Dreaming Woman: Argentine Modernity and the Psychoanalytic Diaspora

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2018

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Abstract

Dreaming Woman decenters Europeanist histories of psychoanalysis by examining the ways in which forced migration has shaped psychoanalytic theories of sexual difference and evolving modes of feminist practice in Latin America. Home to more psychoanalysts per capita than any other country, Argentina emerged as a site of political asylum during WWII and of exilic dissemination during periods of military dictatorship. Taking Argentina as an exemplary case of psychoanalytic entrenchment that disrupts neat oppositions between Europe and its others, Dreaming Woman reframes the psychoanalytic archive on sexual difference as a discourse on migration. Tracing the coincident rise of psychoanalysis and authoritarianism in Argentina, I examine the role of migrant women, and of discourses on Woman, in establishing new relationships between psychoanalysis and politics.

Through a multimedia archive that includes literature, autobiography, pop culture artifacts, transnational correspondences, clinical case studies, theoretical essays, and artwork, Dreaming Woman approaches psychoanalysis as a heterogeneous set of clinical and cultural practices through which Argentines have articulated distinctive feminist and anti-imperialist projects throughout the twentieth century. These archival materials share a concern for female sexuality as a national problem—that is, a problem tied to national identity and a problem for the nation-state to solve. They also show the transformative impact of clinical encounters with female sexuality, maternal grief, and torture on modern theories of the subject. In view of contemporary anxieties surrounding global migration, the case of Argentina shows that psychoanalysis has always been a political practice forged through exile, one that offers an indispensable conceptual framework for addressing the persistent psychic traces of displacement.

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Greenspan, Rachel Evangelyn (2018). Dreaming Woman: Argentine Modernity and the Psychoanalytic Diaspora. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16789.

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