Dissertation Title:

The Animum: Queering Jungian and Post-Jungian Anima / Animus Theories


James Perrin

Date, Time & Place:

October 28, 2021 at 10:00 am


his project proposes a means of rendering Jungian and post-Jungian anima and animus theories (animix theories) fully queer-compatible as a unified queer archetypal hermeneutic.

It begins with a history of animix theory, focusing on previous efforts to make the anima and animus LGBTQ-compatible and those attempts’ shortcomings.  The unworkability of animix theories arises from their improper focus: they sought to synthesize essentialist and binarist truths about specific sexes, genders, and sexualities, rather than investigating archetypal sex, gender, and sexuality itself.

The dissertation then constructs a unified meta-theory of queer theories, theories often appearing antithetical to one another.  It argues that queer theories demonstrate a reliance on three ontological and epistemological centers that remain in unresolvable definitional and causative tension: sex (bodily facticity), gender (sociality), and sexuality (identity).  These three ontologies perpetually contain, cause, construct, inter-implicate, negate, and deconstruct each other.  Differing theories thus constitute reductionist and/or partial viewpoints within the greater field of those unresolvable tensions.  Based on that meta-theory, it argues that sexes, genders, and sexualities comprise a great multiplicity, both among subjects and across each subject’s biography.

The project demonstrates the application of a unified queer archetypal hermeneutics to several constellations of mythical images, focusing on a cluster of Greek myths frequently conscripted in traditional Jungian animix theories, as well as myths of other traditions.

This project argues for a single archetype, the animum, to replace and subsume previous animix theories.  The animum is archetypal sex, gender, and sexuality itself, that which constantly constructs, contains, inter-implicates, negates, and deconstructs the ontologies and epistemologies within the unresolvable tensions of bodily facticity,

sociality, and identity.  The animum appears in myth not as a pattern of image-phenotypes, but in those images’ forcing of our wrestling with those unresolvable tensions.  Engaging it requires coming to terms with the possible selves we could and could not have been, that we shall and shall not be.

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, E, 2014
  • Chair: Dr. Christine Downing
  • Reader: Dr. Douglas Thomas
  • External Reader: Robert Hopcke, MFT
  • Keywords: Mythology, Jung, Psychology, Anima, Animus, Queer, LGBTQ, Gender, Sexuality, Archetype