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Vienna: Birthplace of Psychoanalysis, Modernism and World War I

Learn about the rich Viennese culture and history around the time of World War I by focusing on Sigmund Freud’s work and his relationship to modern culture, including literature, arts and politics. The seminar will include visits to the opera, the national theater, museums and the Imperial Palace.

Vienna, Austria: June 11 - July 20 

Application Deadline: February 13, 2018

About the Seminar

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. Along with Paris, London and Berlin, Vienna was a leading site for modernist innovation in fields as diverse as architecture (Adolf Loos), music (Arnold Schoenberg), painting (Gustav Klimt) and literature (Stefan Zweig). Most remarkably, Vienna was 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 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, arts, and politics. Our meetings will take place at the Freud Museum, in the very apartment where Freud lived and worked for over 30 years, but we will also explore museums and archives connected to twentieth-century Austrian history.

We will explore the cultural history of psychoanalysis and its relation to Austrian history. Our readings will include novels, plays, and historical analyses. The seminar will feature weekly guest speakers who will lecture on topics as diverse 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.

Our introduction to Viennese urban culture will include various outings: visits to the opera, the national theater, museums, and the Imperial palace. 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.

Faculty Director

Ruben Gallo is the Water S. Carpeneter, Jr., Professor in Language, Literature and Civilization of Spain. At Princeton, he teaches courses on Freud, the avant-garde, and other aspects of twentieth-century culture. He is the former director of the Program in Latin American Studies. He is currently working on a book on Proust’s Latin Americans -- the first study of Marcel Proust’s friendships and love affairs with Latin Americans.

Seminar Manager

Jayne Bialkowski can be reached at jayne@princeton.edu or by calling 609-258-2635.

Distribution Requirements

This course fulfills the Literature and Arts requirement (LA) and counts as an elective for the Program in European Cultural Studies.

Costs and Financial Aid

Program Fee: $3,400 (includes all housing, required course excursions, and related academic expenses). Additional instructional costs (books and materials, required immunizations) will vary, but students should budget up to $200 for these expenses. Roundtrip airfare and airport transportation is estimated at $1,600, meals at $1,000 and personal expenses at $1,000.

PIIRS provides generous funding to students admitted to the Global Seminars who receive term financial aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2016–17, specifically pages 1–2 and Table 3, and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

To ensure a place in the seminar, a $500 nonrefundable deposit will be charged to participants’ accounts on April 1; the balance of the course fee will be charged to accounts on May 15.

NB: Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

The Global Seminar in Vienna is generously supported by the Beth M. Siskind Global Family Fund. PIIRS Global Seminars are also made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.