The Spectre of the “Other” in Jungian PsychologyStephen Farah
The Spectre of the “Other” in Jungian Psychology
International Conference of the International Association for Jungian Studies
August 3rd – 6th, 2017
Cape Town, South Africa
Call for Papers
“I do not know what Africa is really saying to me, but it speaks.”
(Jung in a letter to Emma in Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
We invite you to participate in a gathering of academics, analysts, students and others interested in exploring a Jungian conceptualization of Otherness, and how such ideas interface with ideas about the Other in broader psychoanalytic and critical theory dialogue.
The conference will be held at the Centre for the Book, a unit of the National Library of South Africa, which is located in the center of Cape Town and is encircled by a variety of hotels, gardens, galleries, and museums. Cape Town was the location of the first public speech that focused on the beginning of democratic elections and a new era for South Africa, made by Nelson Mandela on February 11, 1990 after his release from imprisonment during the period of Apartheid. Today, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city that, like many cities across the world, struggles with growth and prosperity alongside ecological change as well as economic disparities and racial divides.
The image for our conference is the African Baobab tree, symbolic of the evolutionary nature of humanity’s individuation—as individuals and at the cultural level. Baobab trees become quite large and hollow out as they grow. Eventually, the tree creates an optical inversion, appearing to be almost upside down — as if its roots are at the top. The tree’s hollowness can be viewed as a metaphor for the development of consciousness and culture: the liminal space that is essential for consciousness and the unconscious to connect.
In this liminal space of the conference setting, we will present to each other and seek to challenge one another, through papers and discussion, on how we might understand the contribution made by Jung’s work when applied to issues of Otherness which are being grappled with both in South Africa and globally. We seek to discuss questions, such as: What have been the negative impacts of such contributions to indigenous people and to those who identify as post-modern? How have indigenous cultures and others, such as the recent influx of refugees into various countries and people who identify as LGBT, carried the shadow projection of non-indigenous people and those in authority and at what price for both? Additional areas we wish to explore are Jung’s experience of the Self and other core Jungian concepts, which he came to understand while in the midst of indigenous cultures, and whether they stand the test of time or fall short due to not addressing political realities such as European Colonialism, and, later in time, “Apartheid” and our current political issues. Of equal importance, how do these theories and political realities interface with global expressions of humanity’s various spiritual concepts and beliefs?
As we read in his works, Jung had a deep love of indigenous cultures and he described his trip to Africa in 1925 as a spiritual journey, which he associated with the Egyptian Horus Myth. Jung interpreted this mythic drama as depicting the resolution of duality (Horus and Set) and the emergence of consciousness, in which he saw parallels with his own individuation. Regarding the development of the mind through mythological and cultural contexts, and even though he acknowledged the limitation of the term he used, Jung intellectually and conceptually colonized indigenous people with his notions of the “primitive psyche” as archaic and regressive when compared to that of the (modern) Western psyche. In this way, indigenous people constituted an effective foil in Jung’s work and his conceptualization of personhood through the foil of the Other. We might reasonably suggest that in this context, Jung harbored a somewhat dichotomous reverence and patronization toward indigenous people.
What richness of thought and experience — and yet, what trauma was reinforced through Jung’s descriptions and dichotomous approach? Kalsched (2013) in his excellent book Trauma and the Soul discussed the Baobab tree which appears in St Exupery’s The Little Prince. In this novella, the tree spreads toxic seeds linking it to noncreative traumatic intergenerational experiences. Kalsched uses the tree and its over-proliferation of seeds to discuss the ‘deadening’ effects of trauma on the development of the self if it is not worked through sufficiently. During the time created by the liminal space of this conference, we seek to explore the understandings and actions that are needed now in relation to individuals and communities, and to propose ideas for what needs to be worked through more sufficiently.
We welcome papers on themes that tackle Jung’s theory of Otherness in relation to individuals and/or groups; papers that look at the origins and telos of the human psyche, including ideas and thoughts inspired by the relatively recent Hominid Naledi discovery; and papers on actions that might lead us to further our understanding of intersectionality within community.
In addition to academic papers, we invite participants to offer workshops that make use of ritual, transformative practice, or other formats to help us remember our connections to one another, to promote a group experience, and to enliven our shared heritage while we meet in Africa. Such workshops may draw from the expressive arts, nonverbal movement practices such as authentic movement, small group practice, divination, or other activities. As Jung has helped us to see, ritual practice transformed our earliest collective identities into the rich and problematic modern human. In all of our complex, fragmented individual identities, we may have lost sight of the value of shared practice, which Jung recognized as a loss of connection to tradition and instinct. Without taking ritual practice literally, Jungian psychology helps us attend to the benefits of ritual practices to encourage us to reconnect to the renewing function of affect and imagination.
The committee also invites papers on other issues about which individual members are engaged.
The conference language is English. Please submit a title and abstract of no more than 300 words (maximum of two submissions per person) by August 31, 2016 directly online for the 2017 South Africa conference website, including:
- one’s full name, title, address, and email;
- institutional or professional affiliation, and
- a selected bibliography (up to three publications).
The website is http://jungstudies.net/events/index.php/iajs/
If you have any queries regarding your abstract submission or other queries regarding submission, please contact Stephen Farah (Johannesburg, South Africa) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marybeth Carter (Palm Springs, California, USA) at email@example.com or regarding registration or technical site issues Michael Glock (Los Angeles, CA, USA) firstname.lastname@example.org
Details about the conference, such as registration fees and hotel accommodations, will be available on the IAJS 2017 South Africa conference website as soon as they are finalized. We will keep you posted about evening social events, travel links, and other important updates necessary to promote your enjoyment throughout this conference.
About the IAJS
The IAJS exists to promote and develop Jungian and post-Jungian studies and scholarship on an international basis. It is a multi-disciplinary association dedicated to the exploration and exchange of views about all aspects of the broader cultural legacy of Jung’s work and the history of analytical psychology. The IAJS aims to aid the understanding of contemporary cultural trends and the history of psychological and cultural tendencies. To find out more, and how to join, visit www.jungstudies.net
With best wishes on behalf of the IAJS 2017 South Africa Conference Committee:
Stephen Farah and Marybeth Carter, 2017 IAJS Conference Co-Chairs
Liz Brodersen, Peter Dunlap, Michael Glock, Jean Lall, Konoyu Nakamura, and Stephani Stevens