Geographies of Psychoanalysis Conferences

New Delhi 22 - 24 March 2018  India International Centre (IIC)

Trauma & Reconciliation, to remember or to forget?

Prof. Sudhir Kakar curated the conference. Download the Programme

New Delhi:  12-14 January 2018

Fifth International Psychoanalytic Conference: Psychoanalytic Explorations of Darkness in Culture and Clinic

Psychoanalysis rests on certain foundational pillars- the appreciation and freeing up of psychic energy so that the binding and loving erotic forces can enhance the qualitative, creative and artistic resonance of human life. This in itself is often contingent on a deeper encounter and confrontation with the conflicted, negated and disavowed aspects of unconscious emotional existence. The process of release from crippling and limiting repetitions of unconscious patterns rests on an acknowledgement and working through of life’s darker shades – our propensities towards violence, rage, envy and destructivity. This encounter with one’s darker visages also involves looking into one’s pain and anguish while acknowledging grief and valuing mourning. Download PDF Programme

Conference Papers

- The Inhuman in the Human by Lorena Preta
- Darkness: the obscure object of psychoanalysis by Andrea Baldassarro
- The Invisible and the Darkness in the Psychoanalytic Relationship by Cosimo Schinaia
- The Luminous darkness of passion by Alfredo Lombardozzi
- On Mysteriousness by Mariano Horenstein

A Passage to India: Lorena Preta

I believe in teaching people to be individuals, and to understand other individuals
― E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

Anyone travelling to Delhi, will certainly have visited the Old City.
An incredible maze of streets where hundreds of people, rickshaws, carts, voices, scents, uninterrupted sounding horns, all rush hastily together.
Stalls displaying meat, birds and dogs scrambling to seize any morsel left on the ground, and car parts which seem unlikely to be used as replacements. Huge piles of colored fabrics covered in millenary dust.
And then occasionally the haste interrupt. Everything seems to stop and be blocked in a tangle which is apparently inextricable and disordered. Yet with the same incomprehensible logic, suddenly everything starts over again. Traffic resumes, rickshaws and people who seem to return on precise routes which were interrupted, tracing sense in the total chaos. Looking at the whole, it seems impossible to know how and where this crowd of people is directed. Every movement seems to happen by chance or to follow and indescribable logic.  Read the rest of the report of the Conference by Lorena Preta. 


Florence Saturday 3 February 2018

Dislocations: Migrant minds, Adolescent minds Between eradications and radicalisations


Our proposal is to connect the issue of immigration to the theme of the Dislocated Subjects which Geographies of Psychoanalysis has been discussing for some time. With this definition we define the phenomenon of de-centering, and deconstruction in which we live today, characterized by new forms of communication and social organization which are difficult to describe with the usual parameters. So much so that we may hypothesize to find ourselves at the dawn of a “new subject”.  A dislocated subject indeed, bearer of new transformations the extent of which we are still unable to measure.

From this approach, we can also read the phenomena of migration, which follow geographic and political paths, characterized by conflicts, irreducible diversities, unelaborated traumas or hybridizations owing to the identity threatening, confusing phenomena of globalization. Besides this, these phenomena also indicate the difficulty of constructing the processes of subjectivity in both the various populations, with their specific cultural forms and the individual. 
Experiences involving migrants and refugees, but also entire generations, marked by a social insecurity capable of deeply affecting the ways of social and psychic ties. We live in an age of symbolic precariousness, of “symbolic dislocations”, which by its nature defines subjects in search of an identity definition to construct, or of an experiential gap to close, but also, for this same reason, subjects open to transformation.

How shall we look upon these changes to the very roots of subjectivity, induced by the accelerating and often tumultuous anthropological transformations of which we are becoming aware? Transformations which are imposing on the technical level, as they are deficient on the level of an adequate symbolization, and which at times result in blind violence or in some kind of alexithymia that prevents any perception or emotional expression.

It is a true modification of the very structure of symbolic ties, happening in both the psychic and social processes, where the structural and founding bonds, which are linked to a genealogy and a cultural tradition with its myth foundations, seem to have been lost. A modification where the "breaches" opening at different levels are apparently bridged by adherent and mimetic associations, as solid as they are frail, or by real attempts to ’re-establish' identity with delusional tones. 

