The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief

ISBN13: 9780195151626
Release Date: December 20th 2001
Published by: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages: 271

In this groundbreaking, interdisciplinary study Anne Anlin Cheng argues that we have to understand racial grief not only as the result of racism but also as a foundation for racial identity. The Melancholy of Race proposes that racial identification is itself already a melancholic act--a social category that is imaginatively supported through a dynamic of loss and compensation, by which the racial other is at once rejected and retained. Using psychoanalytic theories on mourning and melancholia as inroads into her subject, Cheng offers a closely observed and carefully reasoned account of the minority experience as expressed in works of art by, and about, Asian-Americans and African-Americans. She argues that the racial minority and dominant American culture both suffer from racial melancholia and that this insight is crucial to a productive reimagining of progressive politics. Her discussion ranges from "Flower Drum Song" to "M. Butterfly," Brown v. Board of Education to Anna Deavere Smith's "Twilight," and Invisible Man to The Woman Warrior, in the process demonstrating that racial melancholia permeates our fantasies of citizenship, assimilation, and social health. Her investigations reveal the common interests that social, legal, and literary histories of race have always shared with psychoanalysis, and situates Asian-American and African-American identities in relation to one another within the larger process of American racialization. A provocative look at a timely subject, this study is essential reading for anyone interested in race studies, critical theory, or psychoanalysis.

More work like this

The 'African' in African American Religion
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
The Crisis of the Imagination and the Persistence of the Value Gap
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
A Reading of Democracy in Black at Princeton
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Michelle Alexander in Conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Michelle Alexander

Upcoming Events

Bobby McFerrin, "CIRCLESONGS"
Sep 21, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
Domestic Violence: The Limits and Possibilities of a Concept
Oct 4, 2018 - Oct 5, 2018
i am my ancestors’ wildest dreams: contemporary cultures of black impossibility
Oct 18, 2018 - Oct 20, 2018
Amanda Seales Performs
Oct 19, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Nov 28, 2018 @ 6:00 pm