345-101-MQ, Psychoanalysis and Modern Life
Psychoanalysis established the foundations of modern psychology at the end of the 19th century by combining a theory of the mind with a therapeutic practice. Yet its founder, Sigmund Freud, envisioned nothing less than a vast system of knowledge that would bring together a wide variety of disciplines, including social psychology, cultural studies, anthropology, art history, comparative mythology and literature, the study of religion, and gender theory. His aim was to understand the complex connections between individual experience and social life, suffering and happiness, or nature and culture, as well as to consider the limits and possibilities of human reason and social progress. In doing so, he initiated an intellectual revolution that came to encompass many aspects of modern thought and culture; as critics and sympathizers alike agree, he has fundamentally changed the way we think and speak about human reality. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the central insights of this revolution and its impact on modern culture.