Truth, Fact, Fiction
Continental Psychoanalysis Module VI
Online via Zoom
Download Course Poster
8 March - 1 April 2023
Wednesdays and Saturdays
INR 7,500 Participation
INR 10,000 Participation + Writing
6:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST
Worldwide Registration Open
About the Course
If you do an internet search for 'blurring the line between fact and fiction’, or some version of that, you’ll be sure to find millions of hits on independent cinema and photography; ‘inspired by a true story’ (typically crime) films and television series; as well as academic articles and books on trauma and injustice (especially from disciplines inclined to ‘postmodern’ theory and cultural studies). This course asks why, in the face of our crisis-ridden reality, artists and scholars tend to relativize truth — conflate fact and fiction — rather than pursue truth through their work.
We’ll read fiction and non-fiction, watch documentary and scripted films, see ‘realist’, ‘figurative’, and ‘abstract’ modern and contemporary art, understand cultural studies accounts of the past and present, primarily through the lens of psychoanalytically-inclined philosophy. We'll analyse how the current trend to ‘blur fact and fiction’ is confusing because it operates in opposing directions: on the one hand, the actual powers that be are so crazy that reality must be a dream, fictional, while, on the other hand, if we only imagined, dreamed, we could escape the very real apocalypse we currently inhabit.
The class will learn how psychoanalytic thought and art clears this fog not by building a wall between fact and fiction (positivism), but by showing how the blurred line is an unexceptional fact of human being. Why? Because we speak, we're born into language. We’ll consider, for instance, how the so-called ‘impossible statement’ that some philosophers debate endlessly, ‘I’m lying’ — if I say 'I’m lying' and am telling the truth I’m lying; if I say ‘I’m lying’ and am actually lying I’m telling the truth — is actually all too possible, in fact true of every statement we make in language. Freud captured this well in one of his jokes:
Two Jews meet in a railway carriage at a station in Galicia.
'Where are you going’?, asks one.
'To Cracow’, was the answer.
'What a liar you are'!, broke out the other. 'If you say you are going to Cracow, you want me to believe you are going to Lemberg. But I know
you are going to Cracow. So why are you lying to me’?
The very fact that we speak invites suspicion; we always already ‘blur the line between fact and fiction’. Our contemporary art, thought, politics, ethics that repeats this fact doesn’t actually create anything. The more difficult and necessary task is to make truth in our unavoidably factual/fictitious world. What does creating truth look and feel like? How might we think differently? What can we accomplish?
About the Professor
Rohit Goel is Director/Professor of the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). He is the co-editor of Lacan contra Foucault: Subjectivity, Sex, Politics (Bloomsbury) and has taught courses in critical theory, historiography, and politics at the University of Chicago, Sciences Po Paris, the American University of Beirut, and Jnanapravaha Mumbai. Rohit received the Fulbright IIE and Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowships to pursue years of Arabic language study in Syria and was awarded the Fulbright DDRA and Andrew C. Mellon Fellowship for PhD dissertation research in primary sources in Lebanon. He completed his BA from Harvard College and, as Harvard University’s Paul Williams Fellow to Emmanuel College, was granted an MPhil in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
Students will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful attendance of a course or a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Evaluation if they successfully attend and complete the final assignment. Those who complete three courses (attendance and writing) in the Continental Psychoanalysis track over two calendar years are eligible for a BICAR Diploma in Continental Psychoanalysis.
We will refund your mode of payment — minus a 25% processing fee — if you choose not to take this course after the first session. Or, you can ‘roll over’ your balance to another or future BICAR course without a fee deduction.
To register, we can facilitate two modes of payment — either a direct bank transfer to our Indian account or we also have a PayPal link: