Director of Graduate Studies
Areas of Research: Human Sciences, Medical Humanities, Psychology & Theories of Mind, Women & Gender Studies
Elizabeth Lunbeck is a historian of the human sciences, specializing in the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and psychology. Throughout her career, she has been interested in the conceptual foundations of these disciplines as well as in the social and cultural contexts in which they have taken shape and in the critical role they have played in the making of modernity and the modern self. Her first book, The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America (1994), examines psychiatry’s transformation from a marginalized, asylum-based specialty to a thriving—if contested—discipline endowed with clinical and cultural authority over not only insanity but also normality, as focused on normal persons as on the insane. The book was awarded several prizes, among them the John Hope Franklin Prize and Morris D. Forkosch Prize. With Bennett Simon she published Family Romance, Family Secrets: Case Notes from an American Psychoanalysis, 1912 (2003), a study of early analytic practice. Her latest book, The Americanization of Narcissism (2014) offers a wide-ranging history of the concept, asking why the question of narcissism has become so urgent in our culture. It has been awarded the Courage to Dream Prize of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Lunbeck is also the co-editor of a number of books, most recently with Lorraine Daston, Histories of Scientific Observation (Chicago, 2011). Currently, she is working on the history of the personality disorders and on the history of psychotherapeutic practice. She is also pursuing psychoanalytic training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.
Lunbeck is teaching “The Freudian Century” this semester. Her other courses include “Freud and His Legacies”; “Topics in the History of Psychoanalysis”; Psychoanalytic Practices from Freud to the Present”; and “History of the Psychotherapies.” She is serving as Acting DGS for the 2015-2016 academic year.
- History of Science 179v: The Freudian Century
- History of Science 279v: Freud and His Legacies
- History of Science 274v: Topics in the History of Psychoanalysis,
- History of Science 275v: Psychoanalytic Practices from Freud to the Present
- History of Science 178v: History of the Psychotherapies
- The Americanization of Narcissism (Harvard University Press, 2014)
- Courage to Dream Prize, awarded by the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2014
- Family Romance, Family Secrets: Case Notes from an American Psychoanalysis, 1912, with Bennett Simon, MD (Yale University Press, 2003)
- The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America (Princeton University Press, 1994; paperback 1996)
- John Hope Franklin Publication Prize, awarded by the American Studies Association, 1995
- Morris D. Forkosch Prize, awarded by Journal of the History of Ideas, 1995
- History of Women in Science Prize, awarded by the History of Science Society, 1995
- Histories of Scientific Observation, edited by Lorraine Daston and Elizabeth Lunbeck (University of Chicago, 2011). German, Arabic and Spanish translations in preparation
- Science without Laws: Model Systems, Cases and Exemplary Narratives, edited by Angela Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and Norton Wise (Duke University Press, 2007)
- Science, Technology, and Medicine in the 20th Century: The Difference Feminism Has Made, edited by Angela Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and Londa Schiebinger (University of Chicago Press, 2001)
- Proof and Persuasion: Essays on Authority, Objectivity, and Evidence, edited by Suzanne Marchand and Elizabeth Lunbeck (Brepols Publishers, 1996)
Articles on narcissism
- “Narcissism,” in Re-thinking Therapeutic Culture, ed. Timothy Aubrey and Trysh Travis (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
- “Heinz Kohut’s Americanization of Freud,” in After Freud Left, ed. John Burnham (University of Chicago Press, 2012), 209-31.
- “The Narcissistic Homosexual: Genealogy of a Myth,” in History and Psyche: Psychoanalysis and the Past. Sally Alexander and Barbara Taylor (Palgrave Macmillan, Global Intellectual Histories, 2012), 49-67.
- “Narcissism: Social Critique in Me-Decade America,” in Engineering Society, ed. Kerstin Brückweh, Dirk Schumann, et al. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 198-212.
- “Empathy as a Psychoanalytic Mode of Observation: Between Sympathy and Science,” in Histories of Scientific Observation, ed. Lorraine Daston and Elizabeth Lunbeck (University of Chicago Press, 2011), 255-75.
- “Borderline Histories: Psychoanalysis Inside and Out,” Science in Context 19 (2006): 151-73.
Interviews & Podcasts
- Interview with Raj Persaud (download the Persaud podcast) (on WordPress)
New Republic, February 25, 2014
- New Books in Science, Technology, and Society, June 20, 2014 (download podcast)
- Stream the New Books in Science, Technology, and Society podcast at
- New Books in Psychoanalysis, August 21, 2014 (download podcast)
- A mention of the New Books in Psychoanalysis review and interview on the
International Psychoanalysis website
- Way of Improvement: Author’s Corner with Elizabeth Lunbeck
- Life Matters, Australian Broadcast Company, May 8, 2014 (download podcast)
- Newstalk Ireland, Moncrieff Show, May 7, 2014 (to stream podcast)
- New Books in Psychology, June 20, 2014 (download podcast)
- NPR, “To the best of our KNOWLEDGE” (download podcast)