Nathan Gorelick

Term Assistant Professor of English 


English, First Year Foundation


415 Barnard Hall


Nathan Gorelick teaches in the English Department and for the First-Year Experience program. His areas of expertise include British and Continental Literature from the Restoration through Romanticism, Enlightenment philosophy and ideology, literary theory, and psychoanalysis. Before joining the faculty at Barnard he was Associate Professor of English at Utah Valley University, where he also directed the summer Study Abroad Program in London and was the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Dean’s Scholarship Award and multiple grants for Engaged Learning in the Liberal Arts.

Professor Gorelick’s research takes place at the intersections of literature, psychoanalysis, and ideology critique. His first book, The Unwritten Enlightenment: Literature between Ideology and the Unconscious (Northwestern University Press, 2024), reveals how eighteenth-century literature, particularly the novel, avowedly or implicitly subverts, resists, or otherwise confounds the most powerful and enduring political and philosophical formations of its time. His next book examines the end of the world—a literary theme, philosophical problem, and lived material reality—from trans-Atlantic slavery and the origins of modern colonialism to the increasingly catastrophized present. A third, long-term research project considers the history of the relation between psychedelic drugs and the Freudian field, as well as how this relation may be reinvented today. He has also published academic articles and book chapters on diverse topics including the psychology of ecological collapse, Continental philosophy, the Haitian Revolution, the unconscious foundations of Islamophobia, and contemporary Islamicate politics.

He has completed the six-year cycle of the Training Seminar in Lacanian Psychoanalysis with Gifric in Quebec City, Canada, and he has served as Delegate Assembly representative to the Modern Language Association for the Forum on Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and Literature. He is currently the editor of Provocations Journal, the companion publication to the Provocations book series from University of Nebraska Press.

  • Ph.D., M.A., Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.A., New York University

  • Literary Criticism and Theory
  • Eighteenth Century Europe
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Colonial and Post-Colonial Theory
  • Continental philosophy

  • “‘Epistème la gris’: Foucault and Psychedelic Neoliberalism.” Continental Thought and Theory. Vol. 4, issue 1 (2022), 230-259.
  • “Psychoanalysis at the End of the World.” Lacan and the Environment, ed. Paul Kingsbury and Clint Burnham (New York: Palgrave, 2021), 221-237.
  • “Why Sex is Special: Psychoanalysis Against New Materialism.” Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism, ed. Russell Sbriglia and Slavoj Žižek (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2020), 171-189.
  • “The Fetish, the Phallus, the Fantasy: Orientalism, Symbolic Castration, and the Eighteenth-Century Imaginary.” Castration, Impotence, and Emasculation in the Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Anne Greenfield (London: Routledge, 2020), 69-87.
  • “What is the Novel? The Fundamental Concepts of a Literary Phenomenon.” Continental Thought and Theory, Vol. 2, issue 3 (2019), 134-166.
  • “Becoming Revolution: From Symptom to Act in the 2011 Arab Uprisings.” Islamic Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Islam, ed. Ian Parker and Sabah Siddiqui (London: Routledge, 2019), 88-101.
  • “The Real (of) Debt: Notes Toward an Ethics of Trash.” Continental Thought and Theory, Vol. 1, issue 2 (2017), 490-517.
  • “Translating the Islamicate Symptom.” SCTIW Review: Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World (June 2015), 1-13
  • “Extimate Revolt: Mesmerism, Haiti, and the Origin of Psychoanalysis.” CR: New Centennial Review, Vol. 13, no. 3 (Winter 2013), 115-138.
  • “Life in Excess: Insurrection and Expenditure in Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty.” Discourse, Vol. 33, no. 2 (2011), 263-279.
  • “Fethi Benslama and the Translation of the Impossible in Islam and Psychoanalysis.” Umbr(a): A Journal of the Unconscious, “Islam” issue (2009), 188-192.
  • “Imagining Extraordinary Renditions: Terror, Torture and the Possibility of an Excessive Ethics in Literature.” Theory & Event, Vol. 11, no. 2 (2008), online: 7,700 words.

  • “Psychoanalysis on Drugs.” Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell University, April 2022.
  • “Heidegger and Lacan: The Missed Encounter.” Psychoanalysis Reading Group at Cornell University, April 2022.
  • “The Subject of Revolution: A Lacanian Provocation.” Black Box Speaker Series for the Program in Culture and Theory at the University of California, Irvine, April 2021.
  • “Reading the Twang of the Void.” Psychoanalysis and Psychedelics Speaker Series for the Maudsley Psychedelic Society at King’s College, London, February 2021.
  • “Yes Future: Politics Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” 2020 Meeting of the Modern Language Association, Seattle, WA.
  • “What is Called Revolution.” Department of Philosophy at California State University, Chico, November 2019.
  • “Tripping Over the Unconscious: Freud and Lacan on Psychedelics.” 2019 Écrits Conference, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • “Religion, Revolution, and the Real: A Comparative Symptomatology.” 2019 LACK Conference, Clark University, Worcester, MA.
  • “Islam, Psychoanalysis, Revolution.” Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, February 2017.
  • “Islam and the Revolutionary Unconscious.” 2017 Meeting of the College of Psychoanalysts U.K., University of Manchester.