PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS
Introduction: Lacanian Praxis and Social Intervention
Jacques Lacan’s pronouncement that psychoanalysis is a praxis extends the relevance of psychoanalytic thinking and practice far beyond the confines of the clinic into the realm of the political. This introduction to the special issue on “Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions into Culture and Politics” highlights a series of crucial Lacanian concepts and interventions within the political. Key concepts for a Lacanian social and political theory touched upon here include the notions of the act; the gaze; the lamella; jouissance; object petit a; and the sinthome. Crucial domains of political struggle and intervention addressed include the areas of race and racism (inclusive of questions of African American history and identity); the Trans movement; the ongoing political relevance of Frantz Fanon; and the re-conceptualization of post-traumatic forms of political subjectivity.
"Introduction: Lacanian Praxis and Social Intervention." Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. Special Issue on "Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions in Culture and Politics." Edited by Sheldon George and Derek Hook. Sept. 2018, Vol. 23, Issue 3, p235-243.
Jouissance and Discontent: A Meeting of Race, Psychoanalysis and American Slavery
This article reads American slavery as an early manifestation of the instinctive drive toward pleasure and aggression that Freud recognizes in subjects after the First World War. It ties slavery to production of race as an abiding apparatus of jouissance, or a tool for accessing denied psychic pleasure. Where Freud links denial of pleasure to restraints set in place by civilization, the transgressive excesses of slavery not only unveil a Lacanian understanding of the subject’s psyche as rooted fundamentally in lack, but also display the fantasies through which subjects mask this psychic reality. Moving through an analysis of the relation of lack to slave masters and their slaves, the article turns to the anthropological and literary works of Zora Neale Hurston to describe religion and race as mechanisms through which African Americans contend against social unveilings of psychic lack. It demonstrates that, from slavery on through our contemporary times, race maintains itself as an apparatus for mediating the unbearable relation to lack that plagues not just African Americans, but also each Lacanian subject of our post-slavery America.
"Jouissance and Discontent: A Meeting of Race, Psychoanalysis and American Slavery." Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. Special Issue on "Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions in Culture and Politics." Edited by Sheldon George and Derek Hook. Sept. 2018, Vol. 23, Issue 3, p.267-289.
Reprinted in: Race, Rage, and Resistance: Philosophy, Psychology and the Perils of Individualism. Edited by David M. Goodman, Eric Severson and Heather Macdonald. Routledge Press, 2019.
The Deontology of a Political Psychoanalysis: An Interview With Patricia Gherovici
Patricia Gherovici’s groundbreaking work in Lacanian psychoanalysis brings unique focus to both clinical psychology and today’s socio-political reality. In this interview, we ask Dr Gherovici to reflect on how Lacanian theory can be applied to the political issues of today. Our discussion takes place months after the Trump election and addresses such matters as unconscious choice in gender selection; rising levels of anxiety in non-cis identified analysands over Trump’s presidency; the subversive potential of the unconscious; the efficacy of grounding ