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Kowalik, J.A. (2009). Émigré Analysts of the 1930s and their Loss of the Mother Tongue: Difficulties in Writing the History of Psychoanalysis in Southern California. Psychoanal. Hist., 11(1):75-90.

(2009). Psychoanalysis and History, 11(1):75-90

Émigré Analysts of the 1930s and their Loss of the Mother Tongue: Difficulties in Writing the History of Psychoanalysis in Southern California

Jill Anne Kowalik

Introductory Note

Jill Kowalik, PhD (1949-2003), Associate Professor of German at UCLA, a second-year candidate at the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, presented the following paper as an introduction to the one day UCLA conference on ‘Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles: A Case of Cultural Transfer’ in conjunction with the 75th Anniversary Celebration of UCLA in January 1996. Jill died in 2003 of the breast cancer she had been diagnosed with in 1989. The essay was found among her posthumous writings. By the time of her death, Jill had published a book on German eighteenth-century literature, The Poetics of Historical Perspectivism (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), some 10 articles in professional journals, numerous reviews, and she was working on another book tentatively entitled Theology and Dehumanization, a literary study of the trauma of the Thirty Years War and the representation of melancholy and unresolved mourning in German literature of the eighteenth century. This study is to appear as a fragment in 2009 with Peter Lang, Berliner Beiträge. In the essay printed below, Jill Kowalik uses her double training in German language and literature and in psychoanalysis to question what role the émigré analysts’ sudden loss of their mother tongues played in their lives in their new country and in their functioning as analysts and founders of several of the Southern Californian Institutes. She maintains that a history using the methods of psychoanalysis and studying the traumas and the resulting vulnerabilities of the émigré analysts might offer a more differentiated and discerning history of psychoanalysis in Southern California than the available histories of institutional politics and the hagiographies of the European founders who brought psychoanalytic European culture to Southern California.

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