Dr. Sandra Janßen
Comparative Literature, Oldenburg

Contact Details

Dr. Sandra Janßen
DFG-network "Selbst-Bildungen"
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg

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Homepage: http://www.geistsoz.kit.edu
Profile cultural dream studies: www.culturaldreamstudies.eu/sandra-janssen

Biographical Note

Sandra Janßen received her PhD from Université Paris 8 and Freie Universität Berlin, where she has taught comparative literature from 2009-2013. From 2013-2015 she has taught modern German literature at the University of Geneva and is currently affiliated as a researcher to the University of Oldenburg. Her research interests include 19th and 20th century German and French literatures and their interrelation with historical psychology. Whereas her doctoral dissertation focuses on theories of imaginative phenomena such as hallucinations and dreams, her most recent research concentrates on a history of subjectivity that also encompasses social and political aspects.

The paradigm of dream theory in the 1930s and 1940s: An existentialism of dreams

The project’s aim is to describe a paradigm of dream theory in the 1930s and 1940s. In doing so, it builds on the above mentioned monograph that describes the psychological conceptions prevailing in the early 20th century as displaying a specific type of subjectivity, constituted by its relation to an objectivity that results from the subject’s own act of exteriorization and objectification. By contrast, the paradigm of the subsequent period can be described as implying a subject which experiences himself as being permeated by objectivity from the outset. This will be demonstrated on the basis of existentialist dream theories, in particular Ludwig Binswanger’s and Jean-Paul Sartre’s. According to these theories, on the one hand, dreams embody experience without representing an individual expression (Binswanger); on the other hand, they enclose the subject into its own image-generating attitude and therefore cannot be considered as an objectification by means of which the subject constitutes itself (Sartre). Whereas before 1930, the subject was conceived as creating dream images in order to “have” them, it is supposed to “be” its imaginary world, thereafter. This implies a totalizing relationship to the external world which can be considered as paradigmatic for a larger conception of subjectivity during that period.