Julia Kristeva: In Conversation

French-Bulgarian psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva occupies an enviable seat in the rarefied arena of female philosophers in the expansive traditions of western thought and philosophy; although, I do get the sense that she does not quite wear the singular ‘descriptor’ of ‘philosopher’ with ease, for her ‘oeuvre’ is anything but conventional and she continues to bring together insights from fields as far flung as religious scholarship, avant-garde literature, psychoanalytic theory, and philosophy. In one of my quests to comprehend religious belief better, I picked up Kristeva’s ‘This Incredible Need to Believe’ (2011) a couple of years ago, and was much the wiser for it. Kristeva is possibly part of a philosophic tradition that takes the notion of ‘Subjectivity’ as a starting point. (Note: Subjectivity – persons better understood as subjects NOT selves, for various phenomena, known and unknown, profoundly shape how people come to be.) This tradition can, in a way, be traced back to the 19th C, in the work of the German philosophers Hegel and (much later) Nietzsche. In the 1960s and 70s, Kristeva was one of the first thinkers to usher in “post-structuralism” and she continues to be one of the most popular public intellectuals in France, with her work over the decades distinctly impacting the terrain in linguistics, literary criticism, feminist philosophy and psychoanalytic theory. Here, she is in conversation with Prof. Jules Law, (Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA) talking about a broad range of areas of her intellectual engagement – from psychoanalysis, belief and faith, to humanism as a perpetual reconstruction, to feminism and much more. Listen in.

On Julia Kristeva's Couch

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