Psychoanalysis and the Critical Tradition in the Humanities

This seminar introduces students to major works in the psychoanalytic tradition, including but not limited to works by Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, and Jacques Lacan. It is designed to allow graduate students to develop better fluency in psychoanalytic vernaculars, frameworks, and large-scale theories in order to gain a deeper and more nuanced appreciation of the persistence of psychoanalytic ways of thinking in the broader critical tradition in the humanities. Importantly, this is not a seminar dedicated solely to the psychoanalytic tradition; rather, it introduces students to seminal works by some of the major thinkers of early twentieth-century psychoanalytic thought in order to build a basis from which to understand the impact of psychoanalysis on the development of later twentieth-century critical movements, including woman-of-color feminist theory, queer theory, postcolonial studies, and black studies. In other words, the course provides a graduate-level introduction to the intellectual history and critical aftermath of psychoanalysis as a field of thought. It pays special attention to understanding psychoanalytic theories of the self, the subject, and the abject (among others), and putting these modes of conceptualizing the subject into conversation with both contemporaneous and later theories of subjectivity (materialist, Foucauldian, etc.). Readings include works by Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Lacan, Jean Laplanche, Frantz Fanon, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Kaja Silverman, Hortense Spillers, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lee Edelman, Leo Bersani, Elizabeth Grosz, and others. Assignments include a midterm annotated bibliography and a 20–25-page final research paper. This course satisfies the “theory” course requirement for the Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Also AFAM 649, AMST 624, WGSS 624

Graduate Course #: 
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm