• PhD, New York University
  • MSW, Columbia University School of Social Work

Areas of Expertise

  • Historical Research Methods
  • History of Urban Mental Heath
  • Postmodernism in Social Work

Courses Include

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Social Welfare Policy

Current Scholarship

Current Research

  • Transnational Influences on American Social Work Practice
    Based on archival sources, this is a historical study of Josef K. Friedjung (1871-1946), a child welfare theorist during Austria’s First Republic. His pioneering essays including “The Environment as a Cause of Disease in Children” (1921), “The Future of Child Poverty” (1926) and “The Question of Child Suicide” (1930), merged new clinical theory with social justice. Friedjung worked with many Viennese child specialists who, after forced emigration, profoundly influenced American child mental health.
  • The Social Construction of Race in Psychoanalysis
    This historical study explores the relationship between American psychoanalysis and the profession’s construction of race in the 1960s. Effectively ending over one hundred years of federal non-involvement in mental illness, John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Care Act in October 1963. Some psychoanalysts took to the CMHC movement, some not, while others had been working in community-based services like the Lafargue clinic in Harlem since the 1950s, To what extent did America’s historical tendency to merge social class and race influence these psychoanalysts, their theories, their formal associations like APSa, and “alternative” or “radical” groups of the 1960s?


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Elizabeth Danto

Elizabeth Danto, PhD



Phone: 212.396.7538

Room: 435