Event Type: Conversations
April 3, 2023


Heyman Center Room B-201. A virtual option is available.

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Event Organizer

The Psychoanalytic Studies Program at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society

Event Sponsor

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Costumes of Nudity
Faux Nudes in Fin de Siècle Photography


SUSIE ORBACH, Discussant


Monday, April 3, 2023, 7:30 pm


Studio photographs of models encased in semi-transparent body stockings that effected a costume of nudity were all the rage during the fin-de-siécle. The skin-tight stockinet, undergirded by corsetry and padding, created a fantasy woman for modern times: a stitched-together fiction of spectral marmoreal whiteness, at once sexy and sterile. Hiding the biological processes of reproduction and ageing while maintaining the transgressive, carnivalesque representation of an actress, dancer or prostitute—or the illusion of an inert marble statue—the faux nude enacts abjection in sleek disguise, subsumed and sanctioned by then-current aesthetics of classical art.

Distinguished cultural historian Mary Bergstein, PhD is Professor Emerita of History of Art and Visual Culture, Rhode Island School of Design. Her publications include Looking Back One Learns to See: Marcel Proust and Photography and Mirrors of Memory: Freud, Photography, and the History of Art, winner of the American Psychoanalytic Association Courage to Dream Prize.

Renowned psychoanalyst, writer, and social critic Susie Orbach, PhD is currently Academic Visitor at Hertford College, Oxford. Her many books include the ground-breaking Fat is a Feminist Issue (1998) and Bodies (2009, updated in 2019). She is the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Psychoanalysis given by the British Psychoanalytical Society.

Adele Tutter, MD, PhD directs the Psychoanalytic Studies Program. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Vagelos School of Medicine Columbia University and author, Dream House: An Intimate Portrait of the Philip Johnson Glass House (2016). She is a recipient of the American Psychoanalytic Association Ticho Prize.

The Psychoanalytic Studies Program (PSP) supports the exploration of the rich interface between psychoanalytic thought and the humanities, social sciences, and the fine arts. The PSP offers a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Studies to students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Contact Adele Tutter (atutter@mac.com) for more information, or visit our website, https://icls.columbia.edu/graduate-program/psychoanalytic-studies-program.

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