Camille Robcis: “Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France”


Location: Zoom

Camille Robcis is Professor of French and History at Columbia University. She specializes in Modern European History with an emphasis on gender and sexuality, France, and intellectual, cultural, and legal history. She is especially interested in the intersections of politics and ideas. She is the author of The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in France (Cornell UP, 2013) and of Disalienation: Politics, Philosophy, and Radical Psychiatry in Postwar France (Chicago UP, 2021). She is currently working on a new project tentatively titled The War On Gender. She received her B.A. in History and Modern Culture & Media from Brown University, her Ph.D. in History from Cornell. She has received fellowships from the Penn Humanities Forum, LAPA (Princeton Law and Public Affairs), the National Endowment
for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.



Disalienation Politics Philosophy Radical Psychiatry In Postwar France 4
Poster for Robcis Lecture

This talk maps the intersections of politics, philosophy, and radical psychiatry in twentieth-century France. It focuses on a psychiatric movement called “institutional psychotherapy” which had an important influence on many intellectuals and activists, including François Tosquelles, Jean Oury, Felix Guattari, Frantz Fanon, Georges Canguilhem, and Michel Foucault. Anchored
in Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, institutional psychotherapy advocated a fundamental restructuring of the asylum in order to transform the theory and practice of psychiatric care. More broadly, for many of these thinkers, the asylum could function as a microcosm for society at large and as a space to promote non-hierarchal and non-authoritarian political and social structures. Psychiatry, they contended, provided a template to better understand alienation and offer perspectives for “disalienation.”

Zoom link: