German 144. Freud and Psychoanalysis





Photo of Hall, Freud, Jung at Clark University, 1909


This course is not being offered during the current academic year.



This course will be equally accessible to students in German, comparative literature, history and literature, philosophy, religious studies, psychology and history of science (all texts will be available in translation). The course will give you a grounding in the early history of psychoanalysis; will investigate the relations between psychoanalysis and literature; and will assess the contribution of this tradition of thought to the intellectual life of the twenty-first century. The main readings will be taken from key texts by William James, Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung and Melanie Klein. We will explore the conceptual tools that the thinkers brought to bear on the affective life of human beings, and will investigate their implications and their continued relevance. How do different models of the human mind shape the way we relate to ourselves and others? To what degree can we access, understand and cultivate our unconscious affective life? The relation between psychoanalysis and literary texts will be explored through texts by Arthur Schnitzler, Thomas Mann and Toni Morrison. The critical engagement with founding texts of psychoanalysis and analytic psychology will also allow you to develop a nuanced assessment of recent re-deployments of the psychoanalytic tradition such as Jonathan Lear and Julia Kristeva. It will also allow you to evaluate challenges to Freudian constructions of the unconscious by cognitive scientists and philosophers such as Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber (2017), and Nick Chater (2018).

The mid-term paper will consist in a short exploration of a topic of your choice related to the readings. This topic will be further explored in your final paper.