The Hans Kilian Award 2015 went to the US American psychoanalyst and social theorist Jessica Rachel Benjamin.
With its decision to select Jessica R. Benjamin, the Köhler Foundation honored one of the internationally most influential scholars in the field of psychoanalysis, identity theory, and feminist psychology for her academic life achievements. Her cross-disciplinary and cross-thematic perspectives that resonate in various scientific fields such as infant, gender, and trauma research as well as in social philosophy and cultural theory especially impressed the selection committee. Her significant contributions to the development of a relational, intersubjective theory of the self has stimulated controversial, but at the same time important and fruitful discussions about the foundations of psychoanalytic thinking as well as psychotherapeutic practice.
In her intellectual life and thought, Jessica Benjamin integrates national academic cultures as well as American and European - especially German - traditions of philosophy, psychology, and social theory. Her writings are clear references to early and current critical theory, Hegel’s theory of intersubjectivity, classical Freudian psychoanalysis and its predominantly American development in Heinz Kohut’s self-psychology and Daniel Stern’s theory of self-development in early childhood. In addition, Jessica Benjamin helped to establish a feminist psychology and developed her position in critical distance to French post-structuralism as can be seen in her critical statements on some currently influential gender theories, for example, that of Judith Butler.
Jessica R. Benjamin is a practicing psychotherapist and Clinical Professor of Psychology in the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis where she teaches psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. She is co-founder and a board member of the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Moreover, she is a founding and board member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP). In 2001, she received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Psychoanalysis Section of the American Psychological Association. In May 2008, she held the prestigious Sigmund Freud Lecture in Vienna.
Benjamin, J. (2013). The Bonds of Love: Looking Backward. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 14, 1-15.
Benjamin, J. (2011). Facing reality together discussion: With culture in mind: The social third. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12, 27-36.
Benjamin, J. (2010). Where's the gap and what's the difference?: The relational view of intersubjectivity, multiple selves, and enactments. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 46, 112-119.
Benjamin, J. (2010). Can we recognize each other? Response to Donna Orange. The International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 5, 244-256.
Benjamin, J. (2009). A relational psychoanalysis perspective on the necessity of acknowledging failure in order to restore the facilitating and containing features of the intersubjective relationship (The Shared Third). International Journal of PsychoAnalyisis, 90, 441-450.
Benjamin, J. (2005). From many into one: Attention, energy and the containing of multitudes. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 15, 185-201.
Benjamin, J. (2004). Beyond doer and done to: An intersubjective view of thirdness. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, LXXIII.
Benjamin, J. (1997). Shadow of the other: Intersubjectivity and gender in psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge.
Benjamin, J. (1995). Like subjects, love objects: essays on recognition and sexual difference. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Benjamin, J. (1988). The bonds of love: Psychoanalysis, feminism and the problem of domination. New York: Panthenon.
Some of Jessica Benjamin’s work has been translated into other languages, including German.