COVID-19 update: We hope to hold Toronto Pursuits in July 2021 but are not formally opening registration yet. We will be updating our product pages as we have more information from the University of Toronto and the City of Toronto on indoor gatherings, and from the Canadian and US governments on border and travel updates. We do have a variety of online seminars running now, with new groups starting almost weekly. Thank you for your support!
To half the world they were geniuses, to the other half frauds. Forever controversial, Nietzsche and Freud overturned the wisdom of centuries past with their ideas about what governs behaviour. To these men, humanity was beset with neurotic impulses; and efforts to understand the world using reason and logic were destined to fail since the entire species was held captive by drives they either pretended did not exist or were too embarrassed to acknowledge. Although their influence did recede, many of their most troubling conclusions remained: We had to accept we were not what we thought we were.
Freud and Nietzsche helped usher in an even more radical perspective about human nature and knowledge itself: post-structuralism. Camille Paglia proclaims it “a plague upon the heart and the mind … utterly meaningless.” Yet at many institutions of higher learning, post-structuralism has become the predominant mode of critical discourse. What is post-structuralism? Is it a pivot point or passing fad? Why does it arouse such feelings of adoration and contempt? And how do Nietzsche and Freud inform the work of famous post-structuralists such as Derrida, Lacan and Foucault?
We’ll examine seminal works from Nietzsche and Freud and link their ideas to the practice of post-structuralism and deconstruction. While some exploration of the theory of post-structuralism is unavoidable, the emphasis with the other readings will be on how this critical approach is used. Decide for yourself whether post-structuralism is a revelation or a lot of malarkey. This seminar is for all who are curious, fearful or skeptical.
“Freud says […] there are three great narcissistic wounds in Western culture: the wound inflicted by Copernicus; the one made by Darwin […] and the wound made by Freud himself, when he in turn discovered that consciousness rests on the unconsciousness.”
– Michel Foucault