Marshall W. Alcorn

Marshall Alcorn
Professor of English
Phillips Hall, Room 621
alcorn[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Trauma studies, pedagogy, rhetoric, psychoanalysis, narrative theory, neurobiology, Literary and Critical Theory

Professor of English

Current Research

Professor Alcorn specializes in psychoanalytic post-Freudian understandings of the mind and mental processes.   He is interested in the biology of information processing, the psychology of denial, neuroaesthetics, the biology and psychology of traumatic experience.  He studies Lacanian understandings of social behavior and clinical practice.   He is currently working on a collection of essays representing the disciplinary varieties of current research on trauma, An International Handbook of Trauma.   In addition to teaching in English, he is on the faculty of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. 


B.A. Texas Lutheran College, 1970
M.A. Vanderbilt University, 1976
Ph.D., University of Texas, 1981
Research graduate, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute 2006



The Desire Not to Know as a Challenge to Teaching: Notes on the Emotional Assimilation of information, (forthcoming Palgrave Press, 2013).

Changing the Subject in English Class: Discourse and the Constructions of Desire. (Southern Illinois U.P., 2002).

Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity.  (New York: New York University Press, 1994).

Lacanian Theory of Discourse: Subject, Structure, and Society  Eds. Mark Bracher, Marshall Alcorn, Ron Corthell, Franciose Massardier-Kenney.  (New York University Press, 1994).


“Shame, Classroom Resistance and Bion’s Desire Not to Know”  ETD – Educação Temática Digital (Brazil), 13 (2011), 225-237.

 “The desire not to know as a challenge to teaching,”  Psychoanalysis, Culture, Society, 15 (2010), 346-260.

“Laplanche,” The Columbia History of Twentieth Century French Thought. Lawrence D. Kritzman, Ed.  Columbia University Press, 2006.

“Narrative and Psychoanalysis”  Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative, 2004.

“Getting More Bang for Your Buck:: The Erotics and Labor of Policing Theory,” JAC,23 (2003): 876-884.

"Anxiety and Fragmentation in Panic: A Lacanian Perspective," in Panic, Origins, Insights, Treatment. Ed. Brooke Warner.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2002.

"Toward a Pedagogy of Symptoms, Anxiety, and Mourned Objects" in Pedagogical Desire: Transference, Seduction, and the Question of Authorial Ethics. Ed. Jan Jagodzinski. Series Ed. H. Giroux. Westport: Greenwood,2002: 61-74.

"Ideological Death and Grief."  JPCS: Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, 6 (2001): 172-180.

"Rhetoric, Projection, and the Authority of the Signifier."  College English, 49 (1987), 137-157.

"Literature, Psychoanalysis, and the Re-formation of the Self: A   New Direction for Reader Response Theory," (coauthored with   Mark Bracher).  PMLA, 100 (1985), 342-354.