9645 - "That Bliss of Stars, that Princox of Evening Heaven": The Psychic Spaces of Love and the Death Drive - This course will explore some of the theoretical and political implications of two of the most contested sites in psychoanalysis: the concepts of love and the death drive. Indeed, the objects of these concepts are themselves contested, often marked or made visible by their absence. In this sense, love and the death drive are linked in that both are coupled with what Lacan calls jouissance. The meaninglessness of jouissance is granted a kind of contingent, imaginary meaning through the gift of Love, a metaphoric gift, which, though not hateful, has been called "giving what you don't have to someone who doesn't want it." But what are the political and psychoanalytic implications of this formulation? What are the relations between and among Love, the Law, and the Death Drive? How does it structure one's relation to the Other or the Object? As we know, Freud's persistent use of love and the death drive in his later work must be acknowledged in terms of a larger historical framework; it is in part a response to the political crises in Modernity that produced the trauma of both World Wars. We will consider how Lacan's famous "return to Freud" championed a re-thinking both of love (and its objects, the gaze and the voice) and the death drive as crucial to understanding Freudian thought. The final weeks of the course will be devoted to looking at how several theorists consider, in different ways, the problematics of Love and the Death Drive. To this end, we will read the work of such diverse thinkers as Slavoj Žižek, Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Klaus Theweleit, Joan Copjec, Judith Butler, Peter Osborne, Jacques Derrida, and Ellie Ragland.
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