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White Society Colloquium: The Loss of Pleasure, or, Why We Are Still Talking about Oedipus

Date: Nov 9, 2016 8:00 pm
Speakers: Carol Gilligan, Ph.D. & Naomi Snider, LLB, LLM
Discussant: Sue Kolod, Ph.D.



This talk is about responses to loss, about making and breaking the “masculine” cycle of violence and the “feminine” cycle of silence. We will bring together the relational/feminist insights into the primacy of human connection, the developmental research that reveals how what has been seen as development is more accurately viewed as a process of initiation that leads to a loss of pleasure, and the attachment literature as it illuminates healthy and pathological responses to loss. In doing so we will answer the question why we are still talking about Oedipus by suggesting that as long as we are talking about Oedipus we are talking about loss and trauma, about violence and silence, about patriarchy. We will end by noting that at this moment in cultural history, psychoanalysis is uniquely situated to shift our cultural and personal narratives away from Oedipus and his tragic story to a vision of pleasure born through courage and seeing, and by doing so, realize more fully our desire for love and equality.



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Carol Gilligan is the author of In a Different Voice, described by Harvard University Press as “the little book that started a revolution.”  Her subsequent books include The Birth of Pleasure (2002), Kyra: A Novel (2008), The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy’s Future, with David A. J. Richards (2009), and most recently, Joining the Resistance (2011). As a member of the Harvard faculty, she held the university’s first chair in gender studies, at the University of Cambridge, she was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, and she is currently University Professor of Applied Psychology and the Humanities at NYU.  She was named by Time magazine as one of 25 most influential Americans for having “changed the voice of psychology.”

Naomi Snider is a research fellow at NYU School of Law and a former visiting scholar at the William Alanson White Institute.  In fall 2016 she will be joining the Institute as a psychoanalytic candidate.  Her current research examines the persistence of patriarchy on psychodynamic grounds. Ms. Snider has a Masters of Law from NYU and an Bachelor of Law from the London School of Economics. Prior to joining NYU she was a lawyer working in the field of human rights and international law.


Sue Kolod, Ph.D. is a Supervising and Training Analyst and Faculty Member at the William Alanson White Institute and co-editor of the blog, Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Action. Dr. Kolod has written about the impact of hormones on the psyche. Most recently, her chapter on this subject, The Circle (Cycle) Game appears in the book, Body-States: Interpersonal and Relational Perspectives on the Treatment of Eating Disorders.







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