Brigid Doherty

Brigid Doherty holds a joint appointment in German and Art & Archaeology and is an Associated Faculty member in the School of Architecture. She currently serves as Director of the Program in European Cultural Studies and as a member of the Executive Committees of the Program in Media + Modernity and the Council on International Teaching and Research. Professor Doherty came to Princeton in 2003 from her previous position as Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Art and the Humanities Center at The Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Doherty’s research and teaching focus on the interdisciplinary study of twentieth-century art and literature, with special emphasis on relationships among the visual arts, literature, and aesthetic and psychoanalytic theories in German modernism. In 2005, she held the inaugural Research Forum Visiting Professorship in Modern and Contemporary Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. In 2006–2007, she was the David and Roberta Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and an Affiliate Scholar at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. In 2008, she was a participant in Manifesta 7, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, for which she created the exhibition project Learning Things as a contribution to the group of “mini-museums” curated by Anselm Franke and Hila Peleg in Trento, Italy. In 2011, she was a Fellow at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin. Additional grants and fellowships include: ACLS, DAAD, Fulbright, Getty, NEH.

Current Research

Professor Doherty's current research is connected most directly to two book projects. The first, "Homesickness for Things," explores how, in twentieth-century German modernism and its present-day aftermath, objects, among them persons and works of art, become containers for fantasies of return to a maternal body or family home (each broadly conceived, in material as well as symbolic terms). The project further investigates how such fantasies come, in turn, to provide a basis for various ethical and political positions with regard to our understanding of history. "Homesickness for Things" situates the work of writers and artists, including the early twentieth-century poet Rainer Maria Rilke and late twentieth-century artist Hanne Darboven, in relation to theories of "projective identification" and related phenomena of thinking, feeling, and intersubjectivity in psychoanalysis from Sándor Ferenczi to Wilfred Bion. The second book project is a monograph on the work of contemporary artist Rosemarie Trockel.