The St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute is pleased to present

Facts, Fictions, and Collective Anxieties in the Contemporary Immigration Debate

Presenter:  Ricardo Ainslie, PhD

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Centene_Charitable_Foundation_smallPart of the Centene Charitable Foundation Speakers Series



Ainslie, Ricardo 2018

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019

Time:  7:00 p.m.

Location: Ethical Society of St. Louis Auditorium, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117

Course Level: Introductory

Fee: $30 per person   (non-refundable)

 This program, when attended in its entirety,  is offered for 2.0 Credit Hours


The American social landscape has changed dramatically in the last three decades, driven primarily by Mexican and other Latin American immigration. These changes have sparked deep debate, as politicians scapegoat immigrants as the source of America’s ills, armed Minutemen militias patrol border areas with vigilante zeal, and the children of asylum-seeking parents are torn from them and placed in military encampments. In this presentation the current anti-Latino discourse is read through a psychoanalytic lens that helps us understand the psychodynamics of fear of the unknown Other, the linkages between individual and collective identity processes, and the role of society as a psychological “container” that “holds” complex psychological needs and conflicts, thus enhancing a sense of safety for members of the society.


  1. Describe psychoanalytic concepts regarding regressive processes in groups experiencing stress and conflict
  2. Describe the experience of immigration as it relates to acculturation
  3. Describe the impact of migration on the American social landscape


Ricardo Ainslie is a psychologist-psychoanalyst who uses books, documentary films, and photographic exhibits to capture and depict subjects of social and cultural interest.  A native of Mexico City, he teaches at the University of Texas at Austin where he holds the M.K. Hage Centennial Professorship in Education. His books include No Dancin’ In Anson: An American Story of Race and Social Change (1995), The Psychology of Twinship (1997) and Long Dark Road: Bill King and Murder In Jasper, Texas (2004), and The Fight to Save Juárez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War (2013). His films include The Mark of War (2008), Crossover: A Story of Desegregation (1999); Looking North: Mexican Images of Immigration (2006); Ya Basta! Kidnapped in Mexico (2007); and The Mystery of Consciousness (2009). 

In 2002 the Texas Psychological Association recognized him with its “Outstanding Contribution to Science” award, and in 2009 the APA’s Division of Psychoanalysis recognized his work with its “Science Award.” Ricardo Ainslie was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2006.  In 2010 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow and also awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency.  He received the Psychoanalysis and Social Achievement Award in 2012.  In 2014 he was inducted into the Texas Philosophical Society.


More at Dr. Ainslie’s website, HERE.


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