Theories of Personality
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NPSY 3401
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus, Online
Permission Required: No
This class introduces theories of personality through readings of primary texts by major theorists. We begin by examining the groundbreaking research of Sigmund Freud and his theory of personality development and the unconscious. We then read modern Freudians, from John Bowlby and Margaret Mahler to Erik Erikson and Heinz Kohut. We look at Melanie Klein and the British Middle Group, particularly Donald Winnicott. We consider interpersonal and relational theories that stress not only the inner mind but the interactional self. We conclude with current research from feminism, sociology, and genetics. Throughout, we discuss personality as an intersection of factors including subjectivity, biological inheritance, personal history, and culture. We question the idea of a "normal" personality and study the way each theorist defines the abnormal or pathological. We also draw on cultural and clinical texts to illuminate these theories and the relevance of psychoanalysis to art and other cultural practices.