Call for 2015 Session Proposals

Call for Submission of Session Proposals

Ecologies of Fear”

23rd Annual Meeting of the
University of California Interdisciplinary Psychoanalytic Consortium (UCIPC)

May 1-3, 2015UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center

Our meeting this year is organized around the theme “Ecologies of Fear.”  We live in a time of increasing ecological devastation, including climate change, depletion of resources, extinction of species, worldwide pollution and pollution-induced illnesses, new religious fundamentalisms, new forms of discrimination, new types of war and terrorism, and increasing global economic precarity and poverty.  These and other conditions of potential catastrophe have the ability to generate a significant amount of fear and anxiety, both conscious and unconscious.

We are soliciting session proposals that are broadly related to this theme, focusing on the psychic and interpersonal effects of global warming and environmental disasters, racism, homophobia, global terrorism, financial precarity, and other social, political, and ecological domains where the dynamics of fear (broadly construed) play a central role.  What are our individual and collective responses to the acknowledged and disavowed fears stemming from our current climate of urgency and distress?  How can we understand and deal with the psychic effects that result from living in an increasingly toxic world?  How do these psychic effects impact family life, professional lives, the way we think about our children’s future and the way we relate to each other and to other species in a global world?  And how do we deal with a “haunting from the future”; that is, a haunting that does not come from past violent histories but from the knowledge of catastrophic ecological or social destruction to come? We are, perhaps, amongst the first generations to live with an acute awareness that we ourselves may be the agents of our own demise.  The impact of such knowledge on psychic and social life is of clear relevance to psychoanalysis, but despite this, attention devoted to the topic has been minimal.

Appropriately themed sessions should focus on the following:

  1. The “fear” in question concerns existential threats to more than one person or social “tribe”;
  2. The potential purview of the issue discussed is not confined to a single discipline alone;
  3. Some aspect of the paper is clearly psychological and apparently psychoanalytic.

The goal of this year’s conference is to begin an in-depth conversation focusing on these issues, exploring how best to conceptualize them from an analytic perspective, gauging their impact on both theoretical and clinical fronts, and thinking creatively about how psychoanalysts might more fully engage with the tensions, fears, and anxieties aroused by these existential threats.

Proposal Submission Guidelines: 

Submissions for both Workshop Session and Clinical Presentations are welcome.  Although the majority of sessions will be thematically based discussion (consisting of brief opening remarks followed by a group discussion of several key readings), we plan to offer one or two clinical presentations as well.

Proposals abstracts should be 100-300 words long, followed by a discussion of the topics and texts / media screenings participants will discuss (such materials should require no more than three or four hours preparation on the part of attendees). Please submit proposals via email to: Bettina Soestwohner ( Proposals must be submitted by April 20, 2015.  Be sure to include your full name and affiliation in the proposal.  Thank you, and we will see each other soon!

Note on UCIPC Session: Our format does not include the reading aloud of papers, as at a typical conference. Instead, readings are provided several weeks in advance; attendees have already read the papers selected by presenters (and sometimes other supporting material) by the time the conference opens. Presenters usually begin by making a few remarks about the paper at hand and its subject for around 10 or 15 minutes, followed by a very participatory discussion.

One of the benefits of this method is that it allows presenters to write, and communicate, more than they actually have time to deliver in person. So while there need be no firm limit on the length of what’s submitted for consideration, the (above-mentioned) limits on presentation time are important.

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