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Lacan and the Nonhuman | The Pagrave Lacan Series
Thakur, Gautam Basu and Jonathan Michael Dickstein (Eds)
Palgrave Macmillan / Hardcover / 2017-11-01 / 3319638165
price: $141.95 (may be subject to change)
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This book initiates the discussion between psychoanalysis and recent humanist and social scientific interest in a fundamental contemporary topic – the nonhuman. The authors question where we situate the subject (as distinct from the human) in current critical investigations of a nonanthropoentric universe. In doing so they unravel a less-than-human theory of the subject; explore implications of Lacanian teachings in relation to the environment, freedom, and biopolitics; and investigate the subjective enjoyments of and anxieties over nonhumans in literature, film, and digital media. This innovative volume fills a valuable gap in the literature, extending investigations into an important and topical strand of the social sciences for both analytic and pedagogical purposes.


“The idea of theoretical antihumanism and of an inhuman subject played an important role in contemporary French thought, from Lacan to Badiou. Lately, cognitive sciences proposed another version of antiumanism: the idea that we are entering a posthuman era. In this way, posthumanism is no longer a theoretical proposal but a matter of our daily lives. Can these two aspects be brought together? Lacan and the Nonhuman deals with this topic, and this is why it is an epoch-making book whose potentials are explosive - both sides lose their innocence. Nothing will be the same after this book.” (Slavoj Žižek)

“One could argue that Lacan has from the beginning of his teaching gestured to the “nonhuman” with his conception of language as structure, that language, as Maire Jaanus explains, “has nothing ‘human’ about it. Signifiers are dead.” In this strikingly original and provocative collection of essays by established and new scholars, the current “nonhuman turn” in the humanities is explored through a Lacanian orientation. The collection rewards both new readers of Lacan as well as experienced readers of Lacan and importantly engages some of Lacan’s later seminars which have been woefully under-engaged in the U.S. for too many years. Readers will be startled by the new angles of vision that Lacan’s early and later work opens up in the “non-anthropocentric humanities.” (Antonio Viego, Duke University, USA and author of Dead Subjects: Toward a Politics of Loss in Latino Studies)

“Lacan and the Nonhuman is a truly forceful, delightfully inspiring collection of essays. It does not simply add Lacan to the corpus of nonhuman studies, but gives to the notion of nonhuman a whole new twist, as well as a most engaging and productive philosophical edge.” (Alenka Zupancic, Professor of Philosophy and Psychoanalysis at The European Graduate School)

Table of Contents:

Chicken Knowledge: Or, What Does the Nonhuman Want?
Basu Thakur, Gautam (et al.)

Toward a Less-Than-Human Psychoanalysis: Coitus Interruptus and the Object
Webster, Jamieson

A Horse: No Worse? Phobia and the Failure of Human Metaphors in Psychoanalysis
Pietrusza, Celeste (et al.)

The Human Not in the Human
Kordela, A. Kiarina

L’extermination de tout Symbolisme des Cieux: Reading the Lacanian Letter as Inhuman ‘Apparatus’ and Its Implications for Ecological Thinking
Spicer, Kevin Andrew

Lacanian Anti-Humanism and Freedom
Pluth, Ed

The Sovereign Signifier: Agamben and the Nonhuman
Eisenstein, Paul

Triplicity in Spencer-Brown, Lacan, and Poe
Kunze, Don

Like an Animal: A Simile Instead of a Subject
McGowan, Todd

Beckett’s ‘Marionette Theater’: Psychoanalysis, Ontological Violence, and the Language of Desubjectification in Stories and The Unnamable
Duncan, Amanda

Do Electric Sheep Dream of Androids?: On the Place of Fantasy in Consideration of the Nonhuman
Neill, Calum

ASMR Mania, Trigger-Chasing, and the Anxiety of Digital Repletion
Manon, Hugh S.

For the Love of Nonhumanity: Anxiety, the Phallus, Transference, and Algorithmic Criticism
Dickstein, Jonathan Michael

About the Editors:

Gautam Basu Thakur is Associate Professor of English at Boise State University, USA where he teaches courses in critical theory, postcoloniality and globalization, and British Empire studies. His first book, Postcolonial Theory and Avatar, was published in 2015.

Jonathan Michael Dickstein is an independent scholar. He teaches literature and media studies and researches connections between psychoanalysis, mathematics, and narrative theory.

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Palgrave Macmillan
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The Palgrave Lacan Series