What is an Educational Relation?

“What is an Educational Relation? Psychoanalysis, Communication, and Education”

[Though I designed this course, I did not teach it as I was offered a job at Cleveland State University beginning in Jan. 2015]

MSTU 5607–Readings in Communication Theory and Social Thought II (Columbia University, Teachers College, Spring 2014)

What does it mean to communicate with students, both in person and digitally? What is psychoanalysis, and what can it tell us about education and language (as opposed to psychology)? If education is a social relation, what exactly is a social relation?


Introduction and Context

Day 1: Intro lecture, syllabus, etc.

Day 2: Psychoanalysis and Education: Peter M. Taubman’s Disavowed Knowledge, chps. 1, 2, 6.

Day 3: Gabriel Tarde, “Inter-psychology”; Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” from “Ideology Interpellates Individuals as Subjects” to the end.

Sigmund Freud on Groups

Day 4: Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, pp.

Day 5: Group Psychology, pp.

Day 6: “Mourning and Melancholia,” and Totem and Taboo, pp.

Day 7: Ego and the Id

Jacques Lacan’s Imaginary and Four Discourses

Day 8: “Insistence of the Letter in the Unconscious”

Day 9: “The Mirror Stage”

Day 10: The Four Discourses, selections


Day 11: Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, pp.

Day 12: Wilfred Bion, Experiences in Groups, pp.

Day 13: Valentin Volosinov, Freudianism: A Critique, pp.

Applications: Educational communication

Day 14: Introduction to Conversation Analysis (selections), EHI Harkness Pedagogy Manuals

Day 15: David Backer:  “The Dehiscent Theory of Discussion: Lacan, Freud, and Open Communication”


Students will maintain class blogs throughout the semester. Each week, they will write an interpretive commentary between 800-1000 words on the reading. Students will do short presentations of these commentaries to begin class, and will also comment on one another’s blogs each week.


Students will also maintain twitter feeds, using the hashtag #talkrev. Each week, compose a tweet which includes another Twitter user (tweet at them, retweet them) inspired by the reading.


Students will complete a final project on a theme of their choosing, in a medium of their choosing.

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