Search
Menu

Vienna: Birthplace of Psychoanalysis, Modernism, and World War I

This seminar will offer an introduction to Viennese culture and history around the time of World War I by focusing on Freud’s work and on his relationship to modern culture, including literature, art, and politics, in the very apartment where Freud lived and worked for over thirty years.

Vienna: Birthplace of Psychoanalysis, Modernism, and World War I
The Fish Benoist Family Global Seminar
Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, Austria

Rubén Gallo, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr., professor in Language, Literature, and Civilization of Spain

Before 1918, Austria-Hungary was a world power that spread from the Mediterranean to Ukraine, and Vienna was one of the world’s capitals of art, culture, and intellectual life. Most remarkably, Vienna is the birthplace of psychoanalysis and the urban space where Sigmund Freud lived and worked. By the end of World War I, Austria-Hungary had imploded and the country was dismembered: the new Austrian Republic was a tiny fraction of the former Empire and it had to reinvent its identity as a small, landlocked nation. Economic and political crises during the 1920s and 1930s paved the way for what Freud called “the end of Austria” – the Anschluß, or annexation, by Nazi Germany in 1938, when the country became the German province of Ostmark, until the allies liberated it in 1945.

This seminar will offer an introduction to Viennese culture and history around the time of World War I by focusing on Freud’s work and on his relationship to modern culture, including literature, art, and politics. Meetings will take place at the Freud Museum, in the very apartment where Freud lived and worked for over thirty years, as well as in museums and archives connected to twentieth-century Austrian history.

Students will explore the cultural history of psychoanalysis and its relation to Austrian history, and the seminar will feature weekly guest speakers who will lecture on topics such as the history of communism in Vienna, the place of psychoanalysis in today’s world, and the transformation of Austria from a world power into a small landlocked nation that often has thought of itself as a new Switzerland – a neutral country and a buffer between East and West.

In addition to the seminar meetings, students will be required to attend a German language course that will complement the content of the seminar with conversational tools and an introduction to German-Austrian culture.

This course fulfills the Literature and Arts (LA) general education requirement.