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York Summer Theory Institute in Art History 2022–23 Art History & Psychoanalysis

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Tuesday 22 November 2022, 10.30AM

Speaker(s): Professor Whitney Davis, University of California at Berkeley

YSTI 2022/23 is devoted to the varied and often vexed relationships between the discipline of the history of art and the theories and practices of psychoanalysis. Freud’s forays into the historical and psychoanalytic interpretation of visual art remain essential reading, and analysts after Freud have explored concepts of potential significance to art historians: ‘fetishism’, ‘screen memory’, ‘transitional object’, and others. Many art historians wield diverse psychoanalytic concepts with confidence and flair. Yet art history remains removed from major arenas in which psychoanalytic theories have been practiced: for example, in ‘art therapy’ and in the use of ‘projection drawing’ in such places as kindergartens and prisons. Indeed, the reasons for art history’s turns to psychoanalysis remain wildly diverse. We will consider influential earlier contributions to this complex story as well as current interventions, focusing on developing participants’ postgraduate research interests in this general area.

YSTI 2022/23 will have two parts. On Tuesday. November 22, 2022, there will be a one-day in-person meeting on the York campus (with some virtual components), intended to preview and explore issues and topics (registration required). This meeting will help establish next steps, such as formation of a 2022/23 reading group. In the first week of June, 2023, we will run the usual one-week YSTI at York (travel and accommodation provided for out-of-town participants); detailed information and application process will be announced in the spring.

The preliminary programme for November 22 (approximately 10:30am–7:30pm) includes a mid-morning coffee/tea welcome; overview of the purposes of YSTI (hybrid—H); conveners’ presentation of some ideas and stakes of the topic, to be explored further in June 2023 (H); a catered lunch; conversations about psychoanalysis and art history between the conveners and participants, including pre-recorded short interviews with art historians and psychoanalysts (H); late afternoon/early evening film screening and discussion (Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuels Un chien andalou [1928] and Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg [2007], total approx. 110 mins.); from 7:30 p.m., department drinks reception.

Image: ‘Projection drawing’ (‘self-portrait) by an unknown client in sex reformer Magnus Hirschfeld’s queer-friendly counseling clinic in Berlin, c. 1930; original lost (probably burned by the Nazis in 1933).

To register to attend this event please click here to complete the registration form.

Location: Hosted by the History of Art department, University of York


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