CFP: Ireland in Psychoanalysis 2: Razed Catholic?

Ireland in Psychoanalysis 2: Razed Catholic?

Buffalo, New York

September 28-29, 2018

How might the resources of psychoanalysis be mobilized to address the history of Catholic theocracy in Ireland? Might they be used, in the first instance, to confront the manifold harm to which the Church has subjected its most vulnerable members? Given the power of the Church in Irish gender and sexual politics, can feminist and/or queer psychoanalytic theory clarify how sexuality was managed in state-sanctioned Catholic institutions? Or, confronting the reality of ‘endemic’ abuse in those institutions, might Melanie Klein’s concept of ‘reparation’ help frame the necessary mechanisms of redress? If we have been razed Catholic might we not, in response, raze Catholicism from the Irish psyche, its institutions, and its Constitution? Could, for example, a text like The Psychopathology of Everyday Life help to illuminate continuities between reprehended variants of child abuse, like rape and predation, and the more widely accepted form that links the prospect of eternal punishment to loss of parental love?


How might the resources of psychoanalysis be deployed, in turn, to address Ireland’s post-Catholic predicament? In Ireland, where Catholicism has always been more than a religion—a whole way of life, a structure of subjectivity—what might ‘post-Catholic’ be made to mean? And what does post-Catholic Ireland have to offer those raised, and razed, by Catholicism? Given our propensity for stubborn attachments (Butler) and cruel optimism (Berlant), is there potential for spiritual liberation, or renewal, in Ireland post-Catholicism? Might the Church play a role in such a process? Or are we condemned to repeat our mistakes? In this age of austerity, for example, are we simply re-paying spiritual debts imposed on our forebears? Might we link the mechanisms of austerity to those of original sin and penance? In this context, what of the imbrications of Catholicism and class? Finally, what have Ireland’s cultural practitioners—its writers and artists—had to say about the exercise and collapse of moral authority in the Catholic Church? And how might psychoanalysis interpret such efforts? These, and all related questions, will be the subject of a conference to be held in Buffalo, NY, from September 28-29, 2018. The conference will consist in plenary sessions, and there will be some funds for graduate student travel (indicate your interest at time of proposal). Proposals (300 words) by March 1st, 2018 to:


We are seeking two papers to complete a panel, “The Catholic church and moral terrorism”. For consideration, please indicate interest at time of submission.