The Erasure of Sense: Violence, Affect and the Post-Traumatic Subject

Professor Ruth Leys

The Power Institute is proud to present in partnership with Sydney Ideas, a lecture by international guest speaker Ruth Leys.

27 May

Professor Ley's lecture The Erasure of Sense: Violence, Affect and the Post-Traumatic Subject will form an assesment of recent developments in affect and trauma theory. Among the questions to be posed are: If the 20th century was the Freudian century, the century of libido, will the 21st century- as has been suggested - be the century of the “post-traumatic” subject, whose affective indifference and profound emotional disengagement from the world mark him or her as a victim of brain damage? Will political, economic, and natural violence now take the form of a meaningless traumatic shock to the “emotional brain”? What are the stakes of such claims?

Ruth Leys

Ruth Leys is Professor of Humanities, with a joint appointment in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Throughout her career she has been interested in different aspects of the history of the life sciences, especially the neurosciences, psychoanalysis and psychiatry. She has taught and written on aspects of the history and theory of psychoanalysis; the history of psychiatry; the history of the neurosciences; trauma theory; the mind-body problem; and the history of approaches to the emotions. She is presently working on a book on the post-war history of experimental and theoretical approaches to the study of the emotions, with a special emphasis on the philosophical issues at stake in the competing cognitivist and neo-Darwinian paradigms of the emotions.