A Book Presentation

In conjunction with New School for Social Research Dept. of Philosophy


The Intellectual Biography of Freud with Joel Whitebook

Thursday, October 31, 2019
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wolff Conference Room (Room D1103)
6 E 16th St, New York, NY 10013



As Hegel observed, the “Objective Spirit” never stands still — an observation that is especially true today. As a result, members of every generation have to return to the classics and reappropriate them for themselves. This is what Joel Whitebook has done in his recently published intellectual biography of Freud (Cambridge University Press) that we will be discussing in this workshop.

Cutting through the tired clichés of the “Freud Wars,” the author presents us with a radically new portrait of the founder of psychoanalysis. Because Whitebook is a philosopher as well as a psychoanalyst, he has been able to integrate many of the profound transformations that have taken place in psychoanalytic theory and practice, infant research, gender studies, philosophy, and critical theory since Ernest Jones and Peter Gay published their canonical studies in the last century. Whitebook thereby succeeds in creating an account of Freud’s achievement that speaks to our cultural situation.

Furthermore, in addition to presenting the unfolding of Freud’s thinking in the context of the developments in his personal life and in the society at large, Whitebook has also succeeded in bringing this iconic man to life in compelling fashion. Where Freud often tried to protect himself by hiding behind the forbidding mask of an authoritarian patriarch and unbending rationalist, we come to see him as the vulnerable, complex, and all-too-human person that he was.


Joel Whitebook, Ph.D.


Noelle McAfee, Ph.D.
Jeanne Wolff-Bernstein, Ph.D.



A Book Presentation

In conjunction with New School for Social Research Dept. of Philosophy


Conversion Disorder with Jamieson Webster

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Wolff Conference Room (Room D1103)
6 E 16th St, New York, NY 10011



Conversion disorder—a psychiatric term that names the enigmatic transformation of psychic energy into bodily manifestations—offers a way to rethink the present. With so many people suffering from unexplained bodily symptoms; with so many seeking recourse to pharmacological treatments or bodily modification; with young men and women seemingly willing to direct violence toward anybody, including themselves—a radical disordering in culture insists on the level of the body.

Part memoir, part clinical case, part theoretical investigation, this book searches for the body. Is it a psychopathological entity; a crossroads for the cultural, political, and biological in the form of care; or the foundation of psychoanalytic work on the question of sexuality? Jamieson Webster traces conversion’s shifting meanings—in religious, economic, and even chemical processes—revisiting the work of thinkers as diverse as Benjamin, Foucault, Agamben, and Lacan. She provides an intimate account of her own conversion from patient to psychoanalyst, as well as her continuing struggle to apprehend the complexities of the patient’s body. When listening to dreams, symptoms, worries, or sexual impasses, the body becomes a defining trope that belies a vulnerable and urgent wish for transformation. Conversion Disorder names what is singular about the entanglement of the fractured body and the social world in order to imagine what kind of cure is possible.


Jamieson Webster, Ph.D.


Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.



A Two-Day Conference Honoring the New School Centennial


The Emigré Analysts and American Psychoanalysis: History and Contemporary Relevance

Friday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m
Saturday, December 14, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Book your tickets here!

(Ticket: $75, Ticket + CE Credits: $100)
Free to New School students.

CE credit available for NYS Social Workers and MHCs


This conference is organized to examine the context AND the contemporary relevance of the forced emigration of European Jewish psychoanalysts in the deepening crisis in Europe in the 1930s, the rise of Fascism, the subsequent war, and the Holocaust.

This conference is set in the context of the Centennial of the New School, historically the ‘University in exile’, and a site of radical thought and practice throughout its history.


Adrienne Harris
Aleksandra Wagner


Nellie Thompson, Emily Kuriloff, Judit Meszaros,
Ellen Schrecker, Pamela Cooper-White, Eli Zaretsky,
Adam Brown, Irene Cairo, Rogelio Sosnik


Friday, December 13, 7:00-10:00pm
Theresa Lang Student and Community Center
Room I202, 55 W 13th St.


We begin with a Friday evening event: a Roundtable with all the participants. This introduces the issues, and history and contemporary implications that are essential to understanding this migration, its support, its agenda, its impact, and its relevance to our contemporary circumstances, internationally. Followed by Q and A with audience.


Saturday, December 14, 9:00am-5:00pm
Room UL104
University Center, 63 Fifth St.

Three panels.

