Dr Lisa Baraitser
Head of Department
BSc. Hons (Edin.), MA (UEL), PhD (London)
Reader in Psychosocial Studies
Department of Psychosocial Studies
30 Russell Square
Birkbeck, University of London
London WC1B 5DT
tel: 020 7079 0897
- Lisa Baraitser joined Birkbeck as a faculty member in 2005, and has been involved in the development of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck since then. Her first degree was in Medical Science and Psychology, followed by a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and a PhD in Psychology. Between 1995 and 2005 she trained as a psychodynamic counsellor, and worked in NHS and third sector settings, thinking through the psychological ramifications of violence, abuse and poverty in the lives of women. During this time, she was also the Artistic Director of an experimental theatre collective known as PUR. Since taking up an academic position, Lisa has developed research interests in gender and sexuality, motherhood and the maternal, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and philosophies of ethics, affects, materiality, temporality and event.
Research and teaching
- One major strand of my research has centred on the fraught relations, as well as creative tensions, between motherhood, female subjectivities and ethics. I became interested in different ways of understanding the conjunction ‘maternal ethics’, especially what ‘mothering’ does to our concepts of care, labour and subjectivity if we strip normative and idealised figurations out of mothering itself. How, in other words, might we think about maternal subjectivity as an utterly new position of experience, that goes on to challenge and deform our understandings of singularity and relatedness, ethics and care, encounter and event? I draw on debates in contemporary psychoanalysis, feminist and social theory, the ethics of care, and philosophies of otherness and event. I am also interested in the use of autobiographical writing as a way of generating theory. A monograph entitled Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption (Routledge, 2009) draws this work together. More recent maternal research focuses on what happens when mothering ‘erupts’ into the public sphere, again, prompting us to think about the public anew. A co-authored book that develops notions of ‘maternal publics’ and the place of ‘birth’ in contemporary culture is underway, in collaboration with Dr. Imogen Tyler at the University of Lancaster. I also run an international research network – Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MaMSIE) - which organises events and publishes a scholarly online journal, Studies in the Maternal, in collaboration with Sigal Spigel at the University of Cambridge. A second area of my research focuses on the psychosocial, particularly its epistemological and methodological dimensions. This includes work on the relation between psychoanalysis as a theoretical and clinical practice, and debates on affect, emotions, ethics, performance and the emerging discipline of psychosocial studies itself. Currently I’m working on gender and temporality. I’m interested in time that fails to unfold, and the place of this kind of ‘stuck’ time in a contemporary capitalist globalised world in which time has become utterly commodified, and reduced more and more to the ‘qualified’ time of work. Non-developmental time has been recently discussed in queer literature that works against normative accounts of the way a life might unfold in predicable ways over time. My recent project extends this work by examining temporal tropes like waiting, staying, delay, or endurance, and their affective sibs, such as boredom, ennui, stupification and monotony. I’m interested in the effects these rather unfashionable temporalities and affects have in relation to the relentless temporalities of neoliberalism.
- Gender and Sexuality
- Motherhood and the Maternal
- Feminist Theory
- Philosophies of Ethics, Affect, Materiality, Temporality, Event
- MaMSIE, co-founded with Sigal Spigel, is an international interdisciplinary research network that brings together maternal research across the social sciences, literature and creative writing, feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis and the visual and performing arts. MaMSIE aims to open up and sustain critical debates about the maternal and explores the unique site the maternal occupies at the potent intersection between scientific possibilities, psychosocial practices and cultural representations. MaMSIE’s activities include:
- organising conferences, symposia, and workshops
- collating scholarly and aesthetic work on the maternal and stimulating online discussion
- publishing an online interdisciplinary peer-reviewed scholarly journal Studies in the Maternal.
- The Vulnerability of the Interval: a new monograph which explores gendered temporalities in neoliberal times.
- Maternal Publics: a new co-authored book with Dr. Imogen Tyler on the maternal and the public sphere.
