Library Talk: Autism

Dr. Leon Brenner and PD Dr. Peter Schneider on contemporary approaches to autism

IPU-lecturer Dr. Leon Brenner has just published his new book on autism: The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language (2020). In his book, Dr. Brenner describes autism as a mode-of-being that is fundamentally linked to one’s identity and basic practices of existence, offering an alternative to treating autism as a mental or physical disorder. Abiding with the Lacanian approach, he examines autism with detailed attention to the use of language and proposes the new framework of the “autistic linguistic spectrum.”

This gives us the opportunity to start a discussion in campus on contemporary psychoanalytic approaches to autism. In this discussion, Dr. Leon Brenner and PD Dr. Peter Schneider will examine the subject of autism, exploring the many facets of the psychoanalytic understanding of autistic subjectivity today. How is autism to be understood as a linguistic phenomenon? Why should autism be described as a mode-of-being? And in what way does this affect the notion of a cure for autism? Debating major sections from his book, Dr. Brenner and PD Dr. Schneider will try to address these questions and also open up the discussion for questions from participants in the audience.

The discussion will take place on Zoom on 3 December at 8 pm. Please register using the form below. You will receive the zoom link afterwards.

Students and lecturers of the IPU are invited to participate and can also submit questions in advance: leon(at) Other interested guests are welcome to join as well.

Dr. Leon Brenner is a research fellow at the University of Potsdam and lecturer at the International Psychoanalytic University, Berlin. He is a training analyst, studying member of the APPI and a founder of Lacanian Affinities Berlin (laLAB). His latest book on the subject of the psychoanalysis of autism is called The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language, where he presents a novel account of autistic subjectivity from a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective.

PD Dr. Peter Schneider studied Philosophy, German Literature and Psychology. He lives in Zürich where he works as a psychoanalyst in a private practice. From 2004 to 2014 he was Privatdozent for Psychoanalysis and from 2014 to 2017 Professor for Developmental and Educational Psychology at the University of Bremen. Since 2014 he has been PD for Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis at the University of Zürich and since 2017 Lecturer for History and Epistemology of Psychoanalysis at the International Psychoanalytic University in Berlin. For many years he has been working as a satirist (Swiss Radio SRF3 and Sonntagszeitung, dayly/weekly) and columnist (Tagesanzeiger and Bund, weekly).