“We Just Don’t Have That Many Substances”

Lydia Kerr, a friend and colleague of mine from the University at Buffalo, has an interesting article responding to Eliza Slavet’s essay on Freud and Jewishness at the Religion & Culture Web Forum of the University of Chicago’s Marty Center. Lydia has put a lot of thought into the question of race and psychoanalysis, and this brief response is a good illustration of her ability to concisely demonstrate the usefulness of psychoanalysis—particularly, Lacanian—for thinking race. She argues that in addition to extended substance (materiality, genetics, the body) and thinking substance (the immaterial* realm of ideas and social construction), we also need to add what Lacan called a third category—la substance jouissante—enjoying substance, or jouissance. Take a look.

*I am increasingly of the opinion that the category of the ‘immaterial’ is of diminishing utility, and that Lacanian psychoanalysis seems to be a fruitful point of departure.