1. The Political and Historical Background to this work of the ECRI in Europe and in the United States. Life and practice under conditions of immigration for Analysts and families arriving from Europe
Panelists: Thompson, Schrecker, Meszaros
Moderator: Harris

2. The importing and transforming of Theory and Practice. What changed inside Psychoanalysis – its institutions, its theories, and its practices?
Panelists: Cooper-White, Kuriloff, Zaretsky

3. Contemporary political and social crises, and exile and emigration in the present.
Panelists: Brown, Cairo, Sosnik
Moderator: Wagner



Lewis Aron (1952-2019)

Written by Adrienne Harris

On Thursday February 28, 2019, our dear colleague and friend and leader and brave man, Lewis Aron, died in New York City. It was the end we had all feared and mostly denied, as we accompanied Lew on a long and courageous voyage fighting and living with a life threatening cancer.

There is so much to say about Lew’s life and work but I want to begin with his way of combatting and living with his illness. He was brave but most powerfully he was generous with family, friends and colleagues. He has provided an amazing lesson in how to be open and available and at the same time continue to work for health and survival.  We badly need, in our field, to be able to face difficulty, support each other as life and work patterns are put in question, and to create a climate of honesty and responsibility.

Yesterday I taught a class in which we were reading Ghent’s great paper on submission and surrender. I feel such admiration and love for Lew as he went through the health circumstance and death he had been handed. Surrender is not giving up. It is acceptance. It is opening to experience and what it will teach you.

When I think of his work life and when I read the wonderful messages of love and admiration, I am struck by the mixture of pleasure and admiration in so many reminiscences. He had a rock band. Sig. He could build and maintain a serious psychoanalytic institution. He could work in systems – local and national.  He built structures.

Our work together included, the Ferenczi Conferences starting in 1991, the Sandor Ferenczi Center beginning in 2008 with Jeremy Safran and me, the Relational Perspectives Book Series, with Steve from the inception, later with me, and adding Steve Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin.  That series is closing in on 100 volumes.

The work we did to bring the first conference on Sandor Ferenczi to the US was motivated – dictated one might say – by Steve Mitchell.  Cannot speak for Lew but I had no idea who Ferenczi was. Steve was so amazingly good at empowering people, sending them on various errands, and so we did a conference – held in NYC – and sat in the audience, amazed at the European analysts, who in so many ways had kept the tradition and writings and work of Ferenczi alive. Judit Mészarós, André Haynal, György Hidas, Judith Dupont joined with American analysts; Stephen Mitchell, Bromberg, Shapiro, Therese Ragen, Arnold Rachman, Benjamin Wolstein, Jay Frankel, Christofer Fortune and William Brennan.

For me, it was an astonishing and life changing introduction to Ferenczi and his work. I know Lew was technically my colleague in that venture but for me it was so new. I do think of him as also my guide into a new and amazing world. My image for that event is that it was like plate tectonics. Continents that were now far apart had once been joined. I knew my ancestors in psychoanalysis. I knew where object relations came from. Grandfather Ferenczi. Being part of that discovery with Lew was really wonderful, unexpected and surprising.  Really so much of his work life and career had that effect and involvement.

In 2009, with Jeremy Safran, Lew Aron and I inaugurated the Sandor Ferenczi Center at The New School.  Over a decade we developed programs, lectures, workshops devoted to Ferenczi’s model of interaction, elasticity of technique, trauma focused treatment and other psychoanalytic projects. We thought of this project as the site of ideals and projects at the heart of the historic mission of The New School and as a site for innovations in psychoanalysis along the lines of Ferenczi. It is shocking beyond measure that both my colleagues died within this past year. Miriam Steele has joined the center  representing The New School faculty. We have enlarged the board and we go in remembering Lew and Jeremy and working within their vision. But it has been overwhelming to absorb both these losses.  With regard to Lew, I/we are at the beginning.

There is a lot to remember and hold tight to as we register our loss of this amazing person. His career as a psychoanalytic educator, his director of institutions and so many structures: Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Div. 39, IARPP, and for over two decades, NYU Postdoc.

His career as a psychoanalytic educator, director of institutions and so many structures: Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Div 39, IARPP and others were handled with efficiency and grace. And of course there was his ability to take on so much of the continuation of Mitchell’s very premature death, through mentorship of students – local, national and international and an astonishing vocation as a teacher of psychoanalysis in a series of study groups which continued to meet right into January of this year.

Talk about playing well with others. He had fun. He was playful and funny, all the while accomplishing a stunning array of tasks, books, and creative endeavors.

We are all wishing that he could have had more time. There was more to do and more love to participate in. I think of the wonderful pleasure of Lew’s being with Galit’s children, Yali and Emma, at their bar and bat mitzvahs last summer and how much he helped with their preparation. And I know from my last visits with Lew that he was incredibly proud of how deeply his children Kiara, Raffi and Benjamin were participating in his care.

We hold him close as we say goodbye. We can only sit with such admiration and care for Galit Atlas who has held so much in these past years AND created with Lew a life of work and love.