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Renata Salecl

A Passion for Ignorance

Renata Salecl

How much do we want to know when it comes to our bodies? Does knowledge have a different value in sickness than in health? Psychoanalyst and author of A Passion for Ignorance, Renata Salecl, argues that sometimes the wisest choice is to remain ignorant.

Instructor
  • renata salecl
    Renata Salecl

    Renata Salecl is a philosopher, psychoanalyst and sociologist. She is a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana and holds a professorship at Birkbeck College.

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About the Course

 

Knowledge is power and we want to know everything. Or at least, that's what dominant cultural narratives would have us believe. Yet from medical diagnoses to childhood trauma, we often choose ignorance for ourselves and are happier and healthier for it. Then again, many of the choices about what we know and don't know are made for us, by forces that are invisible to us. The relationship between power, health, ignorance and fantasy is anything but straightforward.

What do we really want to know about ourselves and is there such a thing as too much self-knowledge? What are the social and political forces that go in to shaping the forms of knowledge that are available to us? How do changes in culture affect our understanding of subjecthood? And when is it a good idea to shove one's head under the sand and deny reality?

Sociologist, philosopher and legal theorist, Renata Salecl, guides us through the murky depths of ignorance, and our underacknowledged passion for it.

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • How psychoanalysts discover what their patients really want
  • How power and ignorance are linked
  • Medieval advice on how to be wise about what you don't know
  • Why love can so quickly turn into hate
  • How big data is changing our notion of subjectivity
  • When and why denial can sometimes be the best course of action

 

As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

 

About the Instructor

  • Renata Salecl

    Renata Salecl is a philosopher, psychoanalyst and sociologist. She is a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana and holds a professorship at Birkbeck College. She is closely associated with the critical legal studies movement, and was awarded the title Slovenian Woman Scientist of the Year by the Slovenian Ministry of Science in 2010. Her books, on anxiety, postmodernism and sex, have been translated into 15 languages.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: To Know or Not to Know
    Ignorance is everywhere. In a culture we think is obsessed with knowledge, Salecl explores the psychology, power and wisdom in what we don't know, what we can't know, and what we don't want to know.
  • Part Two: Denial and Ignorance in Medicine
    When faced with a grim diagnosis, might denial be an important step on the path to recovery? Salecl makes the case for separating how we feel from what we know.