How psychoanalysis got sexually conservative

The ‘Jewish Science’ crosses the Atlantic

  • Tue 20 Mar 18

    17:00 - 18:30

  • Colchester Campus

    LTB 9

  • Event speaker

    Professor Dagmar Herzog - City University of New York

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of

  • Contact details

    Debbie Stewart

In no other time and place was Freudian psychoanalysis more successful, and psychiatry more psychoanalytic, than in the first two Cold War decades in the US.

This was also a time and place when psychoanalysis strove to shed its subversive reputation and develop sexually normative and conservative messages. 

This was, it turns out, not merely a product of generalized Cold War trends, but rather a major side-effect of massive, widely broadcast battles over the relationship between religion and psychoanalysis that marked the years 1947-1953 in particular. The ‘Jewish science’ of psychoanalysis underwent a process of ‘Christianization’ in the postwar US.

In addition, the talk explores how deep ambivalence about the status and the very meaning of the concept of ‘libido’ was at the heart of a succession of fierce controversies and rivalries that helped determine the directions taken by postwar psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

The Speaker

Dagmar Herzog is Distinguished Professor of History and the Daniel Rose Faculty Scholar at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She writes on the histories of religion, the Holocaust and its aftermath, and gender and sexuality.

Her most recent books are:

  • Cold War Freud: Psychoanalysis in an Age of Catastrophes (2017) 
  • Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History (2011)

She is currently working on a project entitled Unlearning Eugenics: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Disability in Post-Nazi Europe.

Register your place

This Open Seminar is jointly hosted by the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and the Department of Sociology.

Entry is free and open to all.