The Essay Prize Committee has announced the winner of the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center’s 2015 contest. He is David I. Backer, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Foundations of Education at Cleveland State University. Dr. Backer will present his essay, entitled “Dehiscence and Discussion” on Friday November 30, 2015. Here are the details.
Date: Friday evening, November 20, 2015
Time: Reception 6- -6:30 pm and Talk 6:30–8pm
Location: Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center Library
RSVP: The lecture is free & open to the public. Please reserve by phone (216) 229-5959 or email: email@example.com
Continuing education credits: 1.5 credit hours for Center members is $10.00 and non-members $15.00.
1) Distinguish discussion from recitation;
2) Carefully interpret Jacques Lacan’s idea of dehiscence to characterize the psychology of classroom discussion;
3) Apply Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of masses to classroom interaction.
“Dehiscence and Discussion” is a study of the conceptual bases of two teaching methods – recitation and discussion. After exploring in detail the differences between the two methods, Dr. Backer introduces the concept of dehiscence as introduced by Lacan – the “Discordant space at the heart of the organism” – a psychical space early in our development in which we begin to recognize our separation from the Other and ourselves. He chooses this concept to underscore the drive in all of us to repair this perceived breech, and how this underlies our continual desire to rejoin. The essay continues with a use of Freud’s work “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” to understand the need to unite with the Other to form either a mass or a group. In the pedagogic arena this can be seen as recognition of one’s separation (dehiscence) with its attendant melancholy, and the desire to reconnect. Dr. Backer explores many aspects of this teaching/learning conundrum: the necessity for dehiscence, the ideal of lengthening the dehiscence, the discomfort of this dehiscence leading to an attempt at healing the rupture, and the question of whether the healing will occur via recitation leading to a mass formation, or via discussion leading to the formation of a group.
The committee recognized the applicability of Dr. Backer’s thinking, once understood, to many aspects of teaching, and is pleased to award the prize for his work.
The CPC Essay Prize is offered annually, seeking the best psychoanalytically informed essay in the Arts and Humanities, Bio-behavioral Sciences, or Social Sciences. The Essay Prize is open to anyone living or working in the State of Ohio, regardless of institutional status or affiliation.
Our thanks to Drs. Anna and Tom Janicki for making this prize possible.