Critics have famously accused psychoanalysis of finding sexuality where it doesn’t belong. This panel features two presentations that show how sexuality is at work in medicine, culture and the law—even where it’s unacknowledged. In “How to do the History of Autism?” Stephen Haswell Todd argues that Freud’s concept of autoeroticism, a cornerstone of his sexual theory, survives in an unlikely place: in the etymology of the term ‘autism.’ Autism’s many and varied determinations, some quite different from its modern sense, reveal a history of attempts to name and define a “relation-to-self” at the heart of both sexuality and inter-subjectivity. Yasmin Nair’s “Queers and Sex Offender Registries” questions the priorities of the mainstream gay rights movement—same-sex marriage, hate crime legislation, military service—when many queers are on sex offender registries for a range of acts that are deliberately criminalized according to notions of appropriate sex. How might we think about legal and social implications without simply calling for queers to be freed from any criminal persecution or arguing for yet another form of respectability?
//Part of the Sexuality and the Body Politic track at the inaugural conference of the Society for Psychoanalytic Inquiry, May 17-19, 2013 at the University of Chicago.
Trent Leipert is a Ph.D. candidate in music history and theory at the University of Chicago. His dissertation concerns the composition of the subject as a subject of composition in European music of the later 20th century.
Yasmin Nair is a writer, academic, and activist based in Uptown, Chicago. She is a co-founder of the editorial collective Against Equality (againstequality.org) and the Volunteer Policy Director of Gender JUST, a local grassroots organization. Her website is yasminnair.net.
Stephen Haswell Todd is a PhD candidate in the department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. His dissertation is on the conceptual origins of autism in psychoanalysis and phenomenology. His larger field of interest is literature and literary theory in German, French, and English circa 1800–1950. He also writes on political theory, especially Hannah Arendt.
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