RLG419H1: Ghosts to Ancestors: Racialized Hauntings and Reparative Promise in Psychoanalysis


All forms of injustice disfigure both societies and psyches. Racist, sexist, and other unconscious fantasies of evil and persecuting ‘others’ generate social injustice. At the same time, social injustice distorts the mind. This “dual track” process can drive human beings and their societies mad. Justice depends upon transformations of social structures and moral codes as well as changes within human minds. In order for psychoanalysis to realize its own potential for facilitating justice, it must confront its own historical contribution to injustice. Through a close reading of selected texts from Sigmund Freud and the activist psychiatrist Franz Fanon, this course explores the inherent tensions between colonizing and emancipatory themes within psychoanalytic discourses. Both Freud and Fanon contribute to a psychoanalytic critical theory that have influenced several contemporary ethnographic writers who explore the intricate ways in which social and cultural realities are internalized as unconscious hauntings and tormenting spirits across generations.

Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)