Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication
Office Hours: By appointment
Ben Kafka is a psychoanalyst, cultural historian, and critic. His first book, The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork (Zone Books, 2012; French translation 2013), explored the material, political, and unconscious origins of our conflicts with bureaucracy. He is currently working on a new book about children raised as experiments by their parents from the Enlightenment to the present day, tentatively titled Living Proof, and another project about the modern search for a grand unified theory of unhappiness. He sees adult and adolescent patients in private practice.
Prof. Kafka received his Ph.D. in European cultural and intellectual history from Stanford. He then spent three years at the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2007 he became a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities, where he currently serves as chair of its executive committee, and, in 2016, a Rita Frankiel Memorial Fellow of the Melanie Klein Trust. He is a co-editor of the journal History of the Present; a member of the editorial board of Grey Room; and a member of the advisory board of the Feminist Theory Archives at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown. He has held visiting positions at the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study, the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, and IKKM Weimar. He is in advanced clinical training at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR), a component society of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and licensed to practice by the State of New York.
He has cross-appointments in the Departments of History, Comparative Literature, and French