[Msa-discuss] Performance beyond the Pleasure Principle: ACLA, 2018

Martin Harries martin.harries at uci.edu
Thu Sep 14 17:25:25 EDT 2017

Performance Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Seminar, ACLA, 2018

Co-Organizers: Martin Harries and Julia Jarcho

There would seem to be many compelling reasons for scholars concerned 
with performance and theater to engage Freud’s /Beyond the Pleasure 
Principle/ (1920). For one, the text rethinks the concept of repetition, 
a central term in the theory of performance. For another, it contains 
the germ of a theory of tragedy, reinflecting Freud’s earlier meditation 
on “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage” (1904). Yet despite its 
obvious importance to modern cultural studies and literary scholarship 
more broadly, /Beyond the Pleasure Principle/ does not now play a large 
role in theories of theater and performance.  Should it? How might it 
illuminate problems and structures specific to these fields, and/or 
particular performances, plays, or films? Conversely, how might these 
shed light on Freud’s essay?

We seek papers that combine attention to /Beyond the Pleasure Principle/ 
with the analysis of performance(s) or theater texts, as well as those 
that focus on questions of performance in Freud’s text. While arguments 
developed within a psychoanalytic framework are welcome, we also 
encourage papers that turn to Freud’s text as a resource, provocation, 
or foil outside the parameters of a theoretical commitment to 
psychoanalysis. Topics might include psychic repetition and theatrical 
repetition; the death drive and performance; /Beyond the Pleasure 
Principle/ as a text about (or “indebted to”) theater; Freud and 
theories of tragedy; or dialectics of eros and unpleasure. This list is 
partial, and we invite all proposals that think about scripted and 
embodied performance in light (and dark) of this curious text.


To submit a paper proposal:


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