Search icon

CLINICAL ENCOUNTERS Psychoanalytic Practice & Queer Theory

Posted on May 15, 2009 by Administrator

The Gender, Culture & Society Seminars @ UL



Psychoanalytic Practice & Queer Theory

Friday, 15 May 2009
1:30 – 4 pm
Room CG054, Main Building (Block C on the ground floor)
University of Limerick


Dr Noreen Giffney (UL)
Eve Watson (Psychoanalyst & Independent Colleges, Dublin)

Responses by

Dr Carol Owens (Psychoanalyst & TCD/DCU)
Dr Carmen Kuhling (UL)

Queer theory and psychoanalysis both share an interest in subjectivity, desire, identity, relationality, ethics, power, discourse and norms. In spite of this, there have been few attempts to enact a dialogue between the two fields. Indeed, the development of queer theory has been deeply influenced by psychoanalysis in what currently amounts to a one-way traffic of knowledge. This seminar offers an opportunity to discuss a collaborative book project in progress: Clinical Encounters: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory, co-edited by Noreen Giffney (a queer theorist who is currently in clinical training in the object relations tradition of psychoanalysis) and Eve Watson (a Lacanian psychoanalyst with teaching and research interests in queer theory). This seminar will pose and discuss two questions: How might we introduce queer theory to psychoanalytic practitioners? What might the theoretical efforts of cultural specialists in gender and sexuality offer psychoanalysts for their clinical work?

Required Reading:

Judith Butler, ‘Melancholy Gender/Refused Identification’, in The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 132-150. Copies available from


Noreen Giffney is Junior Lecturer in Women’s Studies, Department of Sociology at the University of Limerick and is in clinical training in the object relations tradition of psychoanalysis at Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Queer Theory [The Key Concepts] (Berg 2010) and the co-editor of Twenty-First Century Lesbian Studies (Taylor and Francis 2007), Queering the Non/Human [Queer Interventions] (Ashgate 2008), The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory (Ashgate 2009), The Lesbian Premodern [The New Middle Ages] (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) and Theory on the Edge: Irish Studies and the Politics of Sexual Difference (Essays in Honour of Ailbhe Smyth) (The Woodfield Press 2010). She serves as the Humanities Book Editor for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (Duke University Press) and is the Series Editor (with Michael O’Rourke) of the Queer Interventions book series at Ashgate Publishing and the Cultural Connections: Key Thinkers and Queer Theory book series at the University of Wales Press (distributed by the University of Chicago Press). She is currently working on a book with Eve Watson entitled Clinical Encounters: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory.

Eve Watson is a Lacanian psychoanalyst working in private practice in Dublin. She is Head of Psychoanalysis at the recently established Independent Colleges, Dublin where she also lectures in psychoanalysis. She has published several articles in The Letter ( including: ‘Why not war? Dialectics of the will to aggression in the recent “U.S.” — led war on Iraq?’ (Autumn 2003), ‘“An-Other” jouissance: Unmasking the “vamp-ire” and Marilyn Monroe’ (Spring, 2005) and book chapters including ‘The elusive lesbian of psychoanalysis — Subjective affects of a writing-in and exclusion’ in Tribades, Tommies and Transgressives (Cambridge Scholars Press 2008) and ‘Love denied and being decried — Revisiting Freud’s case of the female homosexual’ to be published by the Ecole de Psychoanalyse des Forums du Champ Lacanian in June 2009. She is working on a book with Noreen Giffney entitled Clinical Encounters: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory. She is currently completing a PhD in the area of lesbianism and psychoanalysis at University College Dublin.


Carmen Kuhling is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Limerick where she is the course director of the Psychology and Sociology BA and the Diploma in Women’s Studies. She is the author of The New Age Ethic and the Spirit of Postmodernity (Hampton Press 2004); and (with Kieran Keohane) Cosmopolitan Ireland? Globalisation and Quality of Life (Pluto Press 2007) and Collision Culture: Transformations in Everyday Life (Liffey Press 2004). Her research interests include the relationship between cultural and economic transformations in Irish Society; modernity and social change; globalisation and quality of life; multiculturalism, citizenship and social exclusion; identity and social inquality; gender and representation; gender, occupational sex segregation and gendered interpretations of ‘skill’; changing family forms; and popular culture and cultural sociology. She is currently working on Modernity and New Religions (2010) and co-authoring with Kieran Keohane ‘What Rough Beast’: the Political and Libidinal Economy of Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland (2011).

Carol Owens is a founding member of the College of Psychoanalysts in Ireland and a registered practitioner member of Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland. She lectures on Lacanian psychoanalysis at Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. She has published several articles and book chapters in the field of Lacanian and Freudian psychoanalysis. Carol works in private practice in North County Dublin.

Gender, Culture & Society Seminars @ UL

The Gender, Culture & Society (GCS) seminar series at the University of Limerick, Ireland runs in tandem with the new MA in Gender, Culture and Society, convened by Women’s Studies in the Department of Sociology. GCS aims to revisit debates within gender and sexuality studies in order to celebrate, challenge and rethink them by pushing the field in new directions. GCS is committed to supporting highly theoretical work and pioneering efforts in the areas of gender and sexuality. All speakers are invited and include thinkers whose work has had or will have a formidable influence on the development of critical theory and gender and sexuality. The emphasis is on discussion.

These events are free and everyone is welcome, however, pre-registration is necessary because places are limited. Early registration is advised.

For further information, please contact:
Noreen Giffney
Tel: +353-61-213128