L&M Talk: Laurence A. Rickels' “All You Vampires”


Monday, February 13, 2017


5:30-7:30 pm


SH 2635
The title “All You Vampires“ summarizes the drift of the presentation by tampering with the title of Robert Heinlein’s time-travel story “All You Zombies“ and placing the vampire in the seat of sole survivor (and mourner). To this end Rickels attends to the origin story of the living dead, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. The contest that reopened at the start of the new millennium between identification with the undead and thrill-a-kill consumerism of the living dead also re-released, but did not contain, the prospect of psychopathic violence, of the psycho as our near-miss double at close quarters, which slasher and splatter movies carried out unto therapeutic termination by the 1990s, but which at the time of vampirism’s return to a culture industry monopolized by zombie-ism found a new setting in infernal torture-testing (the Saw franchise). In the second part of the presentation Rickels explores the import of science fiction in the US reception of Dracula, a mix that in fact gave rise to the modern zombie. Rickels follows Gotthard Günther’s notion of the New World as the sole continuity shot with the European Enlightenment, which thus affords the staging area for a new intergalactic high culture. Günther’s zombie (which Günther aligns with the mechanical brain) allegorizes a new way of death that cuts loose from the metaphysics of the regional high cultures (last seen in Europe).  
Reception follows.
LAURENCE A. RICKELS is Sigmund Freud Chair and Professor of Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School (EGS); Emeritus Professor of Kunst und Theorie at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe, Germany; and Emeritus Professor of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Languages and Literatures, University of California, Santa Barbara.  His monographs include Germany: A Science Fiction (Fort Wayne Anti-Oedipus Press, 2015), Die Unterwelt der Psychoanalyse (Vienna Passagen Verlag, 2014), The Devil Notebooks (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), Nazi Psychoanalysis, 3 vols. (University of Minnesota Press, 2002, and The Case of California (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).