Rome on the Couch: The Psychology of Political Order
Explore how the history of Roman political life is partly a history of what Lacanian psychoanalysis calls “the Other’s desire.”
About the Event
Presented by Basic Program instructors and open to all, these lectures also complement the texts and ideas from our curriculum and always include a Q&A session.
This First Friday Lecture is supported by the Class Gift given by the 2023 Graduates of the Basic Program.
The Romans called their polity SPQR – Senatus populusque romanus, the Roman Senate and people – but the acronym does not encompass the forms of leadership or domination under which they lived for much of their imaginary and recorded history. Because Latin writers lacked a natural term for what the king, Consul, or Caesar was doing that no-one else was, the history of Roman political life is partly a history of what Lacanian psychoanalysis calls “the Other’s desire.” The alienation of Roman politics from the Latin language seems, paradoxically, to have led to the duration of the Roman state and, fortunately, to several hundred years of intellectual and cultural ferment.
Basic Program Instructor
Konrad Weeda earned his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Classics in June 2019. He was also a post-doctoral Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. His research, which is the basis for two book projects, centers on Augustan poetry and Roman political thought under the late Republic and early Empire. He joined the Basic Program in 2022.