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, postcolonial theory, 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 publications can be found in journals such as Psychoanalysis, Culture, & Society (forthcoming; 2021), Arizona Quarterly (2020), Studies in Gender and Sexuality (2019), Free Associations (2019), The Psychologist (2019), Psychoanalysis & History (2017), and Feminist Theory (2017), among others.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, Carolyn's research is generally concerned with the ethics and politics of social relationality, which she explores across a variety of cultural objects, mediums, and texts, including novels, film, case studies, visual cultural, psychological archives, and state policy reports. Her first book, The Political Clinic (2024), turns to the psychoanalytic clinic to explore how, across the 20th century, psychoanalysts themselves became formidable political actors precisely through their clinical work, 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 seeks to displace the hegemony of the analyst's case study as the authoritative record of clinical practice by developing an accessible, multi-genre archive of patient testimony, thus recentering 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 Theory
• Queer Theory
• Radical Politics & The Clinic
•. Psychoanalytic History
• Generationality & Intergenerational Relationships
• Youth & Young People
• 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.
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)
University of Essex (1/8/2018 - present)
Assistant Professor (Lecturer),
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies,
University of Essex (1/8/2018 - 1/10/2020)