In this course, we will explore a range of topics, issues, and methods that link
the discipline of history to the practice of psychoanalysis. In it, we look both
at the history of psychoanalysis and at efforts to put history "on the couch."
We will compare Freud's own exercises in cultural analysis (such as "Why War?"
and Civilization and its Discontents) with the psychohistory of the 1950s and 1960s
and with more recent attempts, often by feminist scholars, to integrate
theory with history writing. We also consider the legacy of
later modern European and North-American social thought,
including the work of
the Frankfort School and of Slavoj Zizek.
Reading knowledge of German or French would be useful but is certainly not
required. All students are welcome, but those with interests in modern
cultural and intellectual history, in cultural/literary theory, or in the history of
science and medicine may find the course especially helpful. Early modernists
may want to note how many major scholars in their field have been interested in
psychoanalysis: Michel de Certeau, John Demos, and Lyndal Roper are only
the first three names that come to mind.