Two weeks ago The New School’s Ferenczi Center hosted Katie Gentile and a panel of contributors to celebrate the launch of a new book and a new series. The book, The Business of Being Made: The Temporalities of Reproductive Technologies in Psychoanalysis and Culture, is the first to critically analyze assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) from a transdisciplinary perspective that integrates psychoanalytic and cultural theories. This volume, edited by Gentile, is the first in a new series from Routledge called “Genders & Sexualities in Minds & Cultures,” with Muriel Dimen, Lisa Baraitser, and Stephen Hartmann joining Gentile as editors.
Objectively, the evening was a historic one, by dint of its marking the (official) breaking of new discursive ground. Novelty, riskiness, and care were palpable in the room in the manner with which each speaker treated the topic, tenderly chose their words, and bravely took positions — which sighs, raised eyebrows, and watery eyes confirmed were difficult, if not wholly controversial. Afterward, the audience thrummed over wine about the power of the event, but tones were subdued, even reverential.
The evening was historic, and tender, for reasons beyond the book and its poignant subject matter. Muriel Dimen, beloved in the psychoanalytic community for her bold and transformational scholarship as much as for her generous spirit, passed away just a week before the event. Muriel was a primary motivating force in the birth of this series and was committed to its urgency and importance. The evening was a memorial to her, to her great contribution to the field of gender and sexuality studies, queer theory and relational psychoanalysis, and to her rich contributions as a teacher, writer, editor, and friend.