Talk:The Seminar

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I would suggest that a better way to read Lacan is through the seminars and the accompanying Readings published by SUNY Press (see 'Works on Jacques Lacan' below).

The seminar is unquestionably an unusual reading experience.

Each seminar contains approximately 25 presentations from the fortnightly seminar (although they get shorter as Lacan reduces his theory to a set of mathematical formulas in his final years).

While each presentation is supposed to pick up and follow on from the week before, the connections can often be tenuous.

Unlike the Écrits, the seminars are not difficult to read, but it can still be hard to follow the train of associations and links that Lacan makes. Usually, though, in a performative flourish Lacan will pull the whole presentation together in the final moments and provide a startlingly clear and understandable formulation of what he has been talking about.

So, however bewildering the seminar might seem, it is always worth following it through.

From the currently published seminars a good place to start would be Seminars II, VII and XI.



seminar (séminaire)


From 1953 to 1980, the Séminaire of the french psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) is the laboratory, the work-in-progress for his « Return to Freud » project. A return to the real meaning of Freud's discovery, including the recent contributions made by linguistics (Saussure, Jakobson) and structural anthropology (Lévi-Strauss), and then through formal logic and topology.

Lacan's Séminaire was a singular place and moment, almost weekly, every year from november to june. Without any connection with university, it was public and open to everyone. In the beginning, Lacan reads through again and comments on the works of Freud for a limited audience made of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in training. Later, as Lacan's thought goes more and more original and as his exuberant personnality - His Style - makes him known beyond the strictly psychoanalytical circles, the Séminaire becomes a kind of place in vogue where you sometimes wanted to be seen. You could see lacanian analysts, some patients of these analysts, students, artists or intellectuals (for example, Philippe Sollers is known for frequenting the Séminaire in the 70's). At this time, Lacan often complains about the growing size of his audience.

Initially started at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne (Paris, 1953-1963), the Séminaire continues at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (Paris, 1964-1969) with the help of Louis Althusser and Claude Lévi-Strauss when Lacan is banned from the International Psychoanalytic Association in 1963 (his Séminaire becomes unwelcome at Sainte-Anne). Finally, the last Séminaires take place in the Faculté de Droit Panthéon (Paris, 1969-1980).

Every year, during the first session, Lacan announces a title, a theme. The early Séminaires are mostly centered on commenting the main classical psychoanalysis concepts (the Ego, the transference, the indentification, etc.). Later, themes and titles became more strictly lacanian (sometimes based on homophonies and puns) as the concepts and their models (logic or topologic) become really specific and personal.

Very few sessions were previously written up by Lacan, so a stenographer had to transcribe the whole sessions (http://www.ecole-lacanienne.net/bibliotheque.php?id=13). However, at the present time, only 12 Séminaires out of 27 have been published. The composition of a text from the stenographies (or even from the audio material) has always seemed to come up against the fundamentally oral nature of Lacan's teaching and his totally improvising style. The first official publications of the Séminaire started in the early 70's, but in such a slowly rate that many unofficial versions of unpublished Séminaires have immediatly spread into the psychoanalysts circles.

The first known private audio recordings of the Séminaire seems to date from 1969. Curiously, despite Lacan's famous verve or grandiloquence and his matchless improvising oral style, none of the 500 sessions has been cleanly and officially recorded (neither audio nor video).

Definition

A seminar is a form of academic teaching, at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization, in small groups where students are requested to actively participate during meetings. This often has to be done by presenting a paper in class and also in written form. Normally, participants must not be beginners. The idea behind seminars is to confront students with the methodology of their chosen subject and also to familiarise them with practical problems that might crop up during their research work. Often a seminar will be open to discussion, where questions can be raised and debates conducted.

Another form of academic teaching is lecturing, a form which involves larger student groups with less active participation. In some European universities a seminar can be a large lecture course, especially when conducted by a renowned thinker, regardless of the size of the audience or its participation in discussion.

--


Name-of-the-Father was to be the next seminar, but only a single session was given, on November 25, 1963, at Sainte-Anne Hospital.

Lacan stopped giving this seminar when he learned that the International Psychoanalytical Association had refused to reinstate him as a training analyst.

Each seminar contains approximately 25 presentations from the weekly seminar]].

While each presentation is supposed to pick up and follow on from the week before, the connections can often be tenuous.

Unlike the Écrits, the seminars are not difficult to read, but it can still be hard to follow the train of associations and links that Lacan makes.

Usually, though, in a performative flourish Lacan will pull the whole presentation together in the final moments and provide a startlingly clear and understandable formulation of what he has been talking about.

The individual seminars that make up Lacan's seminar are as follows:

Because Lacan was old and ill, seminar 27 was not delivered publicly but only published.

It dealt with the dissolution of his school,École freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris).


References