Body Memory and the Unconscious

October 14, 2021 - October 15, 2021
Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä



University of Jyväskylä


University of Jyväskylä

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Body Memory and the Unconscious

– Online Workshop in Philosophy, Psychology, and the Arts

University of Jyväskylä, October 14–15, 2021

Organized by Joona Taipale, Jussi Saarinen, and Tiia-Mari Hovila on behalf of the Experiential Demarcation Research Project (Funded by Kone Foundation & Academy of Finland)

In various significant ways, our earlier experiences influence how we, as bodily-affective beings, experience and behave in the here-and-now. Whether through deeply rooted habits, consciously acquired skills, developmentally established relational patterns, or emotional trauma, our past continuously informs and organizes our present interactions with the world. Usually, however, we are not fully aware of the presence and influence of this historically sedimented backdrop to our lives. This means that bodily-affective memory typically operates unconsciously to structure our everyday experience.

The two-day workshop explores how the body remembers, the role this type of memory plays in experience, and the ways in which the unconscious relates to its overall functioning. These topics will be discussed in theoretical terms and with respect to practical life, especially as regards psychopathology and the arts. To be sure, both “body memory” and the “unconscious” are open to a broad variety of conceptualizations. The workshop approaches these phenomena from both philosophical and psychological perspectives and with a particular emphasis on phenomenological and psychoanalytical research traditions. The overall aim is to bring these lines of investigation into fruitful conversation and to develop new understandings and paths for future research.

The workshop is open to all, but please pre-register in advance to receive the Zoom-link. To register, please send an email to [email protected]



Eastern European Time, EET, UTC+2

Thursday 14 October


11–11.15 Opening words

11.15–12.15 Thomas Fuchs (University of Heidelberg): Phenomenology and the Unconscious

12.15–13.15 Jussi A. Saarinen (University of Jyväskylä): Linking Creativity to Early Social Interaction

13.15–14.30 Break

14.30–15.30 Camille Buttingsrud (Independent scholar, Copenhagen): Conscious and Subconscious Body Memory in Dance

15.30–16.30 Sanna Tirkkonen (University of Jyväskylä): Exploring Collective Body Memories. An Engaged Approach to Social Class and Shame

Friday 15 October

11.00–12.00 Giovanna Colombetti (University of Exeter): Emotions, Affect, and the Unconscious

12.00–13.00 Dorothée Legrand (École Normale Supérieure): Transforming the Past

13.00–14.15 Break

14.15–15.15 Line Ryberg Ingerslev (University of Würzburg): Repression, Repetition, and Weak Agency

15.15 Closing words

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October 13, 2021, 9:00am EET

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