- For 2012/13, I am Programme Director of the MA Psychoanalysis, History and Culture and the Foundation Degree in Psychodynamic Counselling and CBT.
- I teach on the Core Modules of MA Psychosocial Studies, MA Psychoanalysis, History and Culture, MA Gender, Sexuality and Culture, and supervise masters students across all our academic masters programmes.
- I currently supervise PhD students who are working on:
- Psychoanalytic theory including: affect in psychoanalysis; dream construction and its relation to deconstruction; materiality and the place of money in the analytic encounter; group analytic theory and its relation to theatre and the rehearsal process.
- Motherhood, maternal subjectivities, maternal aesthetics
- DPsychotherapy students working on issues related to child psychotherapy
Baraitser, L. (2009). Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption. London and New York: Routledge. Winner of the 2009 Feminist and Women's Studies Association Book Prize for outstanding feminist scholarship.
Baraitser, L (forthcoming, 2013) Collecting Time. New Formations.
Baraitser, L., (2013) Mush Time. Families, Relationships, Societies, 2(1): 149-155.
Baraitser, L., (2013) Nomadic Subjects and the Feminist Archives. Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, 15(4).
Baraitser, L., (2012) Delay: On temporality in Luisa Passerini's Autobiography of a Generation: Italy, 1968. European Journal of Women's Studies. 19: 380-385
Baraitser, L., (2012) Communality Across Time. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13: 117-122. In, 'Encountering, Theorizing and Living Maternal Subjectivities: A Panel Discussion of Lisa Baraitser's Maternal Encounters: the Ethics of Interruption', ed. Noreen Giffney, Anne Mulhall and Michael O'Rourke. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13:2 (2012).
Frost, N., Eatough, V., Shaw, R.L., Weille, K.L., Tzemou, E., Baraitser, L. (2012) Pleasure, pain and procrastination: Reflections on the experience of doing memory-work research. Qualitative Research in Psychology.
Baraitser, L., (2012) Maternal Publics: Time, Relationality and the Public Sphere. In Critical Explorations through Psychoanalysis. Ed. A. Gulerce. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011.
Baraitser, L., (2012) Giving an Account of Another. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(1): 15-23
Baraitser, L., and Spigel, S., (2011) Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics. In The 21st Century Motherhood Movement. Ed. Andrea O'Reilly. Demeter Press: Ontario.
Baraitser, L., Pollock, G. and Spigel, S. (2010) Editorial. Special Issue: M(o)ther Trouble. Studies in the Maternal, 2(1)
Baraitser, L. (2010) On Reading Rosi Braidotti's 'Transpositions'. Subjectivity, 3:125-130
Baraitser, L. and Tyler, I., (2010) Talking of Mothers. Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture. 44: 117-127.
Baraitser, L. (2009) Redundant Groupings and the Ethico-Political Subject: Mothers who make things public. Special Issue: Birth. Feminist Review 93: 8-23.
Baraitser, L. and Spigel, S. (2009) Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics. Studies in the Maternal 1(1).
Frosh, S. and Baraitser, L. (2009) Goodbye to Identity? In A. Elliott and P. du Gay (eds) Identity in Question. London: Sage.
Frosh, S. and Baraitser, L. (2008) Psychoanalysis and Psychosocial Studies. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 13: 346-365.
Baraitser, L. (2008) On Giving and Taking Offence. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 13: 423-427.
Bayly, S. and Baraitser, L. (2008) On Waiting for Something to Happen. Subjectivity, 24: 340-355.
Frosh, S. and Baraitser, L. (2008) Marginalia. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 5: 1-9.
Baraitser, L. (2008) Mum's the Word: Intersubjectivity, alterity and the maternal subject. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9: 86-110.
Baraitser, L. and Frosh, S. (2007) Affect and Encounter in Psychoanalysis. Critical Psychology, 21: 76-93.
Baraitser, L. and Noack, A. (2007) Mother Courage: Reflections on Maternal Resilience. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 23(2): 171-188.
