CF 721: Psychoanalytic Social Theory

From its beginnings psychoanalysis has been about the social as much as the individual. At once a clinical method and a theory of interpretation and critique, psychoanalysis has been a key resource in what philosopher Paul Ricoeur influentially called “the hermeneutics of suspicion.” This course will explore some of the developments of psychoanalytic theory in its application to analysis of the social, the historical, and the political, with a special focus on contemporary critical and queer theory. Central to this inquiry are questions about the constructive and punitive limits of individuality, and consequent understandings of the psyche as a space specifically of political formation. The ultimate goal is to interpret critically, which is to say with heightened self-awareness, the fit of the practices of psychodynamic psychotherapy within the social and political contexts of which they form a part. Prerequisite: CF 711