Dissertation Title:

Being in the World of Hands: The Phenomenology of Writing


Julia J. Lanham

Date, Time & Place:

July 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm
Studio, Lambert Road Campus


It began disguised as the personal myth Julia had concocted for herself.
Let me press this further. What it was, what it is, and the idea of what the inquiry will become along the way back into our world is a response to the specific questions life has addressed to Julia and her “houses of writing. . . .the watercolors of writing” the day-to-day reality of the writing experience that apprehends her hands and sends her imagination soaring (Hillman, 1983, p. 159).
Julia’s houses of writing hold a pantheon of characters that evolve into an atypical and harmonious group of friends wherein all are as essential to one another as the five fingers of a hand. To be sure, the collection of voices and sets of hands that serve to ruffle her feathers are among the allegorical figures of all time and express the self in the rich complexity of human experience.
We may pause here to reflect on the plurality of methods and presences that is brought into rapprochement in a way analogous to that described by James Hillman through his question: “Why not let various voices speak in the same piece of work” (Hillman, 1983, p. 155). And why not let various sets of hands go to work in the same piece?
In an acorn, the Self is made when the scrappy band of inner purveyors deploy a series of imaginative escapes and hijack the dissertation.
Lest it be thought that this study is only a playful and fractured flight of living and being in the world, the vertiginous movement of the dissertation nevertheless advances the epistemological and ontological possibilities of depth psychology by outlining a specific trajectory: the successive stages and the implicit examination of the discontinuity between individuation and the demands of socialization and the reclamation of human hand writing as a way of understanding the world.
But don’t fool yourself reader. The journey gathers meaning only after the author succumbs to sheer exhaustion and the inspiration of her dreams.


All oral defense attendees must shuttle to the Lambert Road Campus from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria. Parking on campus is not available.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track K, 2008
  • Chair: Dr. Edward Casey
  • Reader: Dr. Maurice Stevens
  • External Reader: Carolyn Thomas
  • Keywords: Hands, Imagination, Individuation, Feminism, Image, Liminal, Agential