Ken Corbett is Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. He is the author of Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities and A Murder Over a Girl: Gender, Justice, Junior High. Dr. Corbett has a private practice in New York City.
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A Murder Over a Girl
Psychologist Corbett (Boyhoods) recounts, with riveting clarity and deep humanity, the 2011 trial of Brandon McInerney for fatally shooting his 15-year-old classmate Larry King during their middle-school English class in Oxnard, Calif., in 2008. But as he brings careful precision and a trained clinical eye to the desperate, painful facts...
of the shooter and victim—Brandon, white, from a broken and violent home, was 14 at the time of the shooting and beginning to exhibit white supremacist loyalties; Larry, mixed-race, removed from his adoptive home on charges of abuse, had just begun to identify as transgender—Corbett also excavates the chilling and dangerous beliefs that led the defense to construct a persuasive story of a “normal” boy pushed over the edge of self-control by a flamboyant “queer.” He draws out the suspense of the courtroom drama by intertwining his professional knowledge of adolescents, gender, and trauma with empathetic portraits of the people involved, and he recounts his personal struggle to understand the case as it unfolds. Corbett depicts these events as a story in which emotion outweighs logic and ethics, in which exhibiting gender variance is a worse crime than hatred, and in which the human mind makes sense of something confounding through denial and erasure. Profound and disturbing, this heartbreaking testimony of our culture’s worst fissures suggests that understanding is the only way to heal.
Oscar and Lucinda — The True History of the Kelly Gang
Booker Prize Winner
You could say Ken Corbett was put on earth to write this stunning book. Now is the moment in our history when we need him to be our secret agent, our witness, our guide inside the maelstrom of this mad hatter court.
With great compassion, insight, and care, Corbett takes us to the scene in which one transgendered child’s daring and vibrant bid to become a girl met with the murderous rage of a boy well-taught in holding and using a gun. A murdered girl is gone...
a nearly undocumented life, yet her spectre lives on in this remarkable book, a narration that enters us into the minds of those who make hatred into a form of pernicious reasoning. A Murder Over a Girl is about youth culture, gender, school, and the failures of the legal system, about cunning reversals in argument whereby murderers are cast as victims, and the traces of the dead are nearly effaced. Corbett does justice to this death and to this life precisely on the occasion, the trial, when legal justice failed her, with a book both intelligent and loving, exposing a world tragically lacking in those very qualities, calling upon us all to intervene to halt gender violence before it begins.
Based in his extensive work with nontraditional families (including same-gender couples raising children) and years of research into non-normative gender behaviors, practicing psychoanalyst Corbett outlines an elastic psychoanalytical model for examining male desire, while confronting society's reliance on traditional masculinity narratives. Corbett isn't afraid...
of questioning any existing school of thought: Does a strict, heterosexual reading of the oedipal triangle still functions in modern analysis? Should boyhood femininity be suppressed in favor of the gender binary? Can aggression be a productive, even healthy, quality among men? Corbett's frank discussion of the emotional and sexual fluidity of boyhood play, as well as his honest assessment of himself as both a gay man and a professional, go a long way toward expanding the boundaries and methodology for understanding boyhood. Practitioners facing what Corbett calls a "category crisis" with their patients will find this most useful, but a wider audience should get caught up in Corbett's social, cultural, psychological, and biological critique. More case studies would produced a richer experience, especially for concerned men, but Corbett's praise-worthy challenge to still-persistent myths of masculinity is an absorbing read that pushes psychoanalysis into the 21st century.
On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored — The Beast in the Nursery
Ken Corbett has not needed to tell a new story about masculinity because he has so many new stories to tell...
Weaving together clinical experience and diversely illuminating theoretical approaches Corbett has managed to do justice to the singularity of each boy’s experience of growing up, without having to give up on the generalities of developmental theory. There has never been a book, written from a psychoanalytic perspective, so amused and amusing and subtle about gender. The masculinities described in Boy Hoods, and the way Corbett has found to write about the subject, will radically change how we talk about boys growing up.
- Three Reasons Why Guns in Schools are a Bad Idea for Kids - Slate »
- War Game — New York Times Magazine »
- All of These Things Will Happen - Division Review, 8: 36-37, 2013
- The Analyst’s Private Space: Spontaneity, Ritual, Psychotherapeutic Action, and Self-Care – Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 24, 637-647
- Shifting Sexual Cultures, The Potential Space of Online Relations, and the Promise of Psychoanalytic Listening — Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2013, 61: 10-23.
- Break the Circle: Bullying Fantasies, Normative Regulation, and the Ghost of Melancholy — Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 2013, 33: 166-173.
- Boyhood Femininity, Gender Identity Disorder, Masculine Presuppositions, and the Anxiety of Regulation — Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2009, 19: 353-370.
- Little Hans: Masculinity Foretold — The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2009, 78: 101-132.
- Gender Now — Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2008, 18: 838-856.
Press & Media
- Nov. 2015
- Jun. 2012
- Oct. 2011
- Oct. 2011
- Apr. 2011
- Apr. 2011
- Jan. 2011
- Oct. 2009
- Sept. 2009