Reading Jacqueline Rose: Literature, Politics, and Psychoanalysis
For the writer and cultural critic Jacqueline Rose, psychic and political life are inseparable. The mind drives, and is driven by, the chaos of the public sphere. In her work, Rose confronts directly some of the most difficult questions surrounding the interworking of the psyche and politics: Why do humans go to war? Why haven’t we achieved gender parity and racial equality? Why are mothers so frequently the target of their children’s and our culture’s rage? As a literary scholar, Rose approached these questions through a sustained engagement with both modern classics and contemporary poetic works, including Sylvia Plath, Rosa Luxemburg, Sigmund Freud, and the founders of Zionist thought. How does Rose understand the interrelation of mind and politics, and how can her work help us think through some of the most pressing problems of modern society and politics, from apartheid to suicide bombings to trans rights and violence against women?
In this course we will read from Rose’s books and collections, including Sexuality in the Field of Vision and The Last Resistance, as well as from the writers and thinkers whose own work she has engaged: Freud and Melanie Klein, Lionel Trilling and Edward Said, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Plath, Luxemburg and more. And, we will investigate Rose’s status as a public figure: what does it mean to be a “public intellectual”? Why has Rose been accused of promoting ambiguity in the current “culture wars”? Throughout the course, we will endeavor to think expansively and daringly with Rose about the intersection of mental and political life, asking whether literature and theory are indeed sites where conflict is articulated for us to inspire change.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm BST (1:30-4:30pm ET)
July 08 — July 29, 2021