Love, Desire, Needs, and Psychoanalysis

More than 120 years ago, the theory of the unconscious and love, started with the basicquestions of why love and desire are so hard to combine? In this class, students will gothrough concepts of love, desire and need from psychoanalytic and cultural theoryperspectives – most prominently Freud’s theories as well as those of feminists/of color,critical race and queer theorists. The common assumption this class takes is that thesethree concepts are difficult to separate and deeply entangled in a world stratified bygender and sexuality norms, racialization and capitalist commodification – to name justa few.

However, this class takes it as a starting-point that all three concepts apply to usjust the same, but in different ways.

Students interested in Psychoanalysis, CriticalTheory as well as those willing to engage an intensive reading work load are welcome tojoin.

Furthermore, along the lines of an old psycho-analytic insight, this class wants tomove away from all-too-easy understandings of cognitive learning as the ultimate goal:Hence, another requirement for the students to do a performance of the knowledge theylearned in front of class and a wider audience at the end of the semester.

Furthermore, short written assignments of texts of the student’s choosing aredemanded. The language of instruction is English, however, students have to be able toexpress themselves in at least one language fluently and have to have a passiveunderstanding of the other. Readings are bi-lingual (English and German), writtenassignments are to be handed in in English. Desired names and pronouns shall be givento teacher immediately after class commences.

Required Readings:
- Lauren Berlant (2012) „Love/Desire“. Download here
       - Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou (2013) „Dispossession: The Performative inthe Political“; Chapter 16, Trans-border affective foreclosures and state racism. pp. 164-172.
Required Readings:

- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1999) „A Dialogue on Love“ (the book, not the article)

Recommended Dictionary:

- J. Laplanche & J.-B. Pontalis (1967) „The Language of Psycho-Analysis“ (either in Engl.,French, or German)
- Standardwerk FREUD Online in German: