Spring 2016-2017


Malynne Sternstein; Anne Flannery

The phenomenon of anxiety emerged as one of the leading psychological disorders of the 20th and 21st centuries. Worrying ourselves into the realm of the pathological, we now have a requisite measure of anxiety for every prescribed stage of life. But why are we so anxious? Considering its prevalence in everyday life, the concept and theories of anxiety have been employed surprisingly seldom as a way into film, fiction, and art. In this course we examine the modern origin of contemporary discourses specific to anxiety and their unique manifestation in cultural artifacts. To understand the complex of anxiety in the so-called Western world, we rely on the theories of Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Alenka Zupančič, fiction by Stoker, Schnitzler, Kafka, and Sebald, and film by Haneke, Kubrick, Ophuls, and Hitchcock. We will also have guest speakers from the fields of clinical psychiatry, geriatric medicine, philosophy, and comparative anthropology. (G, H)