Dr Carolyn Laubender

Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Dr Carolyn Laubender



Carolyn Laubender, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, where she is the founding Co-Director of the MA in Gender & Sexuality Studies. Her interdisciplinary research interests include feminist and queer theory, the medical humanities, psychoanalytic history, and 20th century literature and film. Prior to joining Essex, Carolyn taught in The Program in Literature and The Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University in the US, where she was awarded fellowships from both Duke and from the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). She holds a Ph.D. from the Program in Literature at Duke University (with dual Certifications in Feminist Studies and College Teaching) and a BA in Gender Studies and Literature from Lehigh University. She also serves as the Book Reviews Editor for Psychoanalysis & History. Her recent work can be found in Psychoanalysis, Culture, & Society, Arizona Quarterly, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Psychoanalysis & History, among others. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Carolyn's research tends to be concerned with the ethics and politics of mental health, which she explores across a variety of interdisciplinary cultural objects, mediums, and texts, including novels, films, case studies, visual cultural, psychological archives, and state policy reports. In her first book, The Political Clinic (Columbia UP, 2024), she turns to the psychoanalytic clinic to explore how, across the 20th century, psychoanalysts themselves became formidable political actors through their clinical practice, where they implicitly transformed the privatized space of the clinic into a proto-political laboratory for reimagining the formations of race, gender, colonialism, childhood, empire, and democracy. By delving into case studies from across Britain and its former colonies, this book combines history with feminist and decolonial social theory to recast the clinic as a productive site for novel political thought, theorization, and action. Carolyn is currently working on 3 different projects that pursue a range of new topics and cultural objects. First, she is developing an article that takes up her intersectional interest in queer sexuality, race, gender, and age to consider how intergenerational eroticism functions as fugitive care work, disrupting international neoliberal divisions of labor. She is considering expanding this interest in intergenerational eroticism as queer kinship into a book or special issue. Second, she is beginning work on a second monograph on transgender childhoods and the medical humanities that considers the ascendence of narratives of emotional health, wellbeing, and happiness as a consequence of the neoliberal psychological and psychoanalytic regimes of medicalized hyper-management. And third, she is pursuing a public-facing grant project, The Patient Archive, that contributes to debates in narrative medicine by displacing the hegemony of the analyst's case study as the authoritative record of clinical practice through the development of an accessible, multi-genre archive of patient testimony that recenters voices of marginalized patient experience. At Essex, Carolyn teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on feminist, queer, and trans theory; psychoanalytic history; and 20th century literature and film. When it comes to supervision, she welcomes prospective PhD students whose research focuses on any of the following areas of specialization: • Feminist , Queer, and Trans Theory • Radical Politics & The Clinic •. Psychoanalytic History • Generationality & Intergenerational Relationships • Psychosocial approaches to Gender and Sexuality • Post/Decolonial Theory • Psychoanalysis, Literature, and Film All inquiries about PhD supervision should include a CV as well as a 5000-word (or so) project proposal, inclusive of: a description of the intended project & its intervention; a literature review; a methodology (where applicable); and a bibliography.


  • PhD Duke University,


University of Essex

  • Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer), Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex (1/10/2020 - present)

  • Programme Director, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Essex (1/8/2022 - present)

  • Programme Director, Childhood Studies, University of Essex (1/8/2018 - present)

  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex (1/8/2018 - 1/10/2020)

Other academic

  • Adjunct Instructor, The Program in Literature, Duke University (1/8/2017 - 31/5/2018)

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • The Psychosocial Imagination (PA134)

  • Psychoanalysis and Literature (PA231)

  • Childhood Inc.: Disney and the Globalization of Childhood (PA334)

  • Research Methods and Dissertation (PA981)

  • Foundations in Gender and Sexuality Studies (PA991)

  • Dissertation (PA900)


Journal articles (11)

Laubender, C., The Eye of the Beholder: Sexual Difference, Scientific Narrative, and the Female Gaze in Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud. Harts & Minds: The Journal of Humanities and Arts. 3 (1), 1-16

Laubender, C., (2022). Getting into character: On psychoanalysis and literature in the classroom. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. 27 (2-3), 386-390

Laubender, C., (2021). Empires of mind: postcolonial cartographies of ‘The Empire’ in Melanie Klein's Narrative of a Child Analysis. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. 26 (3), 323-344

Laubender, C., (2020). Speak for Your Self: Psychoanalysis, Autotheory, and the Plural Self. Arizona Quarterly. 76 (1), 39-64

Laubender, C., (2019). Beyond Repair: Interpretation, Reparation, and Melanie Klein's Clinical Play Technique. Studies in Gender and Sexuality. 20 (1), 51-67

Laubender, C., (2019). Empty Space: Creativity, Femininity, Reparation, Justice. Free Associations. 75 (1), 27-48

Laubender, C. and Giovanini, VO., (2019). Introduction: “Aesthetic Subjects”. Free Associations. 75, 1-8

Laubender, C., (2019). From the bomb to apollo 13: Bowlby and the cold war. The Psychologist. 33 (7), 76-78

Laubender, C., (2018). Book review: Matthew Bowker and Amy Buzby (eds), D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject. Psychoanalysis and History. 20 (1), 120-124

Laubender, C., (2017). On Good Authority: Anna Freud and the Politics of Child Analysis. Psychoanalysis and History. 19 (3), 297-322

Laubender, C., (2017). Book review: The biopolitics of gender, Jemima Repo. Feminist Theory. 18 (2), 232-234

Books (1)

Laubender, C., (2024). The Political Clinic Psychoanalysis and Social Change in the Twentieth Century. Columbia University Press. 0231560540. 9780231214940

Other (1)

Laubender, C., (2019).States of Security: John Bowlby, Child Psychology, and The Cold War,Hidden Persuaders Blog

+44 (0) 1206 873958


5A.208, Colchester Campus

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