Circumcision on the Couch book launch
Penises, and the things people do with them, have been subjects of controversy for a long time. Jordan Osserman’s recently published book Circumcision on the Couch draws on the discipline of psychoanalysis to examine how one thing that some people do to penises – surgically remove the foreskin – has become a site upon which vital questions of gender, race, religion, sexuality, and psychic life are negotiated. In this event, Jordan and his invited guests will make use of the Old Operating Theatre’s incredible surgical setting to bring to life some major themes of the book: the nineteenth-century transformation of circumcision from a religious rite to a medical procedure designed to cure ‘nervous illness’; the psychological dynamics of contemporary anti-circumcision activism (‘intactivism’); and the psychoanalytical theories that address the symbolic significance of the phallic ‘cut’. The event will include two short performances by internationally acclaimed artists Martin O’Brien and FYTA which will address contemporary debates around circumcision and gender politics, and a discussion with Professor Lisa Baraitser about the book.