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Book Chapter

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Oxford University Press


Both education and psychoanalysis, Freud warned in "Analysis Terminable and Interminable," are '"impossible' professions" in which "one can be sure beforehand of achieving unsatisfactory results."' In spite of his understanding of the unsatisfactory consequences of psychoanalysis, Freud did not turn aside from his own impossible profession. Nor do the authors in this volume turn aside from theirs: all are educators; all teach psychoanalysis in some form; and, compounding the "impossibilities," most teach courses on Freud in departments of religious studies.

The contributors to this volume are both teachers and scholars: all have contributed in significant ways to the literature on psychoanalysis and religion. This volume provides an opportunity for these teaching scholars to articulate something we seldom write about: how we teach Freud and religion; how we integrate our scholarly lives with our pedagogical lives; how we live and work with the impossibilities of our professions.

The contributors to this volume were invited to describe their courses on Freud and religion. They were encouraged to focus on the academic contexts within which they teach; to articulate their pedagogical goals, assumptions, and practices; and to explain their methods of integrating scholarship and pedagogy. The intent was to produce a volume as useful to the new professor constructing a first course on Freud in religious studies as it would be to the more seasoned professor interested in incorporating new ideas and pedagogical methods into a well-established course. The result is a collection that admirably fulfills this intention and, in fact, goes well beyond it: not only are the essays discussions of how we teach Freud but they are also scholarly contributions to the "Freud and religion" literature. In addition, they are written in a style that will be accessible to students.

Each chapter is a thoughtful, informative, and often quite personal account of our courses, our departments, our students, and our universities. The contributors describe, in lively and engaging essays, their scholarly and pedagogical engagements with Freud as a critic and interpreter of religion; as a Jew in an anti-semitic milieu; as an architect of contemporary culture; as a creator of the modem, postmodern, or gendered self; and as a subject, particularly in the last few years, of acrimonious debate.

Chapter of

Teaching Freud


Diane E. Jonte-Pace


"This material was originally published in Teaching Freud edited by Diane E. Jonte-Pace, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit

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