chapter  21
12 Pages

Psychoanalysis and Race

WithKelly Oliver

Frantz Fanon use of psychoanalysis has been central to contemporary race theorists who employ psychoanalytic theory. Following Fanon, there are three approaches to psychoanalysis and race: taking psychoanalytic concepts and applying them to race; using analysis of race to challenge psychoanalytic concepts; and transforming psychoanalytic concepts through an engagement with race. Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks analyze racialized images in popular culture and film using Lacanian psychoanalysis. She shows how the concept of race is tied to a notion of whiteness such that all human beings are divided into groups in relationship to the category of whiteness. Like Seshadri-Crooks and others, Rey Chow provocatively uses Lacanian concepts to analyze various kinds of cultural productions including film and literature. She argues that psychoanalysis is necessary to understand the motivations for identity politics. Psychoanalysis provides a theoretical framework for diagnosing ambivalence inherent in both identity and desire.