Professor Deborah Britzman appointed 2020-21 visiting scholar at Massey College

Deborah Britzman
Deborah Britzman

York University Professor Deborah Britzman, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Tier One York Research Chair in Pedagogy and Psycho-social transformations, was awarded a 2020-21 visiting scholar position at Massey College, University of Toronto.

Britzman’s areas of study are the Freudian and Kleinian histories of psychoanalysis, both applied and clinical. She is interested in how and why minds change, for better and for worse.

Her research into the university study of pedagogy is shaped by a clinical sensibility toward the emotional world to understand the reception and interpretations of “difficult knowledge” in teaching and learning.

While psychoanalysis has a long tradition exploring how we are unconsciously affected by internal and external forces, and by three kinds of reality (psychical, material and historical), Britzman proposes that the procedures and theories of education seem to be more receptive to external forces: institution, culture and forgetting. It is these conflicts that she explores to better understand why university education makes us nervous.

Britzman’s sabbatical residency will be spent working on three books: Anticipating Education: Selected Papers on pedagogy with psychoanalysis; Mental Health for Educators with Aziz Guzel; and When History Returns: Psychoanalytic Studies for Humane Learning.

In addition to the residency, Britzman was awarded a 2020 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science invitational fellowship for research in Japan at Nihon University. Her project involves discussions with Japanese colleagues on psychoanalysis for the study and practice of teacher education. As well, Britzman’s book, Freud and Education (Routledge, 2011), is being translated into Japanese.

Britzman’s approach to the study of education is examined in a video about Education as an Emotional Situation.