Marshall Alcorn

Marshall W. Alcorn

Chair of the English Department; Professor of English
Faculty: Full-Time
Room 6243A
Address: Phillips Hall
Phone: 202-994-8434

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
, (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).


 “Affect in Rhetoric and Poetics,”  The Palgrave Handbook on Affect in the Text. Eds. Donald Wehrs and Thomas Blake. Palgrave Press, 2018 (in press).

Alcorn, Marshall and Sue Grand, eds.  Special Edited Section on “Cultural Shifts in Pedagogy: Controversy, Safe Spaces, and Trigger Warnings,:  “Introduction and Coda”, PCS, 2018 (in press).

Alcorn, Marshall and Michael O’Neil.  “Literary Affect and its Impact on Legal Reason and Social Practice,”  Poetics Today.  (forthcoming, 2018).

 “Trauma and Politics,”  Routledge Handbook on Psychoanalysis and Political Science, ed. Yannis Stavrakakis, (forthcoming 2019).

“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.