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Embodied Encounters – New Approaches to Psychoanalysis and Film 

A One Day Symposium Exploring Emerging Debates

At The Freud Museum

14 October 2013

Psychoanalytic film theory post-1968 was significantly influenced by structuralism. It focused on highly abstract interrogations of the relationship between the spectator and the screen, focusing on apparatus, identification and the gaze. It produced important and lasting work (Baudry, Metz, Mulvey) but, as a mode of interrogation, it has now almost been abandoned in film studies, being replaced by seemingly more relevant analytical tools such as, cognitive psychology and recently neuroscience. Further, in some circles at least psychoanalysis is associated with patriarchal thinking and conservative politics.

And yet, psychoanalysis can also be seen also as a radical philosophy, which privileges a subjective bodily experience, dislodges tradition and acknowledges the unknowable. It is still the only system of thinking which is rooted both in the clinic and which has wider applications in other disciplines, including cultural theory and sociology (Bulter, Frosh, Zizek for example).

The symposium opens a dialogue that invites trans-disciplinary interrogations of psychoanalysis and cinema, fiction and documentary.  It will investigate the interplay between the unconscious, its bodily expression and the speech/image on the one hand, and its position in culture and society on the other.

The day concludes with a drinks reception to mark the publication of two radical new books: Professor Hockley’s Somatic Cinema: The relationship between body and screen – a Jungian perspective and Dr Piotrowska’s Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film both published by Routledge.

This symposium is hosted by the Research Institute for Media, Art and Performance (RIMAP) at the University of Bedfordshire.

Speakers (in alphabetical order):

Professor Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck College, University of London

Professor Luke Hockley, University of Bedfordshire

Professor John Izod, University of Stirling

Professor Vicky Lebeau, University of Sussex

Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska, University of Bedfordshire

Professor Emma Wilson, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

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