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The foreigner in the fringes of the ego: studies on Freud's Moses and monotheism

Grant number: 17/16113-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Epistemology
Principal researcher:Vladimir Pinheiro Safatle
Grantee:Alessandra Affortunati Martins
Supervisor abroad: Stephen Frosh
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:15/25323-2 - The stranger on the borders of the Self: studies on Freud´s Moses and Monotheism, BP.PD


The present research is the third and last phase of a study that maps aesthetic categories in Freudian work. In the previous recently published study, I distinguished two other aesthetic categories - sublimation and Unheimliche. Now I approach the foreign category, as presented by Freud (1939) in Moses and monotheism. It is a study that recuperates concepts within the historical moment they take form - sublimation corresponds to a melancholic spirit typical to Vienna fin-de-siècle, when the enlightened absolutism of Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was the political system. In its turn, Unheimliche corresponds to the trauma and panic provoked by the terror of the First World War, being uncanny one of the trauma's periods, present within culture's symbolic grid itself. The present research's hypothesis is that a political outbreak in the psychic field corresponded to the foreigner, intertwined with the moment of ascension of Nazi-fascism in Europe. The gesture of writing Moses and monotheism appears here as Freud's political resistance, and the text's form and content are, themselves, another model that symbolizes culture. For the explained reasons, it is important to direct the study towards the way Freud prepared his text - the history that molds the work and the detailed research about its bibliographic references of the moment it was written. It is exactly this point that leads me to the material in The Freud Museum and Library in London. This task is very laborious and formed by many layers. How did he manage to grant a symbolic form to Nazi terror, rescuing traces of his Jewish memory and, simultaneously, remaining critical in relation to romantic or nostalgic solutions that would fall into identity visions related to the Jewish people and a Zionist policy? These issues that have two historical layers - the history of Pentateuch, redeemed and subverted by him, and that of Germany in 1933 - are interesting while they resonate a third historical layer - the present time that faces ever more frequently new forms of fascism, not only in Europe but also in many parts of the world. It is important to stress that these investigations are not reduced to Freudian words - it is an ample research field that combines studies of culture, history and arts by means of a fine articulation between the works of Freud and Walter Benjamin. The hypothesis is that the foreigner category, as presented in the 1939 text about Moses, is the one that better translates issues on contemporary clinic and society, represented by names such as Jacques Lacan and Edward Said. The study on the foreigner is subdivided into three general parts:1.History2.Boundary: the foreigner's place3.The foreigner's language (AU)

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