Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Decision and Human Instrumentality: Lacan Avec Evangelion

Hehehehehe. After a year of droning academic work in my program and going around to conferences, things are finally starting to be fun again. It all started several months ago when my advisor in my new program told me that my writing and work is "playful" and that for once this playfullness wasn't a bad thing, but was in fact a good thing! (Yen Le Espiritu, have I told you lately that I love you? yanggen ahe', pues estague i sinangan-hu!)

With the approval of my new advisor my writing is again getting freer and more interesting, and actively and eagerly resisting becoming droning, drowning and scowlingly appropriate social science prose. This goes not just for my writing, but what I write about and how I decide to appropriate shit.

To give people an idea of this, let me share with you the abstract I just submitted a few minutes ago for The Crossing Borders Conference which will be taking place next year at USC (its the California Graduate Student Ethnic Studies Programs Conference).

The Decision and Human Instrumentality: Lacan Avec Evangelion
Why Immanuel Kant Never Dated

Michael Lujan Bevacqua,,
Graduate Student, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

Are you hopelessly mired in unappetizing aporias of post-modern politics? Depressed because the particular is never really the particular? Enraged because the universal is never really the Universal? If Democracy is impossible and freedom belongs to the void, why doesn’t George W. Bush’s head explode?

As the post-structuralist hangover hits those who let the spectre of Derrida sleep on their couch and are on the verge of taking Jurgen Habermas’s calls, a number of would-be post-post-theorists are emerging with a cure. From the grandfatherly formalism of Laclau to the crusty Fidelity of Badiou, the recidivist relationship between the universal and the particular in order to re-allow the subject agency, is constantly being re-written, republished, and translated into English, even as you are reading this.

The first goal of this paper is to discuss Jacques Lacan’s theories of the subject (via Slavoj Zizek), specifically his conception of the Act and political (im)possibility. This goal is easier said than done, as hagiographers are still uncertain as to whether Lacan was a schizophrenic android from the future, or just another philosopher with bad hair. The point being, that Lacan often makes more sense in French, to English readers, then he does in English. If Hegel is the proverbial “bone in the throat,” then would Lacan be the prototypical “pain in the ass?”

The second more interesting goal of this paper is my attempt to “breakdown” Lacan for those who find his theories useless, depressing or annoying. As a hapless fanatic of Slavoj Zizek, my intervention will take an intentionally unorthodox character and combine culturally “low” objects (Weezer songs, the anime Evangelion and Harry Potter books) with culturally “high” ones (Kant, Lacan, Hegel) in an effort to express the political potential of both Lacanain theory and psychoanalysis in analysis of race and the nation.

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