Fall 2018


PSP 760 - Introduction to Psychoanalytic Studies

Noëlle McAfee

W 6-9

This seminar will introduce students to basic concepts in Freudian theory and then turn to the various schools of thought and techniques that have proliferated in the 100 years since, including ego psychology, object relations theory (both British and French approaches), contemporary relational theory, Lacanian psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic feminism, and decolonial psychoanalysis. Most sessions will feature guest speakers, about half of whom are practicing analysts and the other half being scholars of the various psychoanalytic schools. Some are both. The goals of the seminar are (1) to introduce students to basic psychoanalytic concepts, (2) to familiarize them with the plurality of approaches that have been developed and employed since Freud, (3) to help them peer into the clinic, that is, the ways in which psychoanalysis is actually practiced, and (4) to help students find and develop their own psychoanalytic point of view. While this is a required course for the certificate in the Psychoanalytic Studies Program, all PhD students in the Laney Graduate School, including those not pursuing the certificate, are welcome.

Required Texts:

Anthony Elliott, Psychoanalytic Theory: An Introduction, Third Edition (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Stephen A. Mitchell and Margaret J. Black, Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought, updated with a new introduction (New York: Basic Books, 2016).

Other readings available on Canvas or via the PEP archive, a database available through the Emory libraries. For the first meeting, students should read Freud’s Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis in volumes XV and XVI of the Standard Edition. These are rather long, so please give yourself plenty of time.


PSP 789 - Law and the Unconscious Mind

Martha Grace Duncan

Course Description

  • How can prison be irresistibly alluring, and what does this allure imply for the purposes of punishment?
  • How does the character of the one-time criminal differ from that of the career offender?
  • How does stealing gratify both the wish to be dependent and the wish to be macho and aggressive?
  • Why are metaphors of soft, we dirt (such as slime and scum) commonly used for criminals, and why is this usage not really as negative as it seems?
  • Why might the world be a poorer place without criminals?                                     

These are some of the intriguing questions that will be explored in this class.  In addition, the course provides a basic understanding of psychoanalysis, including infantile sexuality, the unconscious, and the defense mechanisms, such as denial, repression, undoing, and splitting.  The class format will consist in lecture, discussion, movies, and (a few) games. 

Grading and Attendance Policies 

A three-hour, closed-book examination will be the primary basis for the grade. Class participation may be grounds for grade adjustment.  Pursuant to ABA and law school rules, regular attendance is required.  A pattern of poor attendance may be cause for lowering a grade. 

Course Materials

Books and Articles

The following books will be read in their entirety or in substantial part:

Franz Alexander & William Healy, Roots of Crime.

Charles Brenner, An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis

Martha Grace Duncan, Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment

Muriel Gardiner, The Deadly Innocents:  Portraits of Children Who Kill

Nancy McWilliams, Psychoanalytic Diagnosis

  • Roots of Crime and The Deadly Innocents may be purchased in the Law School Photocopy Center.
  • An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis and Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons: The Unconscious Meanings of Crime and Punishment are available from the Barnes & Noble at Emory Bookstore and Amazon.
  • In addition to the books listed above, please purchase two spiral-bound notebooks entitled simply Law and the Unconscious: Supplemental Materials Volume I and Volume II.  They contain assigned readings and illustrations of psychoanalytic concepts in our culture.

Movies and Television Series

Selected episodes from the HBO series In Treatment and most of the movie Ordinary People will be shown in class.  Louis Theroux in San Quentin (2008 BBC documentary) will be shown in class in its entirety in conjunction with the prison section of the course. 

The movie Les Miserables (1998 version, with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush) is highly recommended for its depiction of Javert’s obsessive pursuit of Jean Valjean, which relates to the reading entitled “A Strange Liking:  Our Admiration for Criminals.”   

Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock’s film about a kleptomaniac) and Spellbound (Hitchcock’s film about the analysis of a possible murderer) are also highly recommended.

Course originated in the school of law