Campus & Community

Psychoanalysis symposium at Radcliffe

3 min read

Race and the aesthetics of aversion, subjectivity and its discontents, and the impact of Sept. 11 on psychoanalysis are among the topics to be discussed at a one-day symposium sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. “Why Psychoanalysis? A Symposium on the Value of Psychoanalysis for Contemporary Life” will be held on Friday, Feb. 22, in Agassiz Theatre, Radcliffe Yard, and is free and open to the public.

This symposium will bring together a diverse group of academics and clinicians who will discuss the value, usefulness, and applicability of psychoanalysis to some of our most complex sociocultural and intellectual preoccupations. In addition to psychoanalysts and psychologists, the speakers include an English professor, a poet, and a historian. Nancy J. Chodorow, a Radcliffe alumna, current Institute fellow, and author of the seminal work “The Reproduction of Mothering” (University of California Press, 1978), helped to create this event.

“I am very pleased to have the Radcliffe Institute convene this intellectual gathering, which will bring together distinguished women and men from a wide range of disciplines,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute. “I am confident that their discussions will offer new insights into psychoanalysis and its uses.”

The symposium will begin at 9 a.m. with remarks by Faust. Participating in the first session, titled “History/Society/Psyche,” is Lynn Hunt, the Eugen Weber Professor of Modern European History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Anne Anlin Cheng, an associate professor of English and American literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Hunt will focus on “History and Psychoanalysis,” while Cheng will discuss her current project, “Wounded Beauty: Race and the Aesthetics of Aversion.”

“Clinical Aims/Cultural Concerns” will follow, with Nancy Chodorow and Kimberlyn Leary. Chodorow, a psychoanalyst, and a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, and the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, will offer insights into “Subjectivity and Its Discontents.” Leary, who is also a clinician in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, will discuss “Finding the Mind in the Net: Psychoanalytic Selves in a Digital World.”

At 2 p.m. the topic will be “Psychic/Global Divisions.” Adrienne Harris will examine “Hatred at Close Range: Misogyny through a Relational Psychoanalytic Lens.” Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, will focus on “Psychoanalysis after September 11.”

During the final session, commentators David L. Eng, an associate professor of English at Rutgers University, and Forrest Hamer, a clinical psychologist and the author of two volumes of poetry, will offer their responses to the discussions generated throughout the day.

Participants and audience members are invited to a reception at 5 p.m.