Sigmund Freud and the Birth of Psychoanalysis
600 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
In 1917, Sigmund Freud wrote: “clinical psychiatry takes little notice of the outward form or content of individual symptoms, but psycho-analysis…has established in the first place the fact that symptoms have a meaning.” In this course, students will investigate Freud’s initial forays into what and how symptoms mean via his discovery of psychoanalysis in the late 19th century and his break with his contemporaries regarding the causes and treatment of neuroses, such as hysteria and obsessiveness. Together, we will closely examine Freud’s early writings, including “Studies on Hysteria,” “The Neuro-psychoses of Defense,” “Screen Memories,” The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement, and Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. These texts reflect his struggle with—and eventual dismissal of—the models that, until Freud’s intervention, had dominated scientific accounts of psychopathology. Themes to be explored include: dissociation and repression, trauma and fantasy; the tensions between biology and mental conflict and between hereditary degeneracy and family dynamics; and, perhaps most controversially both then and now, Freud’s insistence on the primacy of sexuality in human development and behavior.
Course ScheduleSunday, 2-5pm
January 28 — February 18, 2018