Psychoanalysis and the antinomies of an archaeologist: Andrea Carandini, the ruins of Rome, and the writing of history

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in History of the Human Sciences, “Psychoanalysis and the antinomies of an archaeologist: Andrea Carandini, the ruins of Rome, and the writing of history” by Tom McCaskie. Abstract:

Freud’s fascination with the ruins of ancient Rome was an element in the formation and development of psychology. This article concerns the intersection of psychoanalysis with archaeology and history in the study of that city. Its substantive content is an analysis of the life and career of Andrea Carandini, the best-known Roman archaeologist of the past 40 years. He has said and written much about his changing views of himself and about what he is trying to do in his approach to the recuperation of the Roman past. His scholarly publications and autobiographical testimonies are at the core of this article. After an early commitment to Marxism that ended in disenchantment and a crisis in his personal life, Carandini spent a decade undergoing psychoanalysis with the Chilean-born expatriate Ignacio Matte-Blanco. The latter gained a following as a theorist who built upon Freud’s ideas about the unconscious by producing a set of mathematically inspired concepts concerning the workings of temporality in human history in which emotional intuition took priority over the rational(izing) logic of empiricism. Much influenced by his psychoanalyst, Carandini developed a highly personal approach to the writing of archaeology and history. These writings are explored here in terms of Roman historiography, and in the wider arena of formulations of how the past is to be addressed and written about.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.