This phenomenon may be paralleled, as a whole, with the adolescent condition and its troubled paths.  The migrant mind can be associated with an adolescent mind which needs to grow on an unstable frontier, reformulating its inner objects, its original myths, its genealogical and symbolic chains, faced with the emergence of impulsive urges and unconscious ghosts, which, in the traumatic “passage” of identity, “bend” its fragile subjective structure.
Into this picture fall the phenomena of radicalism which we know to be socially characterized by a predominantly youthful and adolescent participation. Among the various motivations and possible interpretations, they appear to be desperate attempts to accomplish revenge for historical injustices suffered, although they pertain to previous generations, following the phenomenon of transgenerational transmission, hypothesizing an idealized place and time which should rebuild an identity and a pure "original" community.

In searching for the interpretive models to reflect upon this complex reality, and for adequate tools to deal with it from an organizational point of view, we would therefore like to focus on the "adolescent question", as a scenario capable not only of representing the various and dramatic phenomena of immigration and contemporary society but also its evolving openings.

Read Programme

Rome 23-24 June 2017: Incontri di Geografie della Psicoanalisi 

June 23

*Introduction by Alfredo Lombardozzi, Lucia Monterosa:
*Alfredo Lombardozzi, The contribution of Sudhir Kakar to the studies on Culture and Psyche
*Lucia Monterosa, Comments on S. Kakar’s book Psychoanalysis and Cultures
*Sudhir Kakar, On Culture and Psyche: The book
June 24

*Introduction by Lorena Preta, The Dislocated Subject
*Gohar Homayounpour, Intimacies of Trans-embodiments in Iran: towards an ‘ethics of ambiguity’
*Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D., The intimacies of trans-lives


2016 Vienna “The Dislocated Subject”

 This event took place at the Sigmund Freud Museum and focused on the theme of the “new subjectivity”.

In a world which is dominated by new ways of communication, by technology that subverts the perception of the body, by the new organisations of the family and groups and by global violence, we are witnessing  an overflowing of the subject. The cult of the body and of youth, the desire to procreate also without the shared will of the couple, the lack of a collective conscience, etc. tell us about a “dislocated” subject, a new individual, a hybrid, the fruit of blending of diverse cultures.



Keynote Lecture by Paolo Fabbri

Yes, we zombies can

The imagination of the global mediascape  is occupied by a figure: the not Dead. A viral monster at the the intersection of various mythologies and beliefs on changing limits between life and death. The strange collective behavior of zombies and their mutant physical and mental properties are among the multiple signs of the present angst on future of humankind. 

Lorena Preta

Introduction: “The Time is out of joint”. New subjectivities

For the interconnections created by global culture  we find ourselves in front of a new subject, a hybrid, the fruit of blending of diverse cultures. A subject that more than ever before represents the intersection of various mythologies, religions, and beliefs. 

The contaminations and borders concern the different cultures and countries but also the subject at his or her interior. We are always talking about the crisis of the subject as if it were becoming extinct but it is also true that we observe in the actual world an overflowing of the subject: the cult of the body and of youth, the desire to procreate even without the shared will of the couple, the lack of a collective conscience, the revolution in communication due to virtual information, the deep sense of terrorism.  The subject in this form is not disappeared but rather "deformed" and "dislocated" without the possibility to be a real actor on the world scene.

Time and space are altered and the present collapsed on the past and seems to have no future.

Can the Psychoanalysis interpret these phenomena?


Vittorio Lingiardi

No maps for these territories. Being cartographers of sexualities today.

Our sexualities and genders are both developmental and relational constructions: simultaneously biological and social, inventive and defensive. They result from genetic and hormonal predispositions, family expectations and social pressures, conflicts and defences, fantasies, identifications and counteridentifications, projections and introjections. They arise from the incessant attempt to come to terms with one’s own pleasures, anxieties, identities and compromising solutions.

span style="color: #0d0d0d;">Rapid and unpredictable transformations are now changing our cultures and sexualities: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and queer identities; cybersexualities; new family forms resulting from new possibilities of conception and filiation. Today more than ever, quoting the challenging title of a 1995 paper by André Green, we could ask: “Has sexuality anything to do with psychoanalysis?”.

