Workshop: A Workshop on Poetry and Psychohistory: The Psychohistorian's Self, Culture & History


by Howard Stein, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Oklahoma


Friday, June 1st, 2018 @ 12:45 pm - 1:35 pm  





This largely participatory workshop will creatively explore the nexus of the psychohistorian's poetry and psychohistorical understanding. Specifically, it will examine and illustrate a psychohistorian's (e.g., the presenter) use of self (countertransference) (1) in deepening insight through his/her poetry into the emotional experience of what it is like to live in an organization, culture, and historic era; and further (2) in helping the psychohistorian to understand and explain the subject of inquiry, thereby complementing traditional methods of psychohistorical research. The presenter will first read and discuss a few of his own poems. Then he will invite (optional) group participants to write a sketch/draft of a poem that taps into the group member's experience of, say, a workplace, a culture, or a topic of psychohistorical research.  Finally, he will invite group members to volunteer to read and discuss their poem and what they learned from it and from the exercise, about themselves and the subject of the poem.

Learning Points:

At the end of this educational activity, its participants will be able to:

a) describe/  illustrate the contribution a psychohistorian's poetry makes toward psychobiographoical, psychoanalytic, and psychohistorical understanding of life events and human emotions and behavior;

b) discuss and analyze how a psychohistorical researcher/therapist/consultant's use of self can be articulated and symbolized in a poem, that in turn offers insight into the unconscious underpinnings of organizational, cultural, and historical process.


Binion, R. (1981). Soundings: Psychohistorical and psycholiterary. NY, NY: Psychohistory Press.

Reilly, J. M. (2016). The "in-between writer": Howard Stein, PhD, professor emeritus, psycho-analytic anthropologist, poet, educator, transdisciplinary scholar. Families, Systems, and Health: The Journal of Collaborative Family Healthcare, 34(3), 300-302.

Spiro, M. E. (1979). Gender and culture: Kibbutz women revisited. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Stein, H. F. (1977). The binding of the son: Psychoanalytic reflections on the symbiosis of anti-Semitism and anti-Gentilism. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46, 650-683.

Stein, H.F. (1985). The psychoanthropology of American culture. NY, NY: Psychohistory Press.

Stein, H.F. (1994). The dream of culture: Essays on culture's elusiveness. Psyche Press.

Stein, H.F. (2007). Insight and imagination: A study in knowing and not-knowing in organizational life. Lanham, MA: University Press of America.

Stein, H.F. (2009). Beneath the crust of culture: Psychoanalytic anthropology and the cultural unconscious in American life (Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies Series). Amsterdam, NL: Rodopi Publishing.

Stein, H.F. (2011). In the shadow of Asclepius - Poems from American medicine. Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing.

Stein, H.F. (in press). Centre and circumference: A collection of poems. NY, NY: MindMend Publishing Co.


Bio of the Presenter:

Howard Stein, PhD (Howard-Stein@ouhsc.edu) is an organizational, applied, psychoanalytic, medical anthropologist, psychohistorian, organizational consultant, and poet.  He is professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where he taught for nearly 35 years.  He is the author of thirty books, of which nine are in poetry. 


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