Taboo Subjects: Race, Sex, and Psychoanalysis

Author(s) : Gwen Bergner

Taboo Subjects: Race, Sex, and Psychoanalysis

Book Details

  • Publisher : University of Minnesota Press
  • Published : 2005
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 240
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 22452
  • ISBN 13 : 9780816640683
  • ISBN 10 : 0816640688
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Interrogates the intersection of gender and racial subjectivity in American culture. In American literature, a traumatic scene of racial and sexual awakeningfrequently involving photographs, mirrors, or acts of witnessingoften precipitates a characters discovery of racial identity. Similarly, in the annals of psychoanalysis, notions of self and sexual identity often arise from visual trauma such as the mirror stage and primal scene. Noting this parallel between specular births of racial and sexual subjectivity, Gwen Bergner uses a comparative analysis of psychoanalytic theory and American literature to develop a theory of racializationthe process through which individuals assume an identity as black or white.

Examining the primal scenes of double consciousness in works by Frederick Douglass, William Faulkner, and Toni Morrison, among others, alongside the formative visual traumas of psychoanalytic theory of Lacan and Freud, Taboo Subjects reveals how literature disrupts psychoanalysiss conventional models of race and gender identification, forcing a reconfiguration of many foundational psychoanalytic texts. And from psychoanalysis Bergner derives a critical vocabulary for theorizing racialization as it intersects with sex and gender, for both black and white Americans.

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