Scientific staff

Insa Härtel

Prof. Dr. phil., Psychoanalytical Cultural Studies

1. What is the focus of your research and teaching?
The focus is on the following areas: Conceptions of cultural production, space/phantasms, psychoanalytical art and culture theory, gender and sexuality research.

I am currently focusing on two areas of research:
"Messys" with method. Household rubbish in a TV format.
This research is concerned with the functionalities of episodic cultural cleansing rituals in so-called "messy TV broadcasts" (and not on the fates of the subjects affected). Doing so, concepts of "unclean" methods are also considered.

This project is in collaboration with the research area: Sides of home life. German language magazines on home life from the 19th century to the present day and their medial transferences [Wohnseiten. Deutschsprachige Zeitschriften zum Wohnen vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart und ihre medialen Übertragungen] at the Mariann Steegmann Institut, Bremen.

Breast-Cancer-Cut: Medial stagings of (prophylactic) mastectomy
Commencing with the figure of Angelina Jolie, media reports on her prophylactic mastectomy are subjected to a close reading. The focus is on the cultural promises, ambivalence and conflicts linked to this. A psychoanalytically inspired examination of governmentality theories is also implied here.

This project is occurring in the context of the interdisciplinary research network: Promises of salvation: Cultural configurations, wishes, phantasms

2. What is your study area concerned with?
The subjects are "Psychoanalytical Cultural Studies" and the cultural issues they contain as an element of psychoanalytical theory formation, as well as psychoanalytical approaches as an element of cultural studies. In addition to cultural studies accesses and psychoanalysis/culture interfaces, I also represent areas of the "Psychoanalysis Culture/Philosophy Theory" core subject. On an overall level this subject deals with cultural productions and artefacts, with media culture, everyday worlds, knowledge and memory cultures, dimensions of difference, as well as with social relations and transformations.

3. What can students learn from you?
As a scientist who comes from both of the disciplines involved here, my programme is concerned especially with a psychoanalytic approach and ‘thinking culture’  in the cultural theory field – and their decidedly interdisciplinary direction. It is important for me to clarify how theory can, by providing thinking spaces, set in motion that which we hold to be self evident. In this way it can also act as a meaningful cultural "corrective" – and form a practice of its own.

4. What is it about psychoanalysis that excites you?
Discoveries in unexpected places in the way that psychoanalysis makes them possible.

5. Do you have a favourite saying?
„Was aber falsch ist, das ist, sich vorzustellen, daß der Sinn, um den es geht, das ist, was sich versteht“ (J. Lacan).
„Unsinn ist das, was Spaß macht“ (eight-year-old boy).

Foto Insa Härtel