Fall 2017


PSP 789 - 1 : Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Political Philosophy
Noelle McAfee
Mondays 2:00-5:00PM, Bowden Hall 216

Taking up the “political unconscious,” this seminar will focus first on Freud’s most relevant texts and then move into trajectories of psychoanalysis since Freud and the various ways that psychoanalytic theory has been deployed in 20thcentury and contemporary social and political thought.

Tentatively, we will proceed as follows:

  • two weeks on key Freudian texts such as “the unconscious,” “on narcissism,” “mourning and melancholoia,” “group psychology,” “beyond the pleasure principle” and excerpts from late texts such as Civilization and Its Discontents
  • two weeks on post-Freud psychoanalytic schools, e.g. ego psychology, British object relations theory, relational schools, with special attention to the work of Klein, Fairborn, and Winnicott
  • two weeks on the uses of psychoanalytic theory in three generations of the Frankfurt School
  • two weeks on Lacan, Althusser, and Zizek on the imaginary, the mirror stage, ideology, and the symbolic
  • one week on race and ethnicity, via the work of Fanon and Volkan
  • one week on sexuality contra Lacan, via Irigaray and Cixous
  • one week on Andrë Green and Kristeva on the French reception of Freudian object-relations theory
  • one week on Deleuze & Guattari and maybe also Lyotard on desire and politics
  • one week on Castoriadis and the radical imaginary (plus Drucilla Cornell on autonomy reimagined)
  • one week on Laplanche’s social psychoanalytic theory
  • last week on Derrida, politics and the fear of breakdown

Students will likely be called on to give frequent presentations overviewing the readings plus they will, of course, write a final seminar paper.

Cross-listed with PHIL 789


PSP 789 - 2: Primal Scenes: Literature and Psychoanalysis
Elissa Marder
Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: In this course, we shall examine how psychoanalysis both establishes and challenges the boundaries of the human. Beginning with a close reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, we shall explore how Freud’s derives the specificity of the human unconscious (via the complex operations of the dream-work) by turning to literary language, theatrical spaces and events, and technological operations. Throughout the course, we will focus on the Freudian conception of the ‘primal scene’ as a way of examining how psychoanalytic theory challenges traditional conceptions of temporality, repetition, sexuality and desire, writing, mourning, cruelty, and the status of the historical event.

Texts may include: The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud); Freud’s case histories (including ‘Dora,’ ‘The Wolf-Man’, ‘The Rat-Man,’ ‘Little Hans’, and ‘Schreber’) Phèdre (Racine); Le Ravissment de Lol V. Stein (Duras); Moderato cantabile (Duras); La Chambre claire (Barthes); Selections from: Combray and A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Proust); La Bête humaine (Zola); To the Lighthouse (Woolf) Muriel (dir. Alain Resnais).  Additional readings may include works by: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Avital Ronell, Samuel Weber, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Hélène Cixous, & Sarah Kofman.

Cross-listed with FREN 775, CPLT 751