Circumcision on the Couch

The Cultural, Psychological, and Gendered Dimensions of the World's Oldest Surgery

Cover of Circumcision on the Couch by Jordan Osserman

Bloomsbury Academic

DOI: 10.5040/9781501368196

Penises, and the things people do with them, have been subjects of controversy for a long time. This book examines how one thing that some people do to penises-remove the foreskin-has become a site upon which vital questions of gender, race, religion, sexuality, and psychic life are negotiated. While most contemporary work on the subject is concerned with whether circumcision is right or wrong, safe or harmful, Circumcision on the Couch takes as its starting point that the significance of male circumcision exceeds anatomical and juridical considerations.

Deploying a feminist Lacanian framework, while drawing from a wide range of archival sources and critical thought, Jordan Osserman asks: How can psychoanalysis help us shed light on the ideologies, discourses, and fantasies surrounding circumcision and the impassioned stances for and against it? And how might the history of circumcision, in turn, allow us to re-assess and clarify how we understand the split (or “snipped”) subject of psychoanalysis?

Reviews and commentaries

Book review: A Mirror and a Razor Lay Crossed or View PDF
by Aviv Reich, The Cambridge Quarterly, June 2023

15 Dec 2021