Prishtina, Kosovo

Desire and its Discontents

when 14 August 2023 - 19 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2.5 EC
fee EUR 370

Drawing on psychoanalysis, feminism, affect and critical theory, the seminar discusses the political-philosophical stakes of desire. Ever since Kant’s Categorical imperative, desire and its limits have been at the center of the Western philosophical discourse. For Kojève (1937) it is desire (Hegel’s Begierde) that distinguishes us as human insofar as one’s desire is directed toward an other’s desire. Desire organizes intersubjective relations and exposes the communal bond to structural imbalance, which Freud theorized in terms of a discontent in culture and civilization (1930). If the work of culture hinges on the renunciation and sublimation of ‘asocial’ drives, desire is situated in the conflictual zone between the object of desire and the latter’s impossibility. In today’s capitalism, Lauren Berlant (2011) diagnosed a "cruel optimism" that sustains one’s attachment to conventional yet unattainable good-life fantasies (from the romantic couple to political systems and institutions). Such desire-sustained attachments weave the web of social relationality, pointing to a realm “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (Freud, 1920) where drive and object-oriented desire are gradually detached.

Course leader

Sami Khatib is a substituting professor at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG) and a founding member of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR).

Target group

Summer School as School is an interdisciplinary education and art collaboration model designed for BA, MA and PhD students, artists, architects and researchers of visual arts, humanities and social sciences, political theory, art history and curatorial studies, architecture and design, and anyone with a keen interest in the subject area.

Credits info

2.5 EC
At the conclusion of each course, participants will be issued a certificate stating their equivalency of The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits from Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, Kosovo and the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon, France.

Fee info

EUR 370: 300 euros for self-paying students, with the offer of accommodation in student residences.
EUR 570: 500 euros for institutionally sponsored students, with the offer of accommodation in student residences.


Special conditions apply for alumni of the Summer School as School.
Scholarships are available for students from Kosovo.