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Michael Uebel (born 1964), a pioneer in the application of psychological insights to the historical intersections of social, personal, and imaginative phenomena, is a psychotherapist and researcher in Austin, Texas. He has taught literature and critical theory at the University of Virginia, at Georgetown University, where he taught in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program and the English Department, and at the University of Kentucky, where he held a faculty position in the Department of English, and was affiliated with the Committee on Social Theory and Women’s Studies. As of 2012, Uebel has been appointed Lecturer in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author and/or editor of three major studies and the author of over 40 journal essays and encyclopedia articles. Uebel lectures nationally and internationally on issues concerning social history, mental health, and the challenges of humanism. In 2009, he co-founded the Interdependence Project-Austin (IDP-A), a branch of the New York city-based nonprofit organization (IDP) dedicated to fostering the intersection of the arts, activism, and contemplative traditions. Uebel serves as Director of Contemplative Studies.
From the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Uebel received his B.A., with Distinction, in the fields of comparative literature and English literature. He completed both his M.A. and PhD in literature at the University of Virginia, continuing his post-doctoral studies by earning the Master of Science in Social Work Degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied psychotherapy at both the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute and is currently an instructor and student at the Austin Center for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Research and practice focus
Uebel’s research is best described as humanistic. Examining issues such as the formation of utopian thought, the ideology of gender relations, and the potentials of human existence, Uebel has urged a reconnaissance of disciplines as seemingly disparate as psychoanalysis, gerontology, philosophy, and social science. Uebel is forging an approach to literary, philosophical, and social phenomena that eludes the narcissistic allegorization of history that mires much contemporary cultural studies work. Increasingly, Uebel's writing focuses on the currents of cultural analysis in the humanities.
As a psychotherapist, Uebel’s practice and research focus on issues related to the social contexts of psychopathology and treatment modalities that address the person, the social body, and the relational world, including mindfulness modalities, gestalt therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Significant influences on Uebel include the humanistic psychologists Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls, Thomas Szasz, and Robert Jay Lifton, the politically engaged psychoanalysts Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, and the less easily pigeon-holed thinkers Walter Benjamin, Félix Guattari, and Paul Goodman.
Uebel’s major works to date include a study of the legend of Prester John and utopian thought formation in the early Middle Ages (Ecstatic Transformation: On the Uses of Alterity in the Middle Ages, 2005), a volume of essays on the cultural intersections of race and masculinity (with Harry Stecopoulos, Race and the Subject of Masculinities, 1997), and a volume of essays on the significance of labor in the High Middle Ages (with Kellie Robertson, The Middle Ages at Work, 2004). He has also edited a volume of essays on medieval culture for New Literary History (1996).
Uebel is writing a book on the formation of social consciousness and shame in post-war U. S. culture entitled Masochism in America. He is also working on a book-length study of the famous neuropath Daniel Paul Schreber, and several essays including therapeutic case studies and papers on therapeutic technique.
Selected recent articles and chapters
- "Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism: Implications for a Generalist Macro Social Work Practice," with Clayton Shorkey, in Mindfulness and Acceptance in Social Work, Ed. Matthew Boone. New Harbinger Publications.
- "History and Development of Instructional Technology and Media in Social Work Education," with Clayton Shorkey, The Journal of Social Work Education, forthcoming.
- "Psychoanalysis and the Question of Violence: From Masochism to Shame," American Imago, 69.4 (2012): 473-505.
- “Defense Analysis,” “Lay Analysis,” Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts. Ed. Elizabeth Auchincloss and Eslee Samberg. New York/New Haven: American Psychoanalytic Association and Yale University Press, 2012.
- "Ecocentrism," in Green Ethics and Philosophy, vol. 8 of the Green Society series. Eds. Julie Newman & J. Geoffrey Golson. Thousand Oaks, CA, 2011.
- "Grassroots Moral Panics," in Encyclopedia of Drug Policy. Eds. Mark Kleiman, James Hawdon, J. Geoffrey Golson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011.
- “We Have Never Been Schreber: Paranoia, Medieval and Modern,” with Erin Labbie, in The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory. Ed. Andrew Cole & D. Vance Smith. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. 127-58.
- “Assessing Spiritual Dimensions of Chemical Dependence Treatment and Recovery: Research and Practice,” with Shorkey, C., & Windsor, L., International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 6.3 (2008): 286-305.
- “Classical Psychoanalytic Thought, Contemporary Developments, and Clinical Social Work,” with Roberta R. Greene, in Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice, ed. Roberta R Greene, 3rd Ed. New York: Haworth Press, 2008.
- “Minnesota Model,” “Rational Recovery,” “Secular Organization for Sobriety,” with Clayton Shorkey, Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. Ed. Gary L. Fisher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008.
- “Gestalt Therapy,” with Clayton Shorkey, Encyclopedia of Social Work, 20th Edition. Ed. Terry Mizrahi and Larry Davis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
- “Gerontological Social Workers,” with Roberta R. Greene, The Encyclopedia of Elder Care: The Comprehensive Resource on Geriatric and Social Care. 2nd Edition. Ed. Elizabeth Capezuti, Eugenia L. Siegler, & Mathy D. Mezey. New York: Springer, 2007.
- “Racism” and “Social Construction (Theoretical Perspectives),” Routledge International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities. Ed. Michael Flood, Judith Kegan Gardiner, Bob Pease, and Keith Pringle. New York: Routledge, 2007.
- “Sadomasochism,” The Historical Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work. Ed. Melissa Hope Ditmore. New York: Greenwood Press, 2006.
- “Intervention Continued: Providing Care through Case Management,” with Roberta R. Greene, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 14.1/2 (2007): 31-50. Also published in Contemporary Issues of Care, ed. Roberta R. Greene. New York: Routledge, 2007.
- “B(eing)-Students,” Journal of Narrative Theory 37.2 (2007): 326-48.
- “Opening Time: Psychoanalysis and Medieval Culture,” Cultural Studies of the Modern Middle Ages. Ed. Eileen Joy, Myra Seaman, Mary K. Ramsey, & Kimberly Bell. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007. 269-94.
- “Acoustical Alterity,” Exemplaria 16.2 (2004): 349-65.
- “Striptopia?” Social Semiotics 14.2 (2004): 3-19.
- “Conceptualizing Labor in the Middle Ages,” The Middle Ages at Work: Practicing Labor in Late Medieval England. Ed. Kellie Robertson & Michael Uebel. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004. 1-15.
- "Contributors," Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, eds. J. J. Cohen & B. Wheeler (New York: Garland Publishing, 1997), p. 387.
- "Contributors," New Literary History, special issue on Medieval Studies, 28.2 (1997), p. 422.
- Joshunda Sanders, "Buddhist Tradition Thrives in Austin," Austin American-Statesman, 28 March, 2010. Online at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/buddhist-tradition-thrives-in-austin/nRrbQ/. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "Contributors," Cultural Studies of the Modern Middle Ages, eds. E. A. Joy, K. K. Bell, & M. K. Ramsey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), p. 302.
- Uebel has been called "one of the foremost scholars and the translator of the 'Letter of Prester John.'" See Michael Calabrese, Review of The Postcolonial Middle Ages, in The Medieval Review, 2001, 01.10.16.