The Dead Father
a two-day international symposium
April 29-30, 2006

Symposium Study Groups for APM members

In conjunction with the April 2006 symposium on the Dead Father, the APM will sponsor a yearlong study group. Each meeting will focus either on the work of one of the symposium speakers or on aspects of the central theme of the symposium—an exploration of the father in unconscious mental life.

meetings will be held at George Sagi's office
254 West 102nd Street

RSVP for each meeting to Edith Cooper by email or by phone 212-873-7887

Friday, September 30th
8:00 - 9:00 pm

Totem and Taboo
discussion led by George Sagi, M.D. and Stuart Taylor, M.D.
Totem meal to be served!

The group will discuss Freud's overdetermined and underappreciated classic, which informs various contemporary theories of group psychology


Freud, Totem and Taboo, SE13

Paul, RA (1976), Did the Primal Crime Take Place?, Ethos 4(3):311-53.

Vanier, A (2001), Some remarks on adolescence with particular reference to Winnicott and Lacan, Psychoan. Q. LXX:579-97.

Tuesday, October 25th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of Vincent Crapanzano
discussion led by Lila Kalinich, M.D. and Andreas Kraebber, M.D.

Vincent Crapanzano is Distuinguished Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His interest focus on the epistemology of interpretation and the articulation of experience.

Vincent Crapanzano: Tuhami: A Portrait of a Moroccan. Chicago, U. of Chicago Press, 1980.

"Moments of the Self in Psychoanalysis: A Conversation with Vincent Crapanzano." in Where Id Was: Challenging Normalization in Psychoanalysis, edited by Anthony Molino and Christine Ware, Wesleyan U. Press, Middleton, CT, pp. 119-129.

strongly recommended reading:

Vincent Crapanzano: Imaginative Horizons, U. of Chicago Press, 2004. Chapters 5 & 6.

Wednesday, November 30th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

Seminal Contributions on Fatherhood in American Psychoanalysis from 1975 to 1985
discussion led by John Munder Ross, Ph.D.

This study group will focus on the initially controversial contributions of Ernst Albelin, Peter Blos, James Herzog and John Munder Ross in the late 70’s and early 80’s on fatherhood and fathering. Salient among these are: Abelin’s hypotheses regarding early triangulation and preodipal gender differences in this regard; Herzog’s emphasis on father hunger and the role of the father representation in the modulation of the aggressive drive, Blos’ introduction of the “negative complex” throughout development, and Ross’ concept of paternal identity and the intersubjective developmental dialogue between fathers and sons, including the “Laius complex.” These notions challenged the existing matrifocal view of preoedipal development and the traditional “one-person” positive Oedipus complex, all within the context of Mahler’s separation – individuation theory. As Bowlby’s attachment theory gained ascendance after Mahler’s death in 1985, with a further de-emphasis of internal representations, “the father” once again fell out of the picture.

Abelin, E. (1971). The role of the father in the separation-individuation process. In J. B. McDevitt and C. F. Settlage, eds., Seperation-Individuation. New York: IUP.

______ (1975). Some further observations and comments on the earliest role of the father. Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 56:293-302

Blos, P. (1985). Son and Father. J. Amer. Psycho-anal. Assn. 32: 301-324.

Herzog, J. (1980). Sleep Disorder and Father hunger.  Psychoanalitic Study of the Child 135.

______(1984). Fathers and Young Children: Fathering Daughters and Fathering Sons. Frontiers of Infant Psychiatry, vol. 2, ed. J. Call, E. Galeson, and R. Tyson. New York: Basic Books.

Ross, J. M. (1975). The development of paternal identity: A critical review of the literature on nurturance and generativity in boys and men. J. Amer. Psycho-anal. Assn. 23:783-817.

______ (1979a). Fathering: A review of some psychoanalytic contributions on paternity. Int J. Psycho-Anal. 60:317-327.

______ (1982). Oedipus Revisited: Laius and the Laius Complex. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 37:169-200.

Thursday, December 15th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of Eric Laurent
discussion led by Maria Christina Augirre, Ph.D.
"There are those who think that there is change of authority regime in our society, that we have gone from a society of fathers to a society of peers where authority is no longer accepted as the traditional way and that we are either in a society of brothers or in a society of mothers where authority is permanently negotiated, always immanent without transcendence. And that what this society of brothers hides is the fear of the dead father or something else.

What a society of mothers or a society of women who affirm themselves as such defines through a new way of functioning, isn't it a new functioning of the love of the father? Aren't we rather confronted to a new place of the father, more modest but Irreducible?

