‘Case’ derives from the Latin casus, which denotes a fall, a chance event, a misfortune or accident. A case seems to portend a twist of fate, even death, but whose? In two distinct fields in which the case looms large — law and psychoanalysis — it is knowledge itself that falls before the case. A legal case does not operate on the basis of given facts but marks a site in which the language of the law, with all its performative power to determine juridical reality, is marshalled to a solve a problem.

A psychoanalytic case, in its own way, does not proceed from observation to the application of a therapeutic regimen but responds to a subject’s suffering with an ethics of listening to the unconscious: a strange, singular knowledge that only knows itself. Is it any wonder that Jacques Lacan encouraged a ‘…deliberate reinforcement in the analyst of his nescience regarding each subject… an ever-renewed ignorance so that no one is considered a typical case?’

If the quality of being typical is foreign to a case, and knowledge a way of remaining ignorant about it, then usual framings of the case — as a particular that illuminates the universal, an exception that proves the rule, an example that concretizes theory — must be abolished and thought anew. Not mastery but a technique, whether the art of law or style of the analyst, can do justice to each case as a site for the reception or emergence of the new. Such a technique lingers in the gaps between established facts and archival evidence, on the one hand, and theoretical systematicity, on the other.

This two-day transdisciplinary symposium explores modes of reasoning in and through cases. While noting its special status in law and psychoanalysis, the case — in its radical singularity, transformative power, and association to the ordinary — will be immediately complicated from historical, philosophical, and social scientific perspectives. Two aspirations organize this symposium: One is to investigate the politics and theory of the case. What tensions emerge between the ethics of listening, the interpretation of the case, and its transmission in theory and legal practice? Participants will encounter a multimedia essay, theoretical texts, as well as legal, clinical, and political cases that elaborate on this theme.

In English

11:00 – 11:40 Introduction (livestream available)
Xenia Chiaramonte and Christopher Chamberlin:
On the Case

11:40 Coffee Break

12:00 – 14:00 Panel I (no livestream)

Sora Han:
Dystranslating the Case of Blackness

Leon Brenner:

Followed by a discussion

14:00 Lunch Break

16:00 Panel II (livestream available)

Luis Izcovich:
What is a Case in Psychoanalysis?

Natascia Tosel:
To Haven’t Done with the Case
A Philosophical and Postcritical Investigation

Followed by a discussion

18:00 Break

18:30 Keynote CANCELLED!
Thomas Macho:
From Case to Case

13:30 – 15:30 Panel III (no livestream)

Xenia Chiaramonte:
The Extreme and the Ordinary

Angela Condello (online):
On the Case as Legal Avant-Garde

Followed by a discussion

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 – 18:00 Panel IV (no livestream)
Renata Salecl:
My Genes Made Me Do It! How Genetics is Reshaping Legal and Psychoanalytic Subjectivity

Jamieson Webster (online):
The Case and the Act

Followed by a discussion

18:00 Break

18:30 Performance (livestream available)
Sora Han:
Res Nulla Loquitur

Followed by a discussion with Chris Chamberlin, Antonio Lucci, and Xenia Chiaramonte

Organized by

Christopher Chamberlin and Xenia Chiaramonte


Leon Brenner
Angela Condello
Sora Han
Luis Izcovich
Thomas Macho
Renata Salecl
Natascia Tosel
Jamieson Webster


KV The Case

Image Credit © Claudia Peppel