The Annual James Hillman Symposium

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“It is not the literal return to alchemy that is necessary but a restoration of the alchemical mode of imagining. For in that mode we restore matter to our speech – and that is our aim: the restoration of imaginative matter, not of literal alchemy.”
—James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology


About James Hillman

Founding Fellow James Hillman was instrumental in the creation of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, which still resonates with his influence. Hillman’s contributions to the humanities were many and profound, none more remarkable than his formulation of Archetypal Psychology, which he named in 1970 and focused his work upon until his death in 2011. To honor Hillman, the Institute initiated in 2012 this annual program aimed at exploring the rich depths of his lifelong study of—in his own words, a “psychology deliberately affiliated with the arts, culture, and the history of ideas, arising as they do from the imagination.”

Hillman studied with the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1950s and later became the first director of studies at the Jung Institute in Zurich. After returning to the United States in 1980, he taught at Yale, Syracuse, and the universities of Chicago and Dallas. He also became editor of Spring Publications, a small Texas press devoted to the work of contemporary psychologists. Hillman authored some twenty books of his own.

In spite of these achievements, Hillman was hardly an establishment figure in the world of psychology. If anything, he was looked upon by many in the profession as a profoundly subversive thinker, a thorn in the side of respectable psychologists.

As the founder of archetypal psychology—a school of thought aimed at “re-visioning” or “reimagining” psychology—Hillman argued that the therapy business needs to evolve beyond reductionist “nature” and “nurture” theories of human development.

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Past symposia

Founding Fellow James Hillman was instrumental in the creation of the Dallas Institute, which still resonates with his influence. Hillman’s contributions to culture were many and profound, none more remarkable than his formulation of Archetypal Psychology, which he named in 1970 and focused his work upon until his death in 2011. To honor and continue to learn from Hillman, the Institute initiated in 2012 this annual program aimed at exploring the rich depths of his lifelong study—in his own words, a “psychology deliberately affiliated with the arts, culture, and the history of ideas, arising as they do from the imagination.”

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