Modernity displaces the father through science, democracy and by the empowerment of women. The way psychoanalytic discourse situates the role of the father is also displaced. We will see in these articles, and it is paradoxical, Lacan's position. He demonstrates that the Freudian father is a logical function, therefore irreducible and at the same time in our culture, this function doesn't go through the fathers themselves.

The function of the Name-of-the-Father is supported by others than the fathers. It may happen that the father bears the Name-of-the-Father, but it may also be that is a woman, it may also be a discourse, and we will see how.

These articles [we will read] explore this problematic through different points of view. This perspective has a pragmatic consequence: the handling of interpretation depends on this beyond the Oedipus."

Eric Laurent, November 2005


Laurent, E.: A Master Class—From Montreal to Rome (Eric Laurent reads The Triumph of Religion) [Lacan, J., Le Triomphe de la Religion, preceded by Discours aux Catholiques, Ed. Du Seuil, Coll. Champ Freudien, Seuil, Paris, 2005]

_____ Symptom, Discourse: In/out

_____ The Name of the Father: Between Realism and Nominalism (translated by Edward Kenny)

_____ The Name-of-the-Father; Psychoanalysis and Democracy (translated by Maria Christina Augirre)

Wednesday, January 11th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of André Green
discussion led by Helen Meyers, M.D., and Andreas Kraebber, M.D.

Andre Green is one of the current most influential analysts in France. A major contributor to psychoanalysis as a theorist and a clinician, he always linked his theory with practice. A member of the psychoanalytic society of Paris, he attended Lacan’s Semenaire for a number of years but then split with Lacan and developed his own original ideas, although he always acknowledged Lacan’s influence on his work, along with that of Bion and Winnicott, but most importantly, Freud.

“A living encyclopedia, Green touched on almost every aspect of psychoanalysis and the surrounding disciplines, but his most famous contributions dwell on the issues of narcissism, the psychoanalytic setting and process, ‘the work of the negative’ in psychoanalysis, representation, language and time. His paper ‘The Dead Mother’, however, is probably his best known, providing the most suggestive metaphor regarding his clinical work with narcissistic pathologies” (Kohon, 1999), and is most relevant to our symposium topic of “The Dead Father”.

In our discussion group, obviously we cannot cover even a portion of his work. We will stress his adherence to Freud’s earlier concepts and his disagreement with ego psychology. We will try to cover the concept of “The Dead Mother” and “Absence”, the
concept of “the work of the negative”, “thirdness” in the psychoanalytic setting, his work with borderline and narcissistic pathology, and the role of affect.


Green, A: “The Dead Mother” in On Private Madness. IUP. 1972, pp. 142-173.

_____ The introductory chapter in his book The Work of the Negative, 1973 OR “The Intuition of the Negative in Playing and Reality”. Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 1997, pp. 1071-1084.

_____ “Thirdness and Psychoanalytic Concepts” Psychoan. Q., Vol. LXX111, 2004, pp. 99-135.

Reed, G. and Baudry, F.: “Conflict, Structure, and Absence: Andre Green on Borderline and Narcissistic Pathology”. Psychoan. Q. Vol. LXX1V, 2005, pp. 121-155.

Friday, February 3rd
buffet dinner at 7:00 pm
film at 7:45 pm
Wednesday, February 22nd
8:00 - 9:30 pm

The work of Julia Kristeva
discussion led by Joel Whitebook, Ph.D.

Julia Kristeva emigrated to Paris from Bulgaria at the age of 24 to pursue her graduate studies in linguistics. She quickly became involved with the avant garde theoretical and political groups of the day. In 1979, she began a career as a psychoanalyst.

Kristeva's most important innovation came in reaction to the prevailing structuralist-oriented theories of Lacan. Against Lacan's almost exclusive emphasis on the oedipus complex, the father and language, all of which he subsumed under the Symbolic, she asserted the equal importance of what she called the Semiotic, that is, the preoedipal, the mother and the body. While Kristeva has had an ambivalent attitude towards feminism, feminists have drawn on her work extensively.

Because she was herself was an outsider, Kristeva has been particularly sensitive to the plight of the marginal and the oppressed and used her psychoanalytic understanding to develop a theory of abjection, which she thought could help explicate the nature of oppression. In our study group, we will examine representative texts from different stage of Kristeva's career in order to try to understand the unity of her project.


Guberman, R.M. Julia Kritseva Interviews, Columbia University Press, 1996, pp. 1-17

Kristeva, J. "Semiotics: A Critical Science and/or a Critique of Science", "Stabat Mater" and "Freud and Love: Treatment and its Discontents" in Kristeva Reader. Columbia University Press, 1986

Thursday, March 9th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of Marilia Aisenstein
discussion led by Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, M.D.

