“Scenes of Secrecy/Scales of Hope”

November 5, 2008

The Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies presents a talk by Queens College, CUNY, Professor Patricia Clough.

Monday, November 10, 12-1pm
E. P. Schoch building – EPS 1.128
University of Texas at Austin

“Scenes of Secrecy/Scales of Hope” offers a psycho-geographic tracing of personal and cultural trauma set in a genealogy of family relations, immigration, racial and gender difference. Moving from 1950’s urban planning in a borough of New York City to present day national governance of counter-terrorism and security, Clough explores affects of fear, despair and hope in geographies of intimacy.

Patricia Ticineto Clough is professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the Graduate Center and Queens College of the City University of New York. She is author of Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology (2000); Feminist Thought: Desire, Power and Academic Discourse (1994) and The End(s) of Ethnography: From Realism to Social Criticism (1998). She is editor of The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, (2007). Clough’s work has drawn on theoretical traditions concerned with technology, affect, the unconscious, timespace and political economy. She is currently working on Ecstatic Corona an ethnographic historical research and experimental writing project about Queens New York. Clough is joined by students at Queens College who are also doing work on where they live in Queens and the parts of the world they or their families come from.


One comment

  1. What happens to trauma when you “disprivelege the body”? Well, you are stuck with talking about it.

    But, if you (realistically) continue to privilege the organic body, then you can heal trauma.

    E.g., in The Affective Turn, Clough says, “But what is more important is the way the essays render changes in processes of embodiment, that is, employ new writing/methods for grasping the materialities and temporalities of bodies.”

    Ah, grasp by writing. That’s a big help.

    And further, “For Lacan, the Real is unassimilable because it is non-symbolizable.” Right, which is why nobody uses Lacanian therapy any more.

    On the other hand, organic body privilegers use direct somatic technics such as Levine’s Somatic Experiencing, Gendlin’s Focusing, and Hakomi to actually heal trauma imprints.

    Instead of saying that trauma is “the engulfment of ego in memory”, they point out that trauma is the overwhelm of certain biological information processors, and observe: “It doesn’t matter what the treatment is as long as people are paying attention to the body and working with the nervous system directly to help bring back self-regulation. And the most self-regulating of all systems are the lower brain structures that govern life in the body.” (Raja Selvam, Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, practitioner of Somatic Experiencing.)

    So, dispriveleging the body is a clinical disaster. How can you heal the body if you have left the body?

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