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Speaker Series: Dan Collins

On Jacques Lacan’s Middle Seminars (XII and XIII)

In collaboration with SFU Institute for the Humanities

When: March 26th, 7PM to 9PM

Where: Room 2205, SFU Woodwards


The “middle seminars” occupy a curious position in Lacan’s career. Between the major turning points of Seminar 11, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, and Seminar 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, the middle seminars occupy an ambiguous terrain. In Seminar 11, Lacan insisted upon  the subject’s determination by the Other, by language, by the network of the signifiers. This strict determination raised the question, Where is the place of the subject? Lacan spends the middle seminars, 12, 13, 14, and 15, trying to answer this question. 

Seminar 12, Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, and Seminar 13, The Object of Psychoanalysis, address the subject and the object respectively, and they prepare for Seminar 14, The Logic of Fantasy. In Seminars 12 and 13, we find Lacan exploring and groping towards new ways to talk about the subject. One of the surprising things about the middle seminars is that as he explores, Lacan gives intimations and hints of ideas and formulations that will only be developed much later in his career. Thus the middle seminars are fascinating in that they show the birth of many new Lacanian ideas. 

In these talks, we’ll explore Seminars 12 and 13, and we’ll look at the ways in which Lacan attempts to overcome obstacles to thought and to break through impasses. We’ll look both back, to the problems introduced in Seminar 11, and forward, to the resolutions of those problems announced in Seminar 17. These talks will take a rigorous look at Seminars 12 and 13, but no prior knowledge of the seminars is assumed.

Bio: Dan Collins, PhD, MSW, lives and works in Buffalo, NY. He is a member of Lacan Toronto, where he is Program and Education director and gives an annual seminar. He is also a guest member of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and an overseas member of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland. Dan lectures and publishes widely in psychoanalysis, and he translates frequently, most often texts by Jacques Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller. This summer, a collection of essays on the drive that Dan co-edited with Eve Watson—called Critical Essays on the Drive: Lacanian Theory and Practice—will be published by Routledge.