Over the span of her career, Nancy Chodorow has charted an interdisciplinary course in her study of the psyche that bridges the worlds of academia and clinical practice. A professor emerita of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a leading theorist in feminist thought, Chodorow is also a trained psychoanalyst with an established private practice.
"I've always been drawn to trying to understand individual minds, in themselves and in relation to culture," she says. In addition to devoting her fellowship year to reading and writing—an effort that resulted in seven published papers—Chodorow participated in a Harvard Medical School course on psychiatry and spent time learning about severe cases of psychopathology through participant observation in the psychiatric units of Cambridge Hospital.
"At the core of all those activities was my interest in the balance between theory and patient-driven psychoanalysis," she says. "You need some theory to make sense of people, yet each person is an individual."
Chodorow's fellowship year laid the groundwork for her move to Cambridge this fall. "My experience at Radcliffe was central in making me realize that I was part of a professional community there," says Chodorow, who will establish a private practice and renew her affiliation with Cambridge Hospital and the local psychoanalytic institutes. "I'm looking forward to being in Cambridge on a more permanent basis."