Session Description

This session explores the contested place of psychoanalysis in Russia by staging encounters of psychoanalytic theory with Russian cultural productions. By articulating what psychoanalysis and Russia offer each other, we reframe Russia’s encounter with psychoanalysis and supply a new way of thinking about psychoanalysis in an international context.

Speakers: Anna Fishzon, Duke Univ.; Emma Lieber (Panel Organizer), Rutgers Univ. , New Brunswick; Cate Reilly, Princeton Univ.;  Trevor Wilson, Univ. of Pittsburgh

Psychoanalysis has had a turbulent history in Russia: enthusiastically embraced in the early twentieth century, later banned by the Soviets, it now is undergoing a resurgence that some have seen as orthogonal to its waning popularity in the West. While Freud’s fascination with the Russian national character, as well as the role of Russian psychoanalysts and patients in the development of psychoanalytic theory, have been well documented, less studied are the intersections between the Russian cultural milieu and aesthetic imaginary with the psychoanalytic body of thought. This roundtable seeks to address this lacuna by offering encounters of (both Freudian and post-Freudian) psychoanalytic theory with various nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian cultural productions, in order to interrogate the dynamic, two-way dialogue between the Russian cultural atmosphere and the psychoanalytic epistemology. In particular, it seeks both to articulate the space that vestigial psychoanalytic influences may have opened up within the repressive Soviet regime, and the revisions to psychoanalytic discourse that the Russian cultural imaginary makes possible: in other words, what psychoanalysis offers Russia, and what Russia offers psychoanalysis. The hope is both to stage an encounter between Russia and psychoanalysis and to supply one version of thinking psychoanalysis in an international context.

The following papers can be found on this site and will presented briefly at the roundtable before opening up to discussion.

  • “The Queer Legacies of Late Socialism: Anxiety over Failed Masculinity, or, What
    Vinni-pukh and Gary Shteyngart Have in Common” by Anna Fishzon
  • “Is Orthodoxy pre-Oedipal?: Contact and Crises Between Freud and Modern Russian Orthodox Thought,” by Trevor Wilson
  • “The Novel without Oedipus,” by Emma Lieber
  • “Unwriting the Father: Russian Psychoanalytic Readings of Dostoevsky Before Freud” by Cate I. Reilly

Subjects: Genre, Theory, Method – Literature and Other Arts, Humanities, Law, Psychology, Science, and Sociology, Slavic and East European Literatures

Keywords: psychoanalysis, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Orthodoxy, animation

Site created by Cate I. Reilly

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