Public Events

Public Events Schedule

All events are free, but please RVSP to confirm your attendance via EventBrite

Directions, maps, accessibility

Please note this is a scent-free environment.

The lectures and the roundtables will be recorded.


Lecture by Dr. Aparna Mishra Tarc

“Pedagogy and the perverse in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child

Introduced by Toby Wiggins

Monday, June 5, 2017
519 Kaneff, YorkU

This lecture is situated in recent queer scholarship celebrating and/or recuperating perversion from its pathological treatment in the social sciences (Edelman, De Lauretis). Aligned with these moves, Aparna Mishra Tarc takes a different tact to thinking the perverse in a turn to Melanie Klein’s treatment of Freud’s polymorphous perverse baby subject to the adult (m)other’s sexual drives. In infancy sexuality driving the subject formation of the baby is open to impression as intra subjectively experienced and inter subjectively engaged. The intra subjective drive of sexuality instantiated in infancy is fundamental to human existence and wholly dependent on the inter subjective response and care of the (m)other. To examine how infantile sexuality is expressed and repressed in sexual and racial markers of identity, Mishra Tarc conducts a psychoanalytic reading of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child.  Morrison’s novel investigates personal, legal and societal responses to perverse expressions of the child’s sexuality generating, degenerating and regenerating the self. Subject to the other with sexual drives of their own, Morrison highlights the profound role of pedagogy in the care of the child’s polymorphous perverse existence.  The adult’s response (use, refuse, and abuse) of the child’s sexuality sets the conditions for her identity and relation to others.

Click here for Dr. Tarc’s bio

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Lecture by Dr. Trish Salah

“Race as Kink: Reading Trans-Racial Fetishism”

Introduced by Dr. John Greyson

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
DB0014 (Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, formerly Technology Enhanced Learning [TEL] Building), YorkU

In what sense might we speak or think about race as libidinally charged? How do we understand racial identity as erotically invested and in what ways do we see object choice as racially inflected? To what extent are such libidinal economies of identity formation and object choice both ubiquitously alluded to and routinely disavowed? And what are the circumstances under which they present themselves as an occasion for scandal, crisis and conflict?

Drawing upon Freud’s discussion of the place of disavowal in the constitution of desire, this talk is an attempt to think about the persistence, and affective charge, with which analogies between transgender identities and forms of racial passing or cross-identification, increasingly named as “transracialism,” are made. In the process it will also attempt to put these concerns into relation with a few other questions. What is the legacy of phobic constructions of transsexuality as deviant and predatory masculinity in early lesbian and cultural feminist thinking for our present moment? Are there ways in which thinking through racialized desire and disavowal allow us to interpret, interfere with and revise our understandings of racialization, gendering, sexuation as such?

Click here for Dr. Salah’s bio

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Roundtable: Performing Perversion

Dr. Amber Jamilla Musser & Dr. Trish Salah in conversation with Dr. John Greyson, Dr. Sheila Cavanagh and Emelie Chhangur

Chaired by Dr. Allyson Mitchell

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
519 Kaneff, YorkU

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Lecture by Dr. Amber Jamilla Musser

“Carrie Mae Weems and the Question of Brown Jouissance”

Introduced by Dr. Sheila Cavanagh

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
519 Kaneff, YorkU

Carrie Mae Weems’ 1995-1996 installation “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried,” comprised of 34 photographic images from various archives (some of which were already in circulation) from the 19th and 20th centuries, provides an opportunity to meditate on the discourses of woundedness that permeate much thinking on race, affect, and masochism while also allowing us to theorize brown jouissance. Following Lacan, Amber Jamilla Musser takes jouissance to be the experience of being a body, what Nestor Braunstein describes as “positivity, […] ‘something’ lived by a body when pleasure stops being pleasure. It is a plus, a sensation that is beyond pleasure” (2003, 104). This lecture dwells on jouissance in order to retain the ambivalence of emotion that is provoked by Weems’ invocation of tears. Brown jouissance offers insight into thinking about this opacity as strategic, masochistic, and deeply connected to the flesh. Further, brown jouissance is not just adding race to Lacan’s concept, as Musser argues in her reading of Weems’ installation, it enables a rethinking of the relationship between psychoanalysis, femininity, and race.

Click here for Dr. Musser’s bio

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Lecture by Dr. David L. Eng  

“Race as Relation”

Introduced by Dr. David Murray

Thursday, June 8, 2017
519 Kaneff, YorkU

This lecture begins with the premise that race is not a “thing” as it is commonly understood—an unchanging biological trait, a bodily attribute, a difference of blood quantum or color, a static identity. Rather, race is a relation—a continuous, modulating relationship among subjects mediating processes of social inclusion and exclusion. This talk investigates “race as relation” in both law and psychoanalysis. It begins with an account of the idea of race as it emerged from the Transatlantic slave trade and the objectification of the slave as property. While property is conventionally thought of as a subject-object relationship, it might be better understood as a subject-subject relationship, a set of rights and privileges shaping histories of racial inclusion and exclusion in U.S. law and society among subjects. The lecture then turns to psychoanalytic theories on subject-object relations in order to consider how they rework fundamental assumptions about race and property in U.S. law and society and, in turn, how histories of race challenge ideas of the universal subject in psychoanalytic theory.

Click here for Dr. Eng’s bio

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Roundtable: Thinking Perversion Transnationally

Dr. David Eng & Dr. Aparna Mishra Tarc in conversation with Dr. David Murray and Dr. David Seitz

Chaired by Dr. Dai Kojima

Friday, June 9, 2017
519 Kaneff, YorkU

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