Friday, May 3, 12 Noon-2:00pm Eastern/Online

CAROL GILLIGAN, PhD and NAOMI SNIDER, LLM, LP with Discussant Michelle Stephens, PhD


Dissociation, Double Consciousness, and Doublethink: Where Freud Meets W.E.B. DuBois and George Orwell

DISTURBING THE SLEEP OF THE WORLD:  PSYCHOANALYSIS, SOCIAL AWAKENING & RADICAL POLITICS, the 2023-2024 Colloquium Series

The Colloquium Series 2023-2024 presented by the Psychoanalytic Society of the William Alanson White Institute

Dissociation, Double Consciousness, and Doublethink: Where Freud Meets W.E.B. DuBois and George Orwell

CAROL GILLIGAN, PhD

NAOMI SNIDER, LLM, LP

DISCUSSANT: MICHELLE STEPHENS,  PhD

 

ABOUT TODAY’S TALK

“…the splitting of consciousness which is so striking in the well-known classical cases under the form of “double conscience” is present to a rudimentary degree in every hysteria, and that a tendency to such a dissociation, and with it the emergence of abnormal states of consciousness (which we shall bring together under the term “hypnoid”) is the basic phenomenon of this neurosis” (Freud)

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” (DuBois)

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”  (Orwell)

Three key thinkers of the 20th century — the respective fathers’ of psychoanalysis; pan-Africanism and modern dystopian fiction — writing across a five decade time span, happen upon the same discovery: the splitting of the conscious mind so that one can simultaneously know and not know. For one it is a psychic defense, the other a symptom of anti-black racism and the third an instrument of the state that is used to maintain confusion. The same phenomenon looked at from three different angles, when taken as a whole allows a new picture to emerge: the traumatic splitting of the mind as central to the maintenance of oppressive political systems. Bringing together the writing of Freud, DuBois and Orwell, Gilligan and Snider will sketch out an understanding of the psychological and social forces that inhibit and foster political resistance. With this understanding in mind, the psychoanalytic project of expanding and integrating awareness becomes not just a matter of clinical process, but political progress.

 

ABOUT CAROL GILLIGAN, PhD
Carol Gilligan is the author of In a Different Voice, “the little book that started a revolution” and Why Does Patriarchy Persist? with Naomi Snider. As a member of the Harvard faculty, she initiated the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development and held the university’s first chair in Gender Studies. As a University Professor at NYU, she started the Radical Listening Project. Her books include The Birth of Pleasure, Meeting at the Crossroads (with Lyn Mikel Brown), Kyra: a novel, Joining the Resistance, Darkness Now Visible (with David Richards), and most recently, In a Human Voice. In 1996 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Americans.
ABOUT NAOMI SNIDER, LLM, LP
Naomi Snider is a practicing psychoanalyst and graduate of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology, where she currently serves as President of the Psychoanalytic Society. Her published works include the 2018 book, Why Does Patriarchy Persist?, co-authored with Carol Gilligan, and the co-edited volume (with Jean Petrucelli and Sarah Schoen), Patriarchy and its Discontent: Psychoanalytic Perspective (2022). She is currently part of a research team from NYU’s Radical Listening Project that in collaboration with three girls’ schools, is taking up one of the most urgent challenges of girls’ education: how to help girls develop the skills they need to resist pressures to self-silence in the name of inclusion and success.
ABOUT MICHELLE STEPHENS, PhD, LP
Michelle Stephens is a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology and a practicing psychoanalyst. She is also Professor of English and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, and the Founding and Executive Director of Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice (ISGRJ). Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she graduated from Yale University with a PhD in American studies. She is the author of Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914 to 1962 (Duke University Press, 2005) and Skin Acts: Race, Psychoanalysis and The Black Male Performer (Duke University Press, 2014). Recently she has published articles on the intersections of race and psychoanalysis in such journals as JAPA, Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Psychoanalytic QuarterlyStudies in Gender and Sexuality, and Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society.

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