Psychoanalysis: An Urban Experience
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NSOC 3715
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Social Sciences
- Urban Studies
It has been said that Sigmund Freud sought privacy on the Ringstrasse—that is, not in the quiet of his consulting room but on the street, the place of incidents and accidents. We trace the social history of psychoanalysis in parallel with the histories of two cities commonly associated with it: fin-de-siècle Vienna and "delirious" New York. Shifts in urban experience produced dramatic changes in the sensibility of the cosmopolitan bourgeoisie, transforming them from confident, self-possessed individuals to people suffering from "reminiscences," from flaneurs to hysterics. In this course, we explore the development of psychoanalysis and the materialist histories and economies that render the psychoanalytic enterprise tangible, that created the intimate rooms in which psychoanalysis makes its appearance. Readings and discussions include literature on the sociology of space and history of psychoanalysis, diagnostic manuals, and personal diaries. Students are expected to develop group research projects.