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Feminism and Psychoanalysis

December 10, 2019 @ 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM



The Bureau is excited to partner again with the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research to bring you:
Feminism and Psychoanalysis
Instructor: Paige Sweet
Sigmund Freud famously described femininity as a “riddle” and “dark continent.” Yet, the psychoanalytic theories Freud generated, particularly his conception of how the unconscious influences the development of the self, has proved crucial to many feminist accounts of gender and sexuality. Paradoxically, it’s precisely because Freud did not know what a woman is that he felt compelled to discover how she becomes one. In other words, feminists have found in Freud a vocabulary for conceptualizing and articulating ways in which gender and sexuality are not natural—that is, not based on any pre-existing biological, anatomical, or psychic material.
In this course we will explore the intersection of feminism and psychoanalysis in order to understand the network of relations between sexuality and the unconscious, gender and the body, “feminine” experience and feminist politics, unconscious dynamic and social structures. Reading works by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, and others, we will ask: How does psychoanalysis theorize sexual difference in a way useful for feminist politics? Do theories of hysteria have any viability for feminist politics? Is there political potential in writing or thinking from the (“female”) body? If there is a “masculine” logic that has repressed a “feminine voice,” how might we go about hearing differently in order to listen to that voice? How might the poetic or experimental text be recruited for a psychoanalytically inflected feminism? What are the limitations of these theories of gender and sexuality; that is, what experiences might they occlude?


Course Schedule
Tuesday, 6:30-9:30pm
November 12 — December 10, 2019
4 sessions over 5 weeks
Class will not meet Tuesday, November 26th.

Registration is required. Please click here.


*Three scholarship spaces are reserved in each course because we realize that not everyone can afford to pay the full fee for our courses. Students who cannot pay the full fee should email us at to learn about our scholarship options. We will not ask questions about your financial situation but we do ask that you use the system in good faith and consider the needs of other students and faculty members.


The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is an independent, all-volunteer queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space hosted by The LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.


The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an organization of young scholars in New York City, founded in November 2011 by a few then-graduate students at Columbia University with a shared interest in pedagogy and genuinely interdisciplinary conversation. We teach classes all over the city, record a regular podcast, run a digital humanities initiative to preserve rare and out-of-print academic texts, and in general work frantically at any given time on a broad range of other academic and para-academic projects. We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.



Louise Bourgeois
Le Lit Gros Édredon (with lips)
Version 3 of 3, state XI of XI
Etching, aquatint, drypoint, engraving, and roulette
Plate: 50 x 67.8 cm; sheet: 63.6 x 80 cm





December 10, 2019
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM


NY United States + Google Map