Marilia Aisenstein is of Greek origin. She studied Philosophy and then trained as a psychoanalyst in Paris. She is a former president of the Parisian Psychoanalytic Society (IPA Member), and was very active in obtaining official approval from the French administration for this analytic society. She was in charge of a discussion group with the Lacanian schools in France in order to make the voice of psychoanalysts heard by the lawmakers who recently wrote a law on psychotherapy practice in France. She represents Europe at the IPA Executive Committee.

In Paris, she has a private practice, and for a long time was involved in public mental health institutions, treating psychotic and borderline patients. She was the president of the Psychoanalytic Institute for Psychosomatic Diseases (IPSO, in Paris), a clinic for psychoanalytic psychotherapy and research for patients suffering from severe somatic diseases.

She is very close to Andre Green's thinking, but she developed a specific view on psychosomatic balance. Her work with extreme cases of patients suffering from painful, disabling and even deadly somatic disorders has led her to advance the hypothesis of how the failure of masochism, the existential dimension of the psyche and the guardian of life, is founded on the failure of primary, erotogenic masochism. Secondarily, masochism can constitute an attempt at healing. Pain plays a predominant part in this process; Freud points out that 'the way in which we gain a new knowledge of our organs during painful illnesses is perhaps a model of the way by which in general we arrive at the idea of our body' (1923, pp. 25-6). This may imply that the economy of masochism is essential to this work of representation.

In our study group, we will examine some of her papers on Psychosomatic, and some of her views on the psychoanalytic process.

readings: TBA
Thursday, March 30th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of Rosine Perelberg
discussion by Jonathan House, M.D.
Rosine Jozef Perelberg is a Training Analyst and Supervisor, Fellow of the British Psycho-analytical Society. She is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychoanalytic Theory at University College, London, where she is coordinator of the Freud Seminars and of the seminars on Sexuality. She is currently preparing a volume on Freud's work "Freud: The Dynamics of the Unconscious", and a book entitled "Time and Space in Psychoanalysis".

The two papers I have chosen are great fun to read. While each aims at making contributions to the theory of technique and metatheory—the psychoanalytic theory of mind—each also contains extended (but not too long) accounts of beautiful clinical work. These clinical narratives are stimulating beyond the specific aims of the papers. The richness in terms of both issues raised and clinical material allows us multiple points of entry.

My notion for the evening is to give a bit of an explication du text and also my own thoughts about some of the theory that particularly interests me and that is, I think, central for Perelberg. Specifically, in the first paper I will comment on Perelberg's notion of core phantasy and in the second paper will take up the questions of representation, pulsion and femininity.

However, the discussion might take off in other directions if some seminar members would like to do the same thing from another angle - i.e. give a brief explanation/account/example of something from one of the papers - e.g., Perelberg's clinical technique - and then offer some thoughts about that angle.


Perelberg, R.J. (2003). Full and empty spaces in the analytic
process. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 84: 579-592.

Perelberg, R. J. (1995). A Core Phantasy In Violence. International
Journal of Psychoanalysis, 76: 1215-1231.

Perelberg, R. J. (1999). The Interplay Between Identifications and
Identity in the Analysis of a Violent Young Man. International
Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80:31-45.

Wednesday, April 19th
8:30 - 10:00 pm

The work of Thomas Laqueur
discussion by Craig Tomlinson, M.D.
Thomas W. Laqueur is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of groundbreaking studies in the area of European cultural history, ranging from the role of religion in working class culture in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to the several studies on the history of the body and sexuality for which he is best known.

More recently, he has been completing a study in the history of responses to, and representations of, death and their pervasive effect on culture and memory.

(three are book excerpts, the last two available online)

Orgasm, Generation, and the Politics of Reproductive Biology. In: The Making of the Modern Body. Sexuality and society in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Catherine Gallagher and Thomas Laqueur, 1987, pp. 1-41.

Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, in: Freud's Problem. Harvard Univ. Press, 1990, pp. 233-243,

Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation. in: Freud, Masturbation and the Self. Zone Books, 2003, pp. 381-397.

Spaces of the Dead In: Ideas from the National Humanities Center vol. 8. no. 2. (2001)

You may also be interested in seeing a video of the lecture, The Dead Among the Living in Modernity, given at Yale Law School in March 2005, as well as an interview with Thomas Laqueur

CME evaluation for Symposium Study Group
recommended reading list for symposium
last updated 4/20/06