An Affair with Hysteria: From Feminist Post-Lacanian Psychoanalysis to New Studies of Hysteria
This article is dedicated to post-Lacanian feminist psychoanalysis—an influential current of twentieth-century feminist theory, and to rethinking the problematizations made by this psychoanalytical current within the field of contemporary feminist theory. It presents the project of reinterpreting the psychoanalytical theory of hysteria within the framework of the so-called hysterically engaged feminism and its methodological influence upon the theories and practices of feminist literary criticism. It furthermore presents the polemic and main critical arguments against the “hysterically engaged” feminism in feminist theory of the 1990s and the attempts to reboot this kind of feminism in the 2010s and 2020s. It also shows that, largely thanks to the feminist theoreticians of psychoanalysis of the 1980s onward, the opposition between psychoanalysis and feminism, as well as that between feminism and hysteria appear archaic and methodologically unproductive in the third decade of the twenty-first century. According to many leading researchers of psychoanalysis, such as Juliet Mitchell, Jacqueline Rose, Theresa de Lauretis, Mariam Alizade, Jacqueline Schaeffer, and others, psychoanalysis, more than any other discipline, has contributed to the rise of female self-identity and feminist mobilization, despite its masculinist tradition and frequent overtly manifested antifeminism.
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