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This special edition of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies is based on 2019 Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society (APCS) conference presentations on the theme of displacement. Having listened to the presentations, I offer this paper as my own response to similar issues of mother–daughter displacement. Inspired by the panel’s analysis of the maternal in interpersonal relations and professional affinities, I begin by exploring my intersectional adult identities of daughter, mother and teacher to expose my ambivalence towards my career in literature and psychoanalysis. I continue by applying psychoanalytic theory to the pedagogical transference in my classroom space and uncover my own misguided attempt at maternal separation. Drawing correlations with Maggie Nelson’s () The Argonauts, I conclude by contemplating autotheory as a space of self-writing that is particularly suitable for explorations of the maternal in both form and content. Autotheory, I argue, as exemplified in the panel and my response, extends the impossibility of mother–daughter separation into a meaningful shared plurality.

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