Michael Uebel (born 1964), a pioneer in the application of psychological insights to the historical intersections of social, personal, and imaginative phenomena, is a psychotherapist and researcher in Austin, Texas. He has taught literature and critical theory at the University of Virginia, at Georgetown University, where he taught in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program and the English Department, and at the University of Kentucky, where he held a faculty position in the Department of English, and was affiliated with the Committee on Social Theory and Women's Studies. He is the author and/or editor of three major studies and the author of over 40 journal essays and encyclopedia articles. Uebel lectures nationally and internationally on issues concerning social history, mental health, and the challenges of humanism.
From the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Uebel received his B.A., with Distinction, in the fields of comparative literature and English literature. He completed both his M.A. and PhD in literature at the University of Virginia, continuing his post-doctoral studies by earning the Master of Science in Social Work Degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied psychotherapy at both the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute and the Austin Center for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Uebel's research is best described as humanistic. Examining issues such as the formation of utopian thought, the ideology of gender relations, and the potentials of human existence, Uebel has urged a reconnaissance of disciplines as seemingly disparate as psychoanalysis, gerontology, philosophy, and social science. Uebel is a staunch opponent of what he describes as the "self-indulgent and self-cannibalizing" cultural studies approach to literary and social phenomena. Such an approach is best exemplified, according to Uebel, in the work of scholars such as Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, who remain mired in a narcissistic allegorization of history. Increasingly, Uebel's writing focuses on the currents of cultural analysis in the humanities, which, although they pay lip service to humanism, are, in the final analysis, ill-equipped to foster it.
As a psychotherapist, Uebel's practice and research focus on issues related to the social contexts of psychopathology and treatment modalities that address the person, the social body, and the relational world, including mindfulness modalities, gestalt therapy, and positive psychology.
Significant influences on Uebel include the humanistic psychologists Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls, Thomas Szasz, and Robert Jay Lifton, the politically-engaged psychoanalysts Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, and the less easily pigeon-holed thinkers Walter Benjamin, Félix Guattari, and Paul Goodman.
Uebel's major works to date include a study of the legend of Prester John and utopian thought formation in the early Middle Ages (Ecstatic Transformation: On the Uses of Alterity in the Middle Ages, 2005), a volume of essays on the cultural intersections of race and masculinity (with Harry Stecopoulos, Race and the Subject of Masculinities, 1997), and a volume of essays on the significance of labor in the High Middle Ages (with Kellie Robertson, The Middle Ages at Work, 2004). He has also edited a volume of essays on medieval culture for New Literary History (1996).
Uebel is writing a book on the formation of social consciousness and shame in post-war U. S. culture entitled Masochism in America. He is also working, with Erin Labbie, on a book-length study of the famous neuropath Daniel Paul Schreber, and several essays including therapeutic case studies and papers on technique.
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