Dr Carolyn Laubender

Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Dr Carolyn Laubender



Carolyn Laubender, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, where she is also the Director of the BA Programme in Childhood Studies. Prior to joining Essex in 2018, Dr. Laubender 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). At Essex, she was pleased to be the recent recipient of the Outstanding Early Career Researcher in the Social Sciences (2020), where she won 2nd Place. Dr. Laubender's interdisciplinary research explores the intersection of 20th century Anglophone psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, and history. Her research is especially interested in the social and historical implications of 'the clinic' and clinical practice, broadly construed. Her current book project, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE POLITICS OF THE CLINIC, takes up the clinical writings of midcentury European (principally British) psychoanalysts and considers how these analysts reimagined the psychoanalytic clinic as a site of experimental political theorization and action in Britain and its (post)colonies. Combining scholarship from feminist theory, postcolonial theory, political theory, and childhood studies, she contends that interwar and postwar psychoanalysts became formidable political actors precisely through their clinical work, where they implicitly transformed the privatized space of the clinic into a proto-political laboratory. PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE POLITICS OF THE CLINIC thus (re)positions clinical practice as apiece with social and political engagement, challenging established credos of clinical psychoanalysis’s neutrality, apoliticality, and impartiality. She has published related work in leading cultural studies journals like Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society (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. She also currently serves as the Book Reviews Editor for Psychoanalysis & History. Dr. Laubender's second research project, tentatively titled “The Patient Archive,” aims to develop a public and accessible multi-genre archive of patient stories, case-studies, and testimonies. This project emerges from the recognition that the majority of accounts available documenting medical encounters are produced by the doctor, psychologist, or psychoanalyst. Wagering that this asymmetry indicates that there is much still left to be said about the medical encounter, this archive aspires to create a space for patients of all types to “speak back” to the psychological and medical complex. In doing so, patients are able to create and record a durable archive of their own experiences on par with those produced and maintained by the medical establishment. This archive is designed to be deliberately broad, encompassing critical and creative patient accounts of many types, including: historical first-person patient stories, newly recovered; outsider writing and accounts from within the psychiatric institution; narratives of encounters with racism, sexism, homophobia, and/or transphobia in psychology or medicine; patient “case-studies” of their own analysis; COVID-19 stories; and illness narratives of any kind. This is an interdisciplinary project combining work from across the humanities and social sciences and it will soon be seeking funding. At Essex, Dr. Laubender teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on childhood studies; gender and sexuality studies; psychoanalytic theory and history; queerness, race, and diversity; and 20th century literature and film. Along with Dr. Julie Walsh, Dr. Laubender is also leading on the creation of a forthcoming MA in Gender and Sexuality Studies (2022). When it comes to supervision, Dr. Laubender is most interested in hearing from potential PhD students whose research focuses on any of the following areas of specialization: • Psychoanalytic History • Radical Politics & The Clinic • Psychosocial approaches to Gender and Sexuality • Feminist Theory • Generationality & Intergenerational Relationships • Youth & Young People • Queer Theory • 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 literature review; a description of the intended project & its intervention; a methodology (where applicable); and a bibliography. Students should also include a brief description of the potential match of research interests with my own. To this, I encourage students to briefly engage with any of my own work (available here: before determining a potential fit. My current supervisions include: An consideration of how the #MeToo feminist social movement has materialized in the clinic; A psychosocial exploration of cross-gender identification in Taiwanese Yaoi (Boys' Love Fanfiction); A Foucauldian examination of discourses of "perversion" in the clinic; and a social history of ADHD.


  • PhD Duke University,


University of Essex

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

  • Introduction to Childhood Studies (PA140)

  • Wild Things: Literature, Childhood, Psychoanalysis (PA231)

  • Dissertation (PA254)

  • Dissertation (Childhood Studies) (PA333)

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

  • Psycho Analytic Theory (PA901)

  • Research Skills and Methods in Depth Psychology (PA915)

  • The Queer Child (PA947)

  • Dissertation (PA987)

  • Critical Debates in Childhood and Childhood Studies (PA943)


Journal articles (10)

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

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

Laubender, C., (2018). DW Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject. Psychoanalysis and History. 20 (1), 120-124

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

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

Other (1)

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

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