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Harris, A. (2004). As American as a Patchwork Quilt: Introduction. Psychoanal. Dial., 14(2):163.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14(2):163

As American as a Patchwork Quilt: Introduction

Adrienne Harris, Ph.D.

When stephen mitchell and i began to envision this project, we had what one would probably call metatheoretical concerns. We wanted the opportunity to think about our place in various overlapping traditions, including a national tradition. We thought that we would need to range over different disciplines and approaches. We came upon the metaphor of the patchwork quilt, to signify the creativity and use of local materials that would go into such a project.

We veered between grandiosity and deep anxiety and uncertainty about this project, but within these tensions, we proceeded. We invited what we thought of as an inspired set of quilters who, we believed, would make their own unique integrations and uses of this request to write. Offered the opportunity to approach this problem in any way that interested them, they responded with radically different ideas, ways of thinking, and writing styles. The contributors to this symposium come from different orientations, generations, and formations; operate in different disciplines (Schirmeister is a literary scholar with a longstanding interest in psychoanalysis, whereas the rest of us are practicing analysts); and work from different kinds of hybrid identities (literary studies, sociology, developmental psychology, psychiatry).

What I hope is that you, the reader, will entertain these essays not as answers but as points in a dialogue. There are many narratives here. Stories of the progress of ideas in a national context must come in utopian and dystopian forms and arise from unique and distinct perspectives. I hope this encourages you to make your own story.

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