that may arise for psychoanalysis in this context, that the conference aims to address from a Lacanian point of view.

Contact: Nadia Su