Nostalgia Today: An Interdisciplinary Conference af Freud Museum

By on March 3, 2019

This conference considers the many meanings of nostalgia and its significance in individual psychology and social life.

As a feeling, a medical category or a political ideology, nostalgia has undergone profound changes in its associations and cultural uses.

Nostalgia exists in relation to memory, identity, time and home. We can see its effects in processes of ageing and dementia, in work with refugees, and in understanding experiences of exile and trauma. In recent years psychologists have begun to see nostalgia in a more positive light. It is something that we have all experienced, resonating with an imagined past and future.

Nostalgia is also depicted in literature, art and culture. In its recent political appropriations it becomes a condition shaping individual and collective behaviour.


Amy Kenyon
The Lost Potential of Nostalgia

Will Self
The Permanent Now: How Demographic Bouleversement and Technological Ubiquity Created Incontinent Nostalgia

Erica Hepper
Odyssey’s End: The Psychological Features and Functions of Personal Nostalgia

David Morgan
‘Fing’s Ain’t Wot They Used to Be’: Nostalgia and Psychic Retreat in Individual and Political Memory.

Imogen Racz
Nostalgia, Art and Home

Samuel Earle
The Nostalgia of Nations: Myths of Harmony and the Anxieties of Decline

Speakers’ biographies….

Amy Kenyon is a historian and writer-photographer. She is the author of Dreaming Suburbia, a study of Detroit and postwar suburbia (Wayne State UP) and a first novel, Ford Road (University of Michigan Press). As a writer of fiction and nonfiction, she has published with Salon, Belt Magazine, Bright Lights Film Journal, Streetlight Magazine, Great Lakes Review, Cobalt Review, and the Detroit News. She is also an occasional blogger for Huffington Post UK. Born and raised in Michigan, Amy now lives in London. She has worked as a mental health advocate, literacy campaigner, and taught Cultural History at universities in Leeds and London. Currently at work on a collection of essays and stories, she retains a strong interest inthe relations between place and memory, and the uses of private and public photographs in memory writing.

Will Self is well known as the author of nine novels, six collections of short stories, three novellas and six non-fiction works; he is a prolific journalist and a frequent broadcaster. His fiction has won various awards – as has his journalism. His fiction has been translated into over 22 languages, and he contributes to publications in Europe and the US as well as the UK. He also writes often on the practise of psychogeography – the relationship between the individual psyche and the physical environment – and he teaches a course at Brunel University on this subject, where he is Professor of Contemporary Thought. He is currently researching a new course on reading: its history, practise, and the impact on it of digital reading formats.

David Howell Morgan is a Consultant Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst fellow of the BPAS and a Training Analyst and Supervisor at the BPA, BPF and Tavistock. He lectures internationally and nationally. He is chair of the ‘Political Minds Seminars’ and has presented a radio podcast called Frontier Psychoanalyst. Also Co/Editor with Stan Ruszczynski of ‘Violence Delinquency and Perversion’, his most recent publication is ‘Inflammatory Projective Identification in Political and Economic Terrorism’ in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Spring 2018). He is a Member of the IPA committee on Humanitarian Organisations. His edited two volume book on ‘The Political Mind’ is in press (Phoenix Publications, March 2019) and ‘Do Not Go Gentle. Writings on Political Subjects and Individual Minds’ (in progress).

Imogen Racz is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Coventry University. Her focus is primarily on post-war sculptural practices and has published extensively about the home, memory, and identity. Her recent book Art and the Home: Comfort, Alienation and the Everyday, (I.B.Tauris 2015) explored the abstract concepts that we have about the home and how these are manifested in art. Her forthcoming book British Artists of the 1980s: Art, Money and Radical Diversity (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), is a series of interviews with artists and facilitators who were working in the 1980s.

Samuel Earle is a writer and critic. His work on nostalgia and politics has featured in The Atlantic, the Times Literary Supplement, Jacobin Magazine, and Open Democracy.

Nostalgia Today: An Interdisciplinary Conference af Freud Museum will be held on Saturday 9th March 2019.

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