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Lacan and Race - The ‘Real’ of Race is a Course

Lacan and Race - The ‘Real’ of Race

Started Apr 10, 2021

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Full course description

Saturday, April 10th, 12-3 pm (EST)-- Fully Online Workshop

Eligible for 3 CEs for LMHCs, and Psychologists

Discounts available for current Boston College students, faculty, and staff, email for more information. 

While there are many psychoanalytic notions that appear in everyday conceptualizations of racism (ideas of projection, fantasy, of unconscious aspects of racist thought, etc.), there is one crucial psychoanalytic concept that has not as yet been understood beyond the domain of Lacanian thought, and which has great political significance for how race - and particularly, 'Blackness' - might be experienced and understood today. The concept in question - one of the most challenging of Lacan's contributions to psychoanalysis and social theory - is the idea of the ‘Real.' 

The 'Real', one of Lacan's famous three registers (the other two being the Imaginary and the Symbolic), is afforded varying definitions and conceptualizations across Lacan's work, but it generally refers to that which exceeds the Symbolic (is not reducible to, or bound by, language) and also escapes the realm of the Imaginary (is not capturable within the confines of an image or imaginary identification). Variously understood as that which is traumatic, formless, 'outside of language,' impossible, or 'that which always returns,' the Real proves an important category in understanding various instantiations of race and racism. 

This session will introduce the notion of the Real in Lacan and then explore - with frequent reference to the work of Frantz Fanon - how the Real is a crucial component in the making not only of political but also racializing and racist subjectivity. Some crucial areas of consideration: the Real of racializing embodiment (how disjunctions between body and ego experience are traumatically exacerbated by racism, as in Fanon's discussion of 'corporeal malediction'); how Blackness is engendered not as a viable Symbolic subject position but as that definitively external to what is human (as is argued in Afropessimism); the relation of the Real to trauma and repetition; and the Real’s agitation of the drive in acts of racism.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this presentation the participant will be able to:

  1. Describe how Lacan’s concept of the Real allows us to understand conditions of lack associated with Blackness, and race more broadly.
  2. Analyze how Lacan’s concept of the Real that “always come back to the same place” may be linked to repeated invocations of race and racism.

Timeline and Requirements:

The course will take place on April 10th, 2021.  This workshop is instructor-led and is a fully online experience. This will be conducted synchronously online via (Zoom) from 12:00 pm-3:00 pm (EST).

CE Sponsorship: 

University Counseling Services of Boston College is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. As a co-sponsor of this program, University Counseling Services of Boston College maintains responsibility for this program and its content." Participants will be eligible to receive 3 CEs units from University Counseling Services of Boston College. 

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development is providing sponsorship for CEUs for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). Participants will be eligible to receive 3 CEs unit. These credits are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (Category I contact hours in Content Area I).

Participants must attend the workshop in full and complete the post event survey to be eligible to receive CEs.

This lecture does not offer CEs for other clinicians not listed above. 

Fees & Policies:

Payment is due by credit card at registration. Registration closes April 9th at 5pm. Refunds will be granted only up until registration closes at 5pm on April 9th. No refunds will be granted for registration or technical errors on the participant's part (such as incorrect name/email, login failure, etc.).

Additional offerings from the Lynch School Professional & Continuing Education Office can be found on our website