Throughout my talk I will address some questions. Does the orientation of our sexuality have to do with the construction and expression of our gender? How are sexual practices and identities related each other? Will our sexualities be driven by straight/gay binarism or bisexual inclusiveness? How does the globalization of “gay rights” will impact on non-Western cultures and, in general, on major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam?

Gohar Homayounpour

Trans-embodiments in Iran 

A binary approach towards the transsexual trajectory is becoming perceptible within contemporary psychoanalysis.

On one hand, psychoanalysts applying a reductionist reading of Freud have tended to apply a heteronormative discourse, of pathologizing and moralizing attitudes. On the other hand, in more recent years, psychoanalytic literature has taken a turn towards a transgenderity filled with a politically correct, at times superficial humanitarian discourse of sameness. It is the author’s assertion that both of these approaches continue to speak in the name of sameness and normalizing, a long way from a subversive psychoanalytic discourse of difference. This paper will use some clinical material of trans-embodiments in Iran in an attempt to move towards a subversive psychoanalytic discourse of unfamiliarity, from the standpoint of geographies of Trans-genderity. 


Panel II      Disembodied Dislocation

Jeanne Wolff Bernstein

The intimacy of trans-lives

It requires a great deal of openness and tolerance for intimacy to accept a foreign organ from another person, to have  another man’s heart or lungs  beat in one’s own body. A similar readiness for accepting a foreign body is needed from a woman who provides her own womb for  other couples  to have gestated  their babies in her own body.  What sense of  foreignness and otherness has to be overcome or  be desired to allow for another  internal part of an Other to become part of one’s own . My paper will focus on the phantasies and internal dynamics dispatched by such intimate trans-positions.

Mariano Horenstein

nto the darkness. A trip through virtual spaces

When Dante went into Hell, guided by the poet Virgil, he was able to see the sinners in different levels -according to the seriousness of their sinns- in eternal suffering. I will begin a journey into another Hell, that is, the world of new technologies and social networks. For that voyage, which is apparently far from our centenary practice, I will choose another poet as a guide: a blind and anachronic one, Jorge Luis Borges. With the guidance of this visionary writer, Argentine and universal at the same time, I will try to carve out some features of this underworld. As a consequence of this trip into the darkness of the Internet, Google and Wikipedia, Facebook and Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and Second Life, I will try to isolate two of Borges` main characteristics -blindness and anachronism- as capital concepts to rethink Psychonalysis in our contemporaneity.

2015 Rome: Psychoanalysis in The World: Crosses Between Cultures

Final Report byAlfredo Lombardozzi available in ENGLISH and ITALIAN

The conference papers contributed may be found included in the book: Cartographies of the Unconscious. A New Atlas for Psychoanalysis. Edited by Lorena Preta; Publisher: Mimesis International 2015

The conference will address the issue of interconnections between psychoanalysis and the various cultures of the world. Right now psychoanalysis, despite being     questioned by many or shelved in favor of pharmacological interventions and new therapies, paradoxically  at the same time, is seeing  huge growth Asia, the Arab countries, and countries in the east where once it did not  have easy access. The  analytical demand has a different value in the different contexts and is intertwined with the culture of the place, raising the unavoidable yet interesting question:  are there universal principles that support the vision of the mind that psychoanalysis offers? One wonders how distant cultures from the West, where psychoanalysis developed, can bring new contributions, through their specific mythologies and their peculiar characteristics, to the vision of man proposed by psychoanalysis. The question also arises whether the necessary and inevitable hybridization of languages, typical of a global society, may help explain the uncunny phenomena of our times. Speakers: Luiss University Rector - Massimo Egidi | IPA President – Stefano Bolognini | SPI President- Antonino Ferro | SPI Scientific Secretary – Tiziana Bastianini | Lorena Preta | Sebastiano Maffettone |  Andrea Baldassarro | Sudhir Kakar | Jalil Bennani | Paolo Fonda | Maria Teresa Hooke | Fakhry Davids | Lin Tao


