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Traumatophilia: Notes on Libidinal Fugitivity

May 16 @ 8:30pm - 10:30pm EDT

Presented by Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.

Psychoanalytic thinking teaches us that trauma leaves the subject fractured, less agentic, more subject to iterative, stalled revisitations of the traumatic event. With the help of Jean Laplanche’s metapsychology, Saketopoulou will discuss how significant possibilities for psychic transformation and for contact with experience are courted when we make ourselves passible (Lyotard, Scarfone) to returning to the site of the trauma. Drawing our attention away from the usual – and somewhat rigid – framework of repetition compulsion, this presentation foregrounds a different approach: traumatophilia. Traumatophilia concerns itself less with what to do about trauma, which Saketopoulou describes as traumatophobic, and rather draws attention to what subjects do with their trauma. Therein we find ourselves in the domain of limit consent, that psychic territory where we encounter the vexed entanglements between freedom and constraint, and wherefrom traumatized subjects can make bids to enlarged psychic freedoms. The trauma of slavery and racism’s durational persistence offer premier sites and searing examples for discussing these ideas, revealing that traumatophobic paradigms generate new, specifically psychoanalytic forms of racism.

APsA Staff