Fall 2013 - Graduate Course Description
Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 7372 Section: 001
T Time: 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title:
Psychoanalysis and Culture



This is an introduction to psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic approaches to literature and culture. It will focus on psychoanalytic theories that have exerted a shaping influence on literary and cultural theories and scholarship. The overall aim is to enable students to acquire a basic knowledge of psychoanalytic theory so as to understand contemporary literary and cultural theories and to find their own approaches to research materials in their fields.

The course starts with an in-depth introduction to classical psychoanalytic theory by Freud and Jung and will be followed by a substantial introduction to structuralist and post-structualist psychoanalysis and criticism. To relate psychoanalytic theory more meaningfully to contemporary literary and cultural studies, we will take the cue from Lacan’s call for a “return to Freud” via linguistics and read some linguistic works by Saussure and Jakobson so as to have a better understanding of how post-Freudian psychoanalysis integrates Freudian theory with Saussurean linguistics to transform Freudianism. Despite its theoretical orientation, the course will combine readings of theory and intellectual history with analysis of chosen literary works.

An emphasis will be laid on adequate understanding of chosen texts in the larger context of critical theory and cultural studies. No prior knowledge of psychoanalysis is required.


1) Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York: Avon, 1965).
2) ___________. Moses and Monotheism (New York: Random House, 1967)
3) Peter Gay, ed., The Freud Reader (New York: Norton, 1995).
4) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959).
5) Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection (New York: Norton, 1977).
6) Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (New York: Vintage Books, 1980).
7) Peter Rudnytsky, Freud and Oedipus (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992).
8) Sophocles, The Theban Plays: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone (New York: Dover Publications, 2006).
9) A score of handouts: Writings by Edgar Allan Poe, Otto Finichel, Lacan, Saussure, Jakobson, Derrida, Jeffrey Mehlman, Jameson, Brooks, and others.


All students are required to attend classes regularly, actively participate in classroom discussions, hand in summaries/reviews of assigned reading, give presentations on assigned materials, and write a final paper. The term paper may focus on an aspect of psychoanalysis, a psychoanalytic approach to criticism, or the application of psychoanalytic approaches to his or her own field of learning. Midway through the course, each student needs to turn in an proposal for the final paper (2 pages) outlining the initial ideas, approaches and research materials for the final paper. The grading is based on the following:
1. Summaries/Reviews 10%
2. Presentations 10%
3. Preliminary proposal at midterm 5%
4. Attendance and Participation in discussion 15%
5. Term paper (15-18 pages) 60%
Total: 100%

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