Baraitser, L. (2006) Oi Mother Keep Ye’ Hair On! Impossible transformations of Maternal Subjectivity. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 7(3): 217-238.
Baraitser, L. (2006) Reply to Commentaries. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 7(3): 249-257.
Noack, A. and Baraitser, L. (2004) Groupwork with Mothers who have been Sexually Abused in Childhood. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 20 (3):345-359.
Frosh, S. and Baraitser, L. (2003) Thinking, Recognition, Otherness. The Psychoanalytic Review: 90(6): 771-789.
Baraitser, L. and Bayly, S. (2001) Now and Then: Psychotherapy and the rehearsal process. In Psychoanalysis and Performance, Kear A., and Campbell P (eds). Routledge: London.
Other Scholarly Writing:
Baraitser, L., (2011) A Mother's Thought: Sara Ruddick, 1935-2011. Radical Philosophy, 167: 61-63.
- Baraitser, L. (2010) Maternal Subjectivity. Sage Encyclopedia of Motherhood, Ed. Andrea O’Reilly. Sage: New York.
- Baraitser, L. (2009) Review of Andrea O'Reilly:Rocking the Cradle (2006). Feminist Theory 9:117-118
- Baraitser, L. (2009) Review of Navaro, L., and Schwartzberg, S. L., (2007) Envy, Competition and Gender: Theory, Clinical Applications and Group Work. Psychodynamic Practice. 15: 191-219
2012 University of Sao Paulo. A five-day lecture series on time and capitalism.
- 2012 City Materialities. Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, Open University and University of Manchester. Invited talk on Object-Orientated Maternities.
- 2012 Discussant with Professor Rosine Perelberg, The Murdered Father and the Dead Father, Birkbeck, University of London.
- 2011 Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge. Invited talk: Collecting Time.
- 2011 Celebrating Rozsika Parker: A day symposium on Art, Feminism and Psychoanalysis. Birkbeck, University of London. December 2011. http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2011/12/celebrating-rozsika-parker-1945-2010/
- 2011 Discussant with Professor Rosi Braidotti, Aletta Institute for Women’s History, Amsterdam, On Nomadic Subjectivity.
- 2011 The Future of Testimony: Medicine and Testimony Symposium, ESRC Seminar Series. University of Sheffield.
- 2011 Public talks on maternal aesthetics at The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, and Whitechapel Gallery, London with Dr. Imogen Tyler, organized by The BirthRites Collection.
- 2011 Hour-long radio discussion on resonance fm, on Service, Servitude and the Delegation of Care. http://www.enemiesofgoodart.org/motherhood-servitude-and-the-delegation-of-care/
- 2011 Hour-long radio discussion on ‘Mothers, Power, Love’: resonance fm with 'Enemies of Good Art' on International Women's Day, March 8th. http://www.enemiesofgoodart.org/resonance-fmenemies-of-good-art-international-womens-day-special/
- 2011 Time, Relationality and the Public Sphere. Invited talk at the Department of Sociology, University of Lancaster
- 2010 Time, Relationality and the Public Sphere. Invited talk at the Feminist Reading Seminar, Open University
- 2010 Maternal Encounters: a one-day intensive seminar on my monograph, Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption, organized by The(e)ories: Critical Theory & Sexuality Studies, University College, Dublin. Lecture plus respondent on 4 panels throughout the day.
- 2010 Feeding Motherhood, invited respondent, part of the Motherhood, Markets and Consumption ESRC Seminar Series, Royal Holloway.
- 2010 Melancholic Subjects, Affective States. Invited talk at the London Critical Theory School: ‘Critical Theory and the Political’.
- 2010 Maternal Publics. Conference paper: Beyond Citizenship: Feminism and the transformation of Belonging. Birkbeck/FEMCIT.
- 2010 Complex Lives. Invited Talk at the ‘Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Now Conference: meeting the challenge of complexity together’. British Psychoanalytic Council.
