Philadelphia Lacan Study Group

Friday, April 26, 2013 (Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28, 2013)


Affiliated Psychoanalytic Workgroups, The Philadelphia Lacan Group, Das Unbehagen, Fordham University English Department, The Psychoanalysis Workshop at the New School, and the California Psychoanalytic Circle present:
Psychoanalysis and Laughter, an APW Study Weekend
Friday April 26-Sunday April 28, 2013
Fordham, Lincoln Center Campus New York City

“Laughter is America’s most important export.” — Walt Disney

What does psychoanalysis have to tell us about laughter? In his Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905), Freud famously illuminated the Witz’s linguistic and economic properties. Linguistically, the Witz “works” like the dream (by condensation and displacement); economically, it bypasses the “inhibiting factor” both in the teller of the joke and in the listener. Jokes are serious business for Freud: like dreams, they allow aggression an acceptable form, establishing a social tie while satisfying repressed wishes.
Jokes are serious business for Lacan too. Of necessity, the analysand speaks “à coté du vrai” (beside truth) because speech ignores the real. In the symptom, however, the real manifests itself by not stopping, just like the persistent grin of the Cheshire cat. The fact that the cat disappears shows that truth lies, that the fantasy is not all. The real remains beyond truth’s disappearance. Laughter comes from the Greek “gelos.” We read the word first in Homer when the poet describes the gods’ laughter as “Asbestos gelos,” “fireproof or inextinguishable laughter.” Similarly, Lacanian psychoanalysis, which aims at the real by way of equivocation or the half-said, is one long extended joke. And the analysand’s burst of laughter is a proof that the real is touched. The Walt Disney quotation above begs the crucial question: is laughter a critique of ideology or its guarantee?

Register at

Scheduled to speak:
Nuar Alsadir, Damir Arsenijevic, Yael Goldman, Olga Cox Cameron, Simon Critchley, Jessica Datema, Todd Dean, Marcel Drach, Ezra Feinberg, Rolf Flor, Michael Stuart Garfinkle, Patricia Gherovici, Russell Grigg, Haukur Ingi Jónasson, Ben Kafka, Todd Kesselman, Patrick Landman, Guy Le Gaufet, David Lichtenstein, Anthony Mangicapra, André Michels, Paola Mieli, Elizabeth Monahan, Geneviève Morel, Jean-Jacques Moscovitz, Dany Nobus, Ray O’Neill, Orna Ophir, Carol Owens, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Steven Reisner, C. Edward Robins, Vanessa Sinclair, Mark Stafford, Manya Steinkoler, Martin Stone, Barbara Tholfsen, Lisa Trahair ,Wilfried Ver Eecke, Richard Vergez, Eve Watson, Jamieson Webster, Martin Winn, P.G.Young.

For information and registration visit