UW-Madison Center for the Humanities

Center for the Humanities

Past Faculty Development Seminars
Fall 2012: Psychoanalysis and Culture

Fall 2012: Psychoanalysis and Culture

Led by Tomislav Longinović (Slavic and Comparative Literature)

This faculty seminar is imagined as a survey of the engagement between psychoanalytic theory and the field of humanities broadly conceived.  Starting with the basic assumptions of psychoanalysis regarding the unconscious, repression, trauma and sexuality, we will trace the development of these concepts and their influence on a variety of disciplines: anthropology, social theory, political philosophy, literary studies, etc.

Part One.  Starting with Freud, Abraham, Rank and other figures of the first generation, we will move onto the work of ego-psychologists (Hartmann, Spitz, Mahler) and object-relations analysts (Klein, Fairbairn, Kohut) and culturalist psychoanalysis (Horney, Fromm, Erikson).  This would take up approximately one third of the seminar.

Part Two. In the second third, we will examine the works of the French structural/linguistic school, by looking at the works that have influenced the theoretical turn in the humanities during the seventies (Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Kristeva), by both outlining the basic ideas and critically examining the meaning of this turn and its effect on the field of humanities.

Part Three.  The concluding part of the seminar will look at the current engagement of psychoanalysis with other disciplines and present the writings of Žižek, Rose and Butler to present different types of engagements and transformations that the psychoanalytic inquiry faces today.

Since the rhetorical exchange between the analysts and analysand marks the entire psychoanalytic process, emphasis will be on the role of language in both its structural and performative aspects.  The central contribution to the field of humanities, which has extended this dialogue beyond the original field of “the talking cure” to other disciplines, has been the very process of critical analysis and inquiry itself, rather than particular body of theoretical knowledge.  We will focus on this aspect in the seminar, which seems especially critical nowadays, when the process of thinking and analysis have been under threat by various types of faith-based dogma and right wing fundamentalisms.

Seminar Readings

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Sept. 13: Sigmund Freud, “On Narcissism

Sept. 20: Otto Rank, Truth and Reality (excerpt)
Melanie Klein, Love, Guilt and Reparation (excerpt)

Sept: 27: Adam Phillips, "Narcissism, For and Against"

Oct. 11: Erik Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (excerpt)
Karl Abraham, “The Cultural Significance of Psychoanalysis

Oct. 18: Jacques Lacan, Seminar VII ("The Ethics Of Psychoanalysis") (excerpt)

Oct. 25: Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization (excerpt)

Nov. 8: Julia Kristeva, Hatred and Forgiveness (excerpt)

Nov. 15: Gilles Deleuze and Guattari, Nomadology: The War Machine (excerpt)

Nov. 29: Slavoj Žižek, Looking Awry (excerpt)

Dec. 6: Jacqueline Rose, States of Fantasy (excerpt)
Judith Butler, Frames of War (excerpt)