2014 Tehran 16-17 October: Geographies of Psychoanalysis. Encounters Between Cultures

English Programme | Persian Programme

The idea of organizing an international conference on the Geographies of Psychoanalysis in Tehran arose during various meetings with Gohar Homayounpour, the Iranian analyst and founder of the Freudian Group in Tehran, moreover, this group of psychoanalysts has been working on clinical and theoretical psychoanalysis for many years in the city. In the Geographies project, which is aimed at favouring the coming together of psychoanalysis and cultures from various countries around the world, there is a special space that is occupied by the relationship of psychoanalysis and the Muslim culture and, in more general terms, with the Eastern world as a whole. The meeting in Tehran will not be directly centred on Islamic culture but will use the city and contradictory experience that will arise from the practice of psychoanalysis in Iran as a sort of container of a profoundly problematic character, and which, thus, reverberates with the complexity of the psychoanalytic experience. We thought about offering both our Iranian colleagues and public topics for discussion that will touch upon problematic areas that face Western analysts as well, or at least topics that lend themselves to equipping the analyst who is able to question himself and who is willing to absorb other language and other models of life.

In moments like the current times, within the heart of violent and brutal conflict, where amongst various geo-political reasons we can see uncontrolled inflammation and illogical aggression, the trip to Iran can’t not include the spirit of research that is aimed at preserving the capacity of thinking even through the tools of psychoanalysis.   

(Lorena Preta)     

The conference papers below can be found included in the book:  Geographies of Psychoanalysis: Encounters Between Cultures in Tehran. Edited by Lorena Preta; Publisher: Mimesis International 2015

-    Lorena Preta, Psychoanalysis: An Updated Map Of The Psyche
-    Gohar Homayounpour, Geography of Proximity (Borrowing from Derrida)
-    Sudhir Kakar, Culture In Psychoanalysis
-    Anna Ferruta, Constructing Or Deconstructing Histories And Cultures
-    Alfredo Lombardozzi, Which Geographies? Psychoanalytic Anthropology Of Human Diversity
-    Felix De Mendelssohn, I. Freud And The Djinns. Doing Psychoanalysis in Algeria
-    Felix De Mendelssohn, II. Globalization And Development Of Psychoanalysis
-    Tiziana Bastianini, The Subject Of The Affect: How The “Actual” Can Be Expressed In Different Cultures
-    Mariano Horenstein, Psychoanalysis In Minor Language
-    Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor, The Invariants Of The Couple
-    Silvia Ronchey, Chalk Lines


2014 Rome 5 April : Geografie della Psicoanalisi, Una Psicoanalista a Teheran

 Introduction “I am convinced of the universality of the Oedipus complex, and the struggle for power and control it represents while embodying within it the universal fear of castration; however the culturally specific element seems to be the reaction to this fear. My premise is that the Iranian collective fantasy is anchored in an anxiety of disobedience that wishes for an absolute obedience. The sons desiring to rebel know unconsciously that if they do so they might get killed, and so in a way they settle for the fear of castration. I find that this is characteristic of the traditional cultures"... Read further

- Lorena Preta, The reason for Geographies of Psychoanalysis
- Giancarlo Bosetti, The sense of the distances
- Lorena Preta, Conclusions
- Andrea Baldassarro, A few short remarks about Gohar Homayounpour's work
- Gohar Homayounpour, Una psicoanalista a Teheran - Silvia Ronchey, Le frontiere sono linee di gesso
- Tiziana Bastianini, Conserviamo forme d'esperienza psichica

2012 Pavia 6 October: Geografie della psicoanalisi

Introduction “In our globalised world it is certainly no longer a question of exporting science or technology, but rather of asking ourselves once again and in ever greater depth about the universality of the assumptions that we use to think and organise our view of reality, or their translatability. This also means that we must continually place ourselves in a position to pick up the changes and cross-fertilisation that are generated by contacts between different cultures and mentalities”. Read more
-    Marco Francesconi, Opening
-    Lorena Preta, Cartographies Of Psychoanlysis
-    Fausto Petrella, Geographies Of Psychoanalysis: Introduction
-    Livio Boni, De la psychanalyse à l'Inde, et retour. Formes et raisons de la réévaluation du féminin dans la modernité indienne
-    Daniela Scotto di Fasano, Dialogue With Livio Boni
-    Fethi Benslama, L’islam au regard de la psychanalyse
-    Maurizio Balsamo, Conversations with Fethi Benslama
-    Gohar Homayounpour, The Paradox Called Iran
-    Vanna Berlincioni, Dialogue With Gohar Homayounpour