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Jessica Benjamin Papers

Biographical/Historical note

Jessica Benjamin, born on January 17, 1946, is an American feminist psychoanalyst, teacher, and writer. In addition to running a private psychotherapeutic practice in New York City, she is a faculty member at NYU's Postdoctoral Psychology Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

After earning her bachelor's degree cum laude at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1967, Benjamin traveled to Germany to pursue graduate work. She earned her MA in 1971 at the University of Frankfurt in West Germany, studying Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy at the Institute for Social Research. Returning to the States, she taught as a visiting professor of Sociology at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. When Benjamin earned her PhD in Sociology from NYU in 1978, she became a fellow in the New York Institute for the Humanities. During this time she organized a conference called "The Second Sex, Thirty Years Later." Between 1980 and 1983, she conducted research on the social context of mother-infant interactions at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, funded by a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

A prolific writer, Benjamin has published articles and books on psychoanalysis and feminism, specifically analyzing the dynamics of human relationships. Her first book, published in 1988, The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and the Problem of Domination, offers a groundbreaking analysis of the power dynamics tied to masculinity and femininity. In her 1995 collection of essays Like Objects, Love Objects, Benjamin develops a psychoanalytic theory of intersubjectivity, which she elaborates further in her 1997 work Shadow of the Other: Intersubjectivity and Gender in Psychoanalysis.