Pathologies of Grief

Photo Credit: Mike Cygan

The American Psychiatric Association has stirred up controversy again with its proposal to add grief to the impending fifth addition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5). The DSM-5, the anticipated official diagnosing guide employed by virtually every mental health professional in America, will be released in March 2013. While some professionals believe that this new classification will help grieving people recover more easily, many other people believe that this classification is insensitive to mourners and even an unnecessary money making scheme.

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Sabina Spielrein: The Forgotten Psychoanalyst

Sabina Spielrein

When people hear the name Sabina Spielrein, they immediately think of psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s alleged patient-turned-lover (that is, if one even recognizes her name at all). It’s a shame that the only modern associations we have with Spielrein are of her romantic liaisons rather than her brilliant contributions to early 20th century psychoanalysis: the study of the relation between subconscious and conscious thoughts in psychological processes. She even was the first woman to write a psychological dissertation. In fact, there wasn’t a single reliable English-translated account on Spielrein’s psychological work until 1993. The image of Sabina Spielrein has been sexually objectified and academically overlooked. The widely renowned psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, as well as the prominent developmental psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky have borrowed ideas from Spielrein to formulate some of their most influential concepts without giving her the credit that she deserves.

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Art & Democracy: The Catharsis of Rebuilding

Art and Democracy: The Catharsis of Rebuilding, Credit: Bansky, 2005

This article is based on a January 17 event at the University of Chicago, entitled “Turning point: how the invasion of Gaza backfired for Israel.” The event was sponsored by the student group University of Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and featured Palestinian activists on the issue of human rights violations incurred by Israel during the state’s controversial invasion of the Gaza Strip three years ago.

On December27, 2008, Israel launched an attack code-named “Operation Cast Lead” on the Palestinian-held Gaza Strip, despite the states having entered a ceasefire with the Palestinians brokered by Egypt only six months prior. Israel ordered the attack in response to the escalating number of unprovoked rocket attacks on Israeli cities by Palestine’s Hamas militant group, which had left 28 dead and several hundred wounded.

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Morality: As Told By Neurophilosophy

Morality: As Told By Neurophilosophy

Neurophilosophy is a branch of philosophy that focuses on explaining the nature of the mind, mental functions, consciousness, and other elusive mental properties, and their relationship to the physical brain. It is a growing interdisciplinary field that seeks to offer neuroscientific explanations and philosophical insight for concepts of contention in the philosophy of the mind, such as the topic of human morality. In her recent book Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Dr. Patricia S. Churchland presents a series of valuable challenges and arguments in addressing the “roots” of morality. She provides thorough neuroscientific evidence of the biological components that play highly specific roles in morality. This challenges the current priority given to “absolute truth,” pure reason, and religion as explanations of the origins of morality. This is an exceptional example of how neurophilosophy deconstructs the philosophies that we’ve held dear and exposes the raw science behind some of our most cherished values.

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Art & Democracy: A double-edged sword

Art & Democracy: A double-edged sword. Image Credit: Zachary Brown

Issues of freedom, expression, and immigration have drawn serious international attention in Europe over the past several years. Muslim women have been the foremost targets of nationalist campaigns for the liberation of women from “oppressive” head-scarves and other religious clothing. Now, just as Muslim women are testing whether democracy will defend their rights to free expression, opponents are pushing back on those limits in the opposite direction with offensive, extremist propaganda. Religious, ethnic, and ideological pluralism has stretched formerly homogenous democracies to their limits. This confrontation has, in turn, awoken a sleeping dragon of legal and ethical questions that democracies at large will be forced to reckon with for many years to come.

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Modern art: holding a mirror to society, one sculpture at a time

Modern Art: Holding a mirrot to society, one sculpture at a time. Image Credit: Jessica Stockholder

I’ve never been much of an artist. I never doodle. The closest I’ve come to producing art in recent years is calligraphy that a three-year-old Asian girl could top. My knowledge of art history is lacunary, at best. But, art has a way of creeping into other disciplines, and from there jutting into one’s consideration. This article on Czech artist David Černý is inspired by the first of three lectures I recently attended at the University of Chicago. Coming articles will feature the latter two, on Israeli and Palestinian art, and Swiss anti-Muslim propaganda, respectively, under the series umbrella of “Modern art.”

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Be Back Later: Artist Maurizio Cattelan’s Final Work

Be Back Later
Walking into the Guggenheim Museum located in Manhattan’s famous “Museum Row” on the upper east side, I came face to face with a horse suspended in mid-air via harness. Startled, I mistook the shape for being living. It was actually taxidermied. “Someone did a thorough job,” I thought inwardly and embarrassed at how my heart was beating quickly. Suddenly, the beating of a toy drum directed my attention upward. Slightly up higher, I saw an automated sculpture of a young boy beating a drum on his lap sporadically. Cocking my head up, I gasped in awe at the seemingly infinite web of what at first glance seemed like unstrategized clutter. From the ground, unidentified images of people, animals, paintings and text passively returned the stare I was exuding. First I was overwhelmed, but then I couldn’t look away. This massive installation seemed to be hanging lifelessly reminiscent of the gallows.

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