January 31 – February 2, 2020

“Class functions as a kind of ‘thirdness’ that is surprisingly neglected in the psychoanalytic literature.” Stephen Hartman, Class Consciousness: From Dialectical Materialism to Relational Material.

In a 1991 interview, writer Alice Munro recalls being pummeled with the rebuke, “Who do you think you are?” whenever she exposed something of her creative self within her working-class community. Munro describes the censure being issued “the minute you begin to let out a little bit of who you would like to be, as soon as you start sort of constructing somebody that is yourself…. I was brought up to think that that is absolutely the worst thing you could do.”

While poverty is widely understood as constituted by interrelated deficits in economic, social, and cultural capital, what remains more difficult to grasp are the ways these absences converge to create a classed sensibility that experiences itself as not only stigmatized from without, but also shamed and undermined from within.

Through the lenses of lived experience, literature, sociological research, psychoanalytic theory, and clinical practice, participants will be offered opportunities to explore the means by which classed pain and shame may be embedded within the relational dynamics of the family. Together we’ll examine how everyday legacies of structural inequality and marginalization may produce debilitating psychic conflicts within working-class parents that are too often intergenerationally reproduced in ways that inhibit the development of a child’s subjectivity.

Coordinator: Karen Earle, MFA, MSS


CHRISTINE MAKSIMOWICZ, Ph.D. in English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is working on a monograph, “Who Do You Think You Are?”: Recovering the Self in the Working-Class Escape Narrative. Recent publications can be found in the Journal of Literature and Trauma Studies and in a volume of literary criticism, The Works of Elena Ferrante: Reconfiguring the Margins. Christine is a Silberger Scholar with the Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, a Fellow at the American Psychoanalytic Association, a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, a recipient of the CORST Essay Prize by the American Psychoanalytic Association in 2016, and book review editor for Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society.

Additional faculty will be announced at a later date.