- 2009 Parliamentary session (Portculis House): Invited talk on ‘Increasing access to psychoanalytic psychotherapy’. Attended by members of both parliamentary houses, senior members of the Department of Health and the London strategic health authorities, senior figures from charitable funding bodies, the British Psychoanalytic Council and British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, chairs and members of many psychotherapy organizations, a wide range of people from social services, and from medical and academic research bodies.
- 2009 Massing Mothers. Invited talk at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex.
- 2008 On Waiting for Something to Happen. Ethics in an Age of Diminishing Distance. Conference paper: Annual conference of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. Rutgers University, USA.
- 2008 Maternal Objects. Invited talk at the Maternal Aesthetics, Maternal Representations Conference, Centre for Gender Studies, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
- 2008 Massing Mothers. Invited talk at the University of Brighton, Department of Social Sciences.
- 2008 Talking Books: Lisa Baraitser, Clare Hemmings and Patrick Hanafin in conversation with Professor Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht). Birkbeck, University of London.
- 2007 Stuffed: Maternity and the Encumbered Body. Keynote Lecture, BIRTH: The Cultural Politics of Reproduction. University of Lancaster.
- 2007 Encountering Ethics. Conference paper: International Society for Theoretical Psychology Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada.
- 2007 One, Two, Infinity: On Mother Love, Melancholia, and Unexpected Weeping. Conference paper: Melancholic States International Conference. University of Lancaster.
- 2006 Lisa Baraitser in conversation with Professor Jessica Benjamin, Birkbeck, University of London.
- 2006 Centre for Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Sarajevo. 2-day seminar on Maternal Subjectivity and Cultural Life.
- 2006. Staging the Artist/Scholar. Invited talk, Queen Mary’s College, University of London.
- 2006 Desisting Method. Conference paper: Qualitative Research and Marginality Conference, University of Leicester.
- 2005. Mother Courage: Reflections on Maternal Resilience. Invited talk: Resilience: A Psychoanalytic Exploration. The Maya Centre.
- 2005. Fail Again, Fail Better: Ethics and Maternal Practice. Conference paper: International Conference for Theoretical Psychology, Cape Town, South Africa.
- 2004. Punch Drunk: A Phenomenology of Interruption. Conference paper: Mothering and Feminism Conference, Association for Research on Mothering, York University, Toronto.
2013 Lisa Baraitser joined Nina Power on her weekly radio show, to discuss temporality and psychosocial studies. http://soundcloud.com/resonance-fm/17-00-00-the-hour-of-power-9
2011 Celebrating Rozsika Parker: A day symposium on Art, Feminism and Psychoanalysis. Birkbeck, University of London. December 2011. http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2011/12/celebrating-rozsika-parker-1945-2010/
2011 Hour-long radio discussion on resonance fm, on Service, Servitude and the Delegation of Care. http://www.enemiesofgoodart.org/motherhood-servitude-and-the-delegation-of-care/
2011 Hour-long radio discussion on ‘Mothers, Power, Love’: resonance fm with 'Enemies of Good Art' on International Women's Day, March 8th. http://www.enemiesofgoodart.org/resonance-fmenemies-of-good-art-international-womens-day-special/
Professional membership and awards
Accredited Psychotherapist, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP No. 521669).
- BACP Register for Counsellors and Psychotherapists: Registered Practitioner.
- Member of the Higher Education Academy.
Honours and awards
Joint Winner of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association book prize, 2009 for outstanding feminist scholarship, for Baraitser, L. (2009) Maternal Encounters: The Ethics of Interruption. London and New York: Routledge.
- Judges comments: This is an exquisite book. It is highly innovative and is beautifully and movingly written. Baraitser creatively weaves together personal and theoretical registers, proposing bold new ways to think about maternal subjectivity and a new ethics of relationality […]. Baraitser has defined a subject of study that significantly moves on existing debates. This book will be an important text in feminist psychoanalysis but also have widespread impact across the disciplines. It should be essential reading for all scholars interested in motherhood and the maternal.