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Towards a theory of traumatophilia

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Towards a theory of traumatophilia: de-translation, sovereign experience, re-translation.

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Abstract

Psychoanalytic thinking teaches us that trauma leaves the subject fractured, less agentic, more subject to iterative, stalled revisitations of the traumatic event. In this presentation, and with the help of Jean Laplanche's metapsychology, I argue that significant possibilities for psychic transformation and for contact with experience are courted when we make ourselves passible (Lyotard, Scarfone) to returning to the site of the traumatic. Drawing our attention away from the usual -and somewhat fixed- framework of repetition compulsion, this presentation foregrounds a different approach which I frame through the concept of traumatophilia. Traumatophilia concerns itself less with what to do about trauma and helpfully draws our attention to what subjects do with their trauma. Therein, I suggest, we find ourselves in the domain of limit consent, that psychic territory where we encounter the vexed entanglements between freedom and constraint, and wherefrom traumatized subjects can make bids to enlarged psychic freedoms. The trauma of slavery and racism's durational persistence offer premier sites and searing examples for discussing these ideas.

About Avgi Saketopoulou

Avgi Saketopoulou is a Greek and Greek-Cypriot psychoanalyst. She trained and now teaches at the NYU Postdoctoral Program, and is also on faculty at the William Allanson White Institute, the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, the Mitchell Center, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. She serves on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Her written work has received the Ralph Roughton Award, the annual essay prize from the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Symonds prize, and the Ruth Stein Prize. Her just-completed book project is provisionally entitled: Risking Sexuality Beyond Consent: Race, Traumatophilia, and the Draw to Overwhelm. The book puts psychoanalysis into conversation with queer of color critique, and its second part critically engages Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play. She is co-chair of the first conference in the US dedicated to the work of Jean Laplanche coming up on October 2-3, 2021 “Laplanche in the States: the sexual and the cultural”.


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Organiser The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Organiser of Towards a theory of traumatophilia

The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis is a training organisation and a member of the Council for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis College (CPJA)  of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). All graduates are eligible for UKCP registration.

The Site was established in October 1997 by psychotherapists who wished to create a training programme and an association that would foster critical, reflective and imaginative thinking about psychoanalysis and its contemporary practices.

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