Elizabeth Lunbeck’s The Americanization of Narcissism


The The Americanization of Narcissism

Harvard University Press, 2014, 384 pages.

Historians have not handled psychoanalysis very well. The clumsy reductionism of much of the psychohistory movement is usually Exhibit A, though historians such as Dominick LaCapra and Joan Scott have been developing more nuanced ways of using psychoanalytic ideas for History. But the historiography of psychoanalysis has also had …


Michal Shapira’s The War Inside

Shapira - CoverThe War Inside: Psychoanalysis, Total War, and the Making of the Democratic Self in Postwar Britain

by Michal Shapira

2013, Cambridge University Press, 284 pages


Between September 1940 and May 1941, the Luftwaffe dropped nearly 50,000 tons of bombs over Britain. In 1940, at the height of these air raids during World War II, the celebrated British poet Edith …


Deborah Weinstein’s The Pathological Family

The Pathological Family: Postwar America and the Rise of Family Therapy

by Deborah Weinstein

Cornell University Press, 2013. 280 pages.

In ‘The Pathological Family’, Deborah Weinstein argues that in mid-20th century America, researchers and clinicians developed a new mode of therapy to treat families focusing on structural and relational aspects of family life.  In doing so, they implicitly acknowledged …


Gitelman’s Paper Knowledge and Kafka’s The Demon of Writing

Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents
Duke University Press, 2012, 224 pages

by Lisa Gitelman


The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork
Zone Books, 2012, 208 pages

by Ben Kafka


Ben Kafka and Lisa Gitelman, colleagues at New York University, have both written books about the intricate nature of paper as a medium. While …

In the Journals

Special issue of Clio’s Psyche on “Psychoanalytic Anthropology”

I recently edited a special issue of Clio’s Psyche on “psychoanalytic anthropology” which may be of interest to Somatosphere’s readers.  The issue contains 18 brief and accessible articles on a range of approaches in psychoanalytic anthropology as well as personal reflections from anthropologists working from a variety of psychoanalytic perspectives, including contributions from Robert LeVine, Ellen Corin, Howard Stein, and …


Catherine Malabou’s The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage

The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage

by Catherine Malabou

Fordham University Press, 2012. Translated by Steven Miller. 249 pages, US$32.00, paperback

I. Unrecognizable Subjects and the Irruption of Trauma

“You know who my mother was?” a voice asks from off-screen. The elderly woman shakes her head.

“You…You are my mother,” the interviewer replies.

“How can I really be