The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

May 8 The Center for Jewish History Presents: “‘My Unconscious Speaks Yiddish’: Psychoanalysis and Jewish Languages”

In the years since Jacques Lacan first called for “a return to Freud,” a vast literature has arisen around the question of the translation of Freud’s German into English and of the Nazi-era diaspora of psychoanalysts from Central Europe to England and the United States. But Freud’s writing was in some sense already the product of translation and diaspora, from the Yiddish of his parents to his own Viennese German and from Eastern to Central Europe. This is not only a matter of the prehistory of psychoanalysis: Eastern Europe developed its own form of psychoanalysis, and psychoanalysts fled to Jerusalem as well as New York and London. In these contexts, Freud’s work circulated in Hebrew and Yiddish among other languages. In this talk, we will explore the Eastern European dimension of psychoanalysis, discussing the Jewish languages “behind” Freud’s German and in the translational “afterlife” of his writings.


Naomi Seidman is the Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, and the 2016-2017 NEH Senior Fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Her most recent book is titled The Marriage Plot, or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature, and another book on Bais Yaakov and Orthodox girls’ education in interwar Poland is forthcoming from Littman Library. Her present research explores the question of the relationship between psychoanalysis and Jewish languages.


Co-sponsored by Leo Baeck Institute and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.


Tickets are free; reservations are recommended:[]