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The Trouble With Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis

Starts 19 July 2016 - 18:00
Finishes 19 July 2016 - 20:00
Venue Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1E 7HX. Malet Street Main Building, Torrington Square main entrance. Room B35
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The Trouble With Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis

Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in collaboration with the School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London

Please join us to celebrate the publication of Aaron Schuster's new book The Trouble With Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (MIT Press, 2016). The evening will feature remarks by Slavoj Žižek, and a short presentation by Schuster on the book’s opening chapter—“Critique of Pure Complaint” and will be chaired by Maria Aristodemou.  

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Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two of the most formidable figures of postwar French thought. Though the encounter with psychoanalysis deeply marked Deleuze’s work, we are yet to have a critical account of the very different postures he adopted toward psychoanalysis, and especially Lacanian theory, throughout his career. In The Trouble with Pleasure, Aaron Schuster tackles this tangled relationship head on. The result is neither a Lacanian reading of Deleuze nor a Deleuzian reading of Lacan but rather a systematic and comparative analysis that identifies concerns common to both thinkers and their ultimately incompatible ways of addressing them. Schuster focuses on drive and desire—the strange, convoluted relationship of human beings to the forces that move them from within—“the trouble with pleasure."


Aaron Schuster will be a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in Fall 2016. He is a former Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies, Rijeka, Croatia, and at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry ICI Berlin, and Head of Theory Program at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam.

Slavoj Žižek is the International Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London

Maria Aristodemou is Reader in Law, Literature and Psychoanalysis in the School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Aaron Schuster; Slavoj Žižek