Genoa School of Humanities April 24-29, 2017 

The Mother – Interdisciplinary perspectives (psychoanalysis, feminism, cinema, literary criticism, and philosophy)

Seminar Leaders:

Ida Dominijanni
Lorenzo Chiesa
Luisella Brusa
Luisa Lorenza Corna
Tiziana de Rogatis
Alina Marazzi

The topic of our seminars of Spring 2017 is the mother, which we will approach
in our consolidated interdisciplinary way from the perspectives of psychoanalysis, feminism, cinema, literary criticism, and philosophy.

Producing a straightforward and consistent definition of maternity, motherhood, and mothering is unexpectedly difficult. What
is a mother? Who is one’s mother? It is clearly not sufficient to understand her as the “female parent of a child” or “a woman in relation to
her child or children”. Does woman become a mother at the moment of conception, gestation, or parturition? Or, conversely, is the mother primarily a product of complex – socially and ideologically – discursive practices that evade any strictly biological concept, or at least structurally supplement it?

Feminism in its various expressions has both contested motherhood, if not rejected it, as an oppressive apparatus of patriarchy, and saluted it as the irresistible cipher of a fundamental sexual difference to be championed. What are the philosophical, political, and aesthetical implications of these contrasting stances? How does the more and more evident decline of paternal authority influence all this?

Lacanian psychoanalysis has insisted on overcoming the alleged dichotomy between the mother as the real locus of a natural drive and the father as the symbolic site of culture and
the Law. But then, quite bluntly, why is a mother irreducibly not a father, and vice versa? What is the basic symbolic function of motherhood? In what sense can we talk of a speci c maternal desire that is neither masculine nor feminine and rather evokes an overwhelming and quasi- cannibalistic drive?

Like feminism and psychoanalysis, literature and cinema have long explored the love and conflicts that accompany the mother- child relationship. Can this ambivalence give rise to a specifically maternal discontent,
 guilt, shame, and even repulsion? How and when does a parent “fail” to be a mother? And, on the other hand, how and when is a child not “worthy” of a mother’s care? Does the representation of such tensions require particular narrative approaches that inevitably rely on an autobiographical dimension?

The GSH proposes itself as a venue where young scholars have a real possibility to deepen their knowledge, not only by attending seminars, but also by actively discussing in an informal context their own research projects with highly quali ed teachers and among themselves. One of the basic ideas of the GSH is that learning is enhanced by the suspension of formalisms, hierarchies, and the principle
of authority that usually de ne traditional academic contexts. Each day revolves around one or two presentations by an invited speaker and is enriched by roundtables, small study groups, and debates that are always attended by one or more seminar leaders. The exchange of knowledge and ideas is facilitated by the limited number of students (max 15), and by the interdisciplinary nature of the seminars.

Speakers/seminar leaders at the
GSH are leading international gures in their academic and extra-academic fields. They are based both in Italy and abroad. Participants
are thus exposed to different cultures, teaching methods, and disciplinary perspectives. They are also enabled to establish new research networks and acquire practical information
on how to access PhD and post-doctoral programmes. The GSH has welcomed students from several countries, including Italy, the UK, Russia, Iran, Israel, and Ukraine.




Monday 24 April:

10:00 Welcome and introduction to the Spring 2017 seminar series

(Lorenzo Chiesa & Raffaello Palumbo Mosca)

10:30 “Why the Mother?” (Ida Dominijanni)

12:00 Q&A / Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Ida Dominijanni’s seminar (chair: Lorenzo Chiesa)

17:00 Drinks and nibbles


Tuesday 25 April:

10:30 “On Why a Mother Is Not a Father, and Vice Versa” (Luisella Brusa)

12:00 Q&A / Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Luisella Brusa’s seminar (chair: Lorenzo Chiesa)


Wednesday 26 April:

10:30 “The Desire of the Mother: Psychoanalysis and Beyond”

(Lorenzo Chiesa) 12.00 Q&A /Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Lorenzo Chiesa’s seminar (chair: Raffaello Palumbo



Thursday 27 April:

10:30 “Carla Lonzi: From Dualism to the Group” (Luisa Lorenza Corna)

12:00 Q&A / Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Luisa Lorenza Corna’s seminar (chair: Lorenzo



Friday 28 April:

10:30 “Maternity in Elena Ferrante’s Fiction” (Tiziana de Rogatis)

12:00 Q&A / Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Tiziana de Rogatis’s seminar (chair: Raffaello Palumbo



Saturday 29 April:

10:30 “You who are looking at me; I who tell about you. Bringing the mother into

the world again” (Alina Marazzi)

12.00 Q&A / Discussion

15:00 Roundtable on Alina Marazzi’s seminar (chair: Tiziana de Rogatis)

17:00 Drinks and nibbles



Programme of seminars



Please, send a copy of your updated curriculum vitae to Lorenzo Chiesa (L.Chiesa@gsh- and Raffaello Palumbo Mosca ( no later than 24 March 2017. (For new participants only).



6 days of seminars: €300 5 days of seminars: €250 4 days of seminars: €200 3 days of seminars: €150

Please, pay by bank transfer to:
Spazio Musica (reason for payment: GSH) Bank: CA.RI.GE.
IBAN: IT72 M061 7501 44800000 0260 880

Payments should be received no later
than 1 April 2017. Please, send a copy
of the payment receipt to registration@gsh-



Seminars are held in Genoa, Via Parini 10,
 in a nineteenth century villa. From Genova Brignole railway station take bus number 43 toward Nervi. Get off in Via Albaro; cross Piazza Leopardi and you reach Via Parini.


[Immagine: Klimt, Le tre età della donna (particolare)]

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