ENGL 411
Psychoanalysis and Its Discontents: The Psyche and the Social
Last Offered n/a
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

For many decades, psychoanalysis has been profoundly influential to radical thinkers seeking to overthrow regimes of racism, colonialism, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and ableism. At the same time, psychoanalysis has also been crucial to enforcing those very regimes. Whether mobilized towards liberatory or oppressive ends, it is difficult to overstate psychoanalysis’s influence on intellection, politics, and everyday social existence over the last century–even though we don’t always realize it’s there. If you bristle at the mention of Freud but think microaggressions are real, content warnings are a good idea, or that sharing about your feelings supports your wellbeing and relationships, your beliefs and values are probably indebted to psychoanalysis. This class surveys psychoanalytic perspectives on “the social,” that is, race, gender, sexuality, capitalism, dis/ability, imperialism, and so on. It also provides an introduction to basic foundations of psychoanalytic thought–especially Freud, object relations theory, and a bit of Lacan–with an emphasis on how the psychoanalytic canon underpins contemporary queer, feminist, and postcolonial theory; ethnic studies; disability studies; and religious studies. Building from foundations, we’ll also examine radical psychoanalysis alongside radical critiques of psychoanalysis. Additional topics and bodies of thought include trauma, Afropessimism, sexual difference feminism, antipsychiatry, and schizoanalysis. This class satisfies the WGSS Junior/Senior Seminar major requirement.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 0
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly discussion questions, oral presentations, participation, dream journal, final research project
Prerequisites: Students will benefit from coursework backgrounds in WGSS, AMST, ethnic studies, and/or the humanities broadly.
Enrollment Preferences: WGSS majors, juniors/seniors
Unit Notes: senior seminar
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This class examines psychoanalysis's role in shaping difference, power, and equity.

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