Matthew Bowker


Matthew Bowker.

Matthew Bowker


Matthew Bowker


Research Interests

Psychoanalytic Theory; Political Philosophy; Cultural Psychology; Creative Non-Fiction; Critical Thinking; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)


  • PhD University of Maryland, College Park
  • MA University of Maryland, College Park
  • BA Columbia University


I teach courses in Critical Thinking, Communication Literacy, and Political and Psychoanalytic Theory. For twenty years, I have designed, taught, managed, and assessed courses in interdisciplinary, core-curricular, and general-education environments. 

I pursue an active research program in my primary area of specialization — psychoanalytic political theory — and in pedagogy / the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), with a particular emphasis on the facilitation of critical thinking.

My approach to psychoanalytic political theory may be fairly described as “ideology-critique,” which is to say that I am most interested in identifying the collective beliefs, assumptions, and fantasies that shape socio-political landscapes, and subjecting them to what I hope to be illuminating (and typically immanent) critique.

I serve in a number of editorial, advisory, and leadership capacities: Founding Editor of Routledge’s book series: Psychoanalytic Political Theory, Editor (N. America) of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies, Associate Editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society, and more.

Selected Publications


Bowker, M.H., Ed. Severe Social Withdrawal and the Covidian Era: Psychoanalytic Perspectives. London: Phoenix Publishing (Under Contract)

Bowker, M.H. The Angels Won’t Help You: Essays. Santa Barbara, CA: Punctum Books (in press, 2022)

Delion, P. The Republic of False Selves and What is Institutional Psychotherapy?: Two Texts by Pierre Delion. Translated and Introduced by M.H. Bowker. London: Phoenix Publishing (in press, 2022)

Bowker, M.H., The Anguished and the Enchanted. Santa Barbara, CA: Punctum Books (2021)

Bowker, M.H. Critical Thinking and The Subject of Inquiry: Capacities, Resilience, and Power — A Guide for Teachers, Learners and Trainers. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt (2020)

Bowker, M.H. Misinterest: Essays, Pensées, and Dreams. Santa Barbara, CA: Punctum Books (2019)

Levine, D.P, and M.H. Bowker. The Destroyed World and the Guilty Self: A Psychoanalytic Study of Culture and Politics. London: Phoenix Publishing (2019)

Bowker, M.H. and D.P. Levine A Dangerous Place to Be: Identity, Conflict, and Trauma in Higher Education. New York and London: Routledge (2018)

Bowker, M.H. and A. Buzby, Eds. D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2017)

Bowker, M.H. Ideologies of Experience: Trauma, Failure, Deprivation, and the Abandonment of the Self. New York and London: Routledge (2016)

Bowker, M.H. Escargotesque, or, What is Experience? New York: Punctum Books (2015)

Bowker, M.H. Rethinking the Politics of Absurdity: Albert Camus, Postmodernity, and the Survival of Innocence. New York and London: Routledge (2014)

Bowker, M.H. Albert Camus and the Political Philosophy of the Absurd: Ambivalence, Resistance, and Creativity. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield (2013)

Bowker, M.H. Ostranenie: On Shame and Knowing. New York: Punctum Books (2012)

Selected Articles and Chapters:

Bowker, M.H. “Anxiety, Helplessness, and Courage.” Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society (in press, 2021)

Bowker, M.H. “Anxiety, Help, and Helplessness.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum (in press, 2021)  

Bowker, M.H. “Psychoanalyzing Mythe: Anxiety, Helplessness, and the Creation of Absurdity.” In Maciej Kałuża and P. Francev (Eds.), Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus: Critical Essays and Perspectives. (in press, 2022)

Bowker, M.H. “Sympathetic Subsumption: A Defense Against Anxiety and Aggression in Groups.” Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. (2020)

Bowker, M.H. “The American Cult of Experience and the Real / Psychosocial Split.” Free Associations 79. (2020)

Bowker, M.H. “Critique at War with Itself: A Review of America at War with Itself, by Henry A. Giroux.” Journal of Psychosocial Studies: Special Issue on the American Tradition of Psycho-Social Theory, no. 1 (2020)

Bowker, M.H. and D.W. McIvor. “Introduction: Bodies, Affects, and Identities: Trends in  American Psychoanalytic Political Theory.” Journal of Psychosocial Studies: Special Issue on the American Tradition of Psycho-Social Theory, no. 1 (2020)

Bowker, M.H. “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: A Response to David Lotto.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum 26, 2, 206–11 (2020)

Bowker, M.H. and C.F. Alford. “Trauma, Psycho-History, and Humane Understanding: An Interview with C. Fred Alford.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum 27, 1, 107-114 (2020)

Bowker, J.C., Bowker, M.H., Santo, J., Ojo, A.A., Etkin, R.J., Raja, R. “Severe Social Withdrawal: Cultural Variation in Past Hikikomori Experiences of University Students in Nigeria, Singapore, and the US.” Journal of Genetic Psychology (2019)

Bowker, M.H. “Activity, Speech, and Change: Progressive Politics and Regressive Fantasies.” Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 24, 2, 105–117 (2019)

Bowker, M.H. “Camus and Psychoanalysis.” In P. Francev, G. Heffernan, M. Kaluza, and M. Sharpe (Eds.), Brill’s Companion to Camus: Camus Among the Philosophers (pp. 331–352). London: Brill (2019)

Bowker, M.H. “Analytic and Political Neutrality: Change, Privilege, and Responsibility.” Free Associations 71, 1–17 (2018)

Bowker, M.H. “Suicide-Terrorism, Todestriebe, and the Inner World.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum 23, 3, 238–244 (2017)

Bowker, M.H. “Review: America at War with Itself, by Henry A. Giroux.” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture 16, 2 (2017)

Bowker, M.H. “Safety in Danger and Privacy in Privation: Ambivalent Fantasies of Natural States Invoked in Reaction to Loss.” In M.H. Bowker and A. Buzby (Eds.), D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject (pp. 137–162). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan (2017)

Bowker, M.H. and A. Buzby. “Introduction: Recentering the Subject.” In M.H. Bowker and A. Buzby (Eds.), D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject (pp. 1–34). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan (2017).

Bowker, M.H. and K.P. Fazioli. “Rethinking Critical Thinking: A Relational and Practical Approach.” Pedagogy and the Human Sciences 6,1, 1–26 (2016)

Bowker, M.H. and D.P. Levine. “Beyond the Battlefield: ‘Moral Injury’ and Moral Defense in the Psychic Life of the Soldier, the Military, and the Nation.” Organisational and Social Dynamics 16, 2, 85–109 (2016)

Bowker, M.H. “Hikikomori as Disfigured Desire: Indulgence, Mystification, and Victimization in the Phenomenon of Extreme Social Isolation in Japan.” Journal of Psychosocial Studies 9, 1, 20–52 (2016)

Bowker, J.C., A.A. Ojo, and M.H. Bowker. “Brief Report: Perceptions of Social Withdrawal during Emerging Adulthood in Lagos, Nigeria.” Journal of Adolescence 47, 1–4 (2016)

Bowker, J.C., R. Adams, M.H. Bowker, C. Fisher, and S. Spencer. “Same- and Other-Sex Popularity and Preference During Adolescence.” Journal of Early Adolescence 36, 5, 704–722 (2015)

Bowker, M.H. “Narcissism, Experience, and Compliance in American Higher Education.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum 21, 4, 452–457 (2015)

Bowker, M.H. “Joke-Work, Melancholy Communion, and Wished-for Misrecognition in Le Malentendu and Camus’ Absurd Philosophy.” In B. Sleasman (Ed.), Creating Camus: Foundations and Explorations of his Philosophy of Communication (pp. 45–68). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield (2015)

Bowker, M.H. “Civilization Versus Civil Being: Some Ironies.” Clio’s Psyche: Psycho-History Forum 21, 3, 264–268 (2014)

Bowker, M.H. “Solitude, a View from Political Theory: Desire, Subjectivity, and Pseudo-Solitude.” In R. Coplan and J. Bowker (Eds.), The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone (pp. 539–556). London: Wiley-Blackwell (2014)

Bowker, M.H. “Meursault and Moral Freedom: The Stranger’s Unique Challenge to an Enlightenment Ideal.” In P. Francev (Ed.), Albert Camus's The Stranger: Critical Essays and Perspectives (pp. 204–223). Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars (2014)

Bowker, M.H. “Sisyphean (Out)rage and the Refusal to Mourn.” In E. Vanborre (Ed.) The Originality and Complexity of Albert Camus’ Writing (pp. 63–78). London: Palgrave Macmillan (2012)

Bowker, M.H. “Albert Camus’ Critical Reception: From Celebration to Controversy.” In S.G. Kellman (Ed.) Critical Insights on Albert Camus (pp. 82–98). Pasadena, CA: Salem Press (2012)

Bowker, M.H. “Defending the Ivory Tower: Toward Critical Community-Engagement.” Thought and Action: The NEA Higher Education Journal 28, 1, 106–117 (2012)

Bowker, M.H. “The Meaning of Absurd Protest: The Book of Job, Albert Camus, and C. Fred Alford’s After the Holocaust.” Journal of Psychosocial Studies 5, 1, 163–183 (2011)

Bowker, M.H. “What is the Participant’s Good?: A Neglected Ethical Question in Psychosocial Research.” Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society 16, 3, 324–33 (2011)

Bowker, M.H. “Understanding Camus’ Absurd as Ambivalence, and its Relevance for Existential and Psychodynamic Approaches.” Journal of Camus Studies 2, 1, 129–152 (2010)

Bowker, M.H. “Teaching Students to Ask Questions Instead of Answering Them.” Thought and Action: The NEA Higher Education Journal 26, 1, 127–134 (2010)