Psychoanalysis as Cultural Criticism Minor

This minor enables students to gain a foundation in the history of psychoanalysis, its central concepts, and contemporary applications in psychology, cultural studies, literature, and other fields. Students learn the basic ideas and methods of psychoanalysis, the ways in which these enhance understanding of human relations and creative practices, and a fuller appreciation of their usage in contemporary social and cultural theory.

The minor is a cooperative venture between Emerson College and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI). Students enrolled in any course that fulfills the minor will be offered special membership status and access to the events and library resources of BPSI, and BPSI-affiliated psychoanalysts with special interest in the arts will be invited to teach topics courses.

The minor consists of four courses (16 credits). The core course, IN 227 Topics in Psychoanalysis as Cultural Criticism, is required. The remaining 12 credits are chosen from the following courses, with at least two IN selections (in addition to the core course), one of which must be at the 300 or 400 level. Students are encouraged but not required to complete the minor with an individualized capstone project (IN 498).


  • IN 227 - Topics in Psychoanalysis as Cultural Criticism (core course)**
  • IN 315 - Advanced Topics in Psychoanalysis as Cultural Criticism**
  • IN 421 - Key Contemporary Thinkers: Fanon
  • IN 424 - Key Contemporary Thinkers: Freud 
  • IN 498 - Directed Study*
  • LI 436 - Cultural Criticism*
  • PS 201 - Abnormal Psychology*
  • PS 307 - Psychology of Relationships*
  • PS 340 - Narratives of Disorder* 
  • SO 212 - Sociology of Emotions
  • SO 312 - Madness and Modernity

* Note prerequisites
** Check current course listings for specific topics 


Lindsey Beck, associate professor in Psychology, is a social psychologist who studies how people initiate, develop, and maintain close relationships. She examines how people react to signs of initial interest in a relationship, how partners ask for and offer support as they develop relationships, and how couples respond to stressful situations in ongoing relationships. She teaches courses in the psychology of relationships, social psychology, and introductory psychology.

Samuel Binkley, professor in Sociology, considers the historical and social production of subjectivity in the context of contemporary lifestyle culture. His most recent book, Happiness as Enterprise: An Essay on Neoliberal Life, examines the contemporary discourse on happiness through the lens of governmentality theory. He teaches courses on sociology of emotions, humor and society, and sociology of insiders and outsiders.

Nigel Gibson, professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, is an expert in the fields of Africana thought, postcolonialism, and African studies. As a leading Fanon scholar, he has published a wealth of work on Frantz Fanon including his most recent book, Frantz Fanon, Psychiatry and Politics. He also teaches a course on Fanon.

Maria Koundoura, professor of Literature, has published books and essays on the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of global culture exchange, on the use and abuse of the idea of Greece in the West’s imagination, and on subjectivity and agency in modernity. Among the classes she teaches are: Cultural Criticism, Travel Literature, and What Is Taste?

Eileen McBride, assistant professor in Psychology, is a clinical psychologist. She studies psychosocial adjustment and well-being in early adulthood. Her current research examines how college students’ efficacy beliefs and psychological well-being affect their ability to succeed in academic and clinical programs. She teaches courses in abnormal psychology, psychology of personal growth and adjustment, introductory psychology, and narratives of disorder.

Murray Schwartz*, professor emeritus in Interdisciplinary Studies, is a specialist in Shakespeare whose interests include literary theory, psychoanalysis, and Holocaust studies. An editor of Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays and many essays on literature, trauma, and theories of reading, he coordinates the Center for Multidisciplinary Psycho Analytic Studies (COMPASS) at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and is editor of the journal American Imago.

Please note this may not be a comprehensive list, as our affiliated faculty rotate on a semesterly basis. Please refer to the semester registration listings to identify any additional faculty participating in the minor.

* Minor Coordinator