104 | CCN: 32977

Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Historical Eras

Instructor: Mario Wimmer,

4 Units

The course introduces to the history and rhetoric of the science of the unconscious and its influence on modern culture. We will analyze how the unconscious emerges within the history of modern rationality and how the concept of the psychoanalytical unconscious is modeled against 19th century historical thinking: When did the idea of an unconscious first surface? How could a whole science of the unconscious emerge? What kind of intellectual and cultural settings made it possible to perceive of an unconscious that by definition could not become an object of knowledge? Why does the unconscious remain an important interpretive model?

By the end of the 19th century, the concept of the unconscious had become not only an interpretive model but a world view that changed the place of the subject in modern culture. The course will explore the history of the unconscious and its early beginnings (Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hartmann) to the emergence of a psychoanalytical unconscious (Charcot, Freud, Jung, Lacan, Legendre, de Certeau). We will pay particular attention to intellectual (e.g. hypnosis, talking cure, cultures of collecting) and cultural practices (the couch, early film, bureaucracy and legal culture) of the unconscious.

Readings will include:

- Various texts by Descartes, Freud, Hartmann, Charcot, Jung, Lacan etc.
- Angus Nicholls/Martin Liebscher (Eds.): Thinking the Unconscious Nineteenth-Century German Thought, Cambridge UP 2010. (available as eBook through OskiCat)
- Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious, 1970.
- Georges Didi-Huberman, Invention of Hysteria, 2003.
- Andreas Mayer, Sites of the Unconscious. Hypnosis and the Emergence of the Psychoanalytic Setting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
- Jacques Derrida, “Freud and the Scene of Writing,” Id., Writing and Difference, Routledge, 2002.
- Warwick Anderson et al. (eds), Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties, Duke UP, 2012. 

All readings will be made available as pdf through bCourses.

There will be a mid-term exam and short writing assignments along the way; no final paper or exam.