The Dream Journal
The Dream Journal
Metaphors in American Dreaming with Jeannette Mageo

Metaphors and the Self in a Zombie Pandemic Dream. We talk with Professor Jeannette Mageo, PhD about her lifelong work and many books on dreams and also about her upcoming keynote presentation at the IASD conference in Tucson in July. Jeannette lived in Santa Cruz for years getting her PhD in the UCSC history of consciousness department and has a fond spot in her heart for the town. We discussed the idea that Jung’s views, though typical for the time, would currently be described as racist.

As part of her position with Washington State University, she has an extensive dream collection and describes the three typical kinds of dream metaphors that she finds: sensory, cultural and personal. Typical American metaphors include the American dream model for achieving success and the pin-up model of feminine sexuality. We talk about how doing our inner work contributes to cultural evolution and how nightmares are usually about threats to our identity.

We take a call from Skyler in Pullman WA who shares with us some of her research into how dreams changed pre-pandemic to during the pandemic.

BIO: Jeannette Mageo is Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University.  Her work focuses on dreaming and the self, on child development, and on how subjectivity, identity, and emotion evolve out of cultural and historical experiences. Her manifold writings on dreams show that cultural models tie the most profound aspects of subjectivity to politics and public culture, inscribing relations of privileging and marginalization within the self that generate anxiety and resistances registered and negotiated in the imaginary realm. Professor Mageo has published 11 books with major academic presses, including 4 on dreams.

Find her here:

Her books include:

Jeannette Mageo. 2022. The Mimetic Nature of Dream Mentation: American Selves in Re-formation. Palgrave Macmillan.

Jeannette Mageo and Robin Sheriff (eds.). 2021. New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming. New York: Routledge.

Jeannette Mageo. 2016. Dreaming Culture: Meanings, Models, and Power in U.S. American Dreams. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, paperback edition.

Jeannette Mageo (ed.). 2003. Dreaming and the Self: New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion. State University of New York Press.

Join us at the 2022 IN PERSON dream conference in Tucson July 17-21. Register and learn more at

We play clips from the following two guest-selected songs:

Outro music is Everything by Mood Science. Ambient music created by Rick Kleffel new every week. (The audio can be found sprinkled throughout the blog at Many thanks to Rick Kleffel for also engineering the show, to Tony Russomano for answering the phones and to Ewa Malady for audio editing.

Show aired on May 21, 2022.


The Dream Journal is produced at and airs on KSQD Santa Cruz, 90.7 FM, streaming live at 10-11am Saturday mornings Pacific time.  Catch it live and call in with your dreams or questions at 831-900-5773 or at

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