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Freud: A Tutorial
/ PSYC 158
This tutorial is devoted to the systematic reading of the principal works of Sigmund Freud, one of the deepest, subtlest, and most influential thinkers of the last one-hundred years. Students will read Freud’s work more or less chronologically, beginning with his writings on hysteria and concluding with his deeply pessimistic essay, “Analysis Terminable and Interminable.” In tutorial, we will consider the development of Freud’s thought over the course of his professional life: his general psychological writings on the nature and functioning of the human psyche, his clinical writings on psychoanalysis as a form of treatment, and his cultural writings on art and artists, on the origin of human society, on religion, and on the relation of the individual to society and civilization. We will not be considering the relevance of Freud’s ideas for purposes that transcend his own psychological agenda in the tutorial. Nor will we be much concerned with assessing whether Freud was “right” or “wrong” or whether his thought has clinical relevance today. Instead, we will seek to understand Freud as much as possible on his terms and not on ours, as a historical figure of originality, complexity and contradiction, whose thought deserves close reading and deep understanding within the context of Freud’s thought itself.
Format: tutorial; students will write and present orally six essays of 6-7 pages on assigned reading every other week; students not presenting an essay in a given week will be responsible for critiquing the presented essay
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
student grades will be assigned only at the end of the semester based on their papers, their critiques, and their performance in tutorial discussion
juniors and seniors and History majors needing a 400-level seminar or tutorial to fulfill the requirements for a degree in History
fulfills History's 400-level graduation requirement
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
As a tutorial, this course is by definition writing skills, both in terms of the number of papers that students will produce (six) and in terms of the focus on writing during every tutorial session. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
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