Master of Arts (M.A.)
This thesis examines the contributions of psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan (1892-1949) to an ongoing conversation on the self and society in the United States, from classical liberal political theory to the mid-twentieth century social sciences. Existing literature overlooks the 1940s as a divided period in American intellectual history. This project argues that an accurate presentation of the era demands the inclusion of thinkers who were excluded from mainstream institutions as a consequence of their training in 'professional' academic disciplines or social marginalization along the lines of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexuality. Careful examination of Sullivan's lectures, scholarly articles, unpublished manuscripts, and biographical material locates his place in this conversation and further highlights the influence of his experiences as a gay, working-class, Irish-Catholic psychiatrist on his innovative theories. Sullivan's ideas addressed aspects of life in the United States ignored by established academics, shaping the subjects and methods later associated with the very institutions from which he was excluded and resonating with late-twentieth century advances in queer theory. This thesis contributes to the expansion of intellectual history to include thinkers from a greater diversity of personal backgrounds who hypothesized foundational changes to a mainstream American society from which they were excluded.
© The Author
Stephens, Taylor S., "The Lonely Ones: Selfhood and Society in Harry Stack Sullivan's Psychiatric Thought" (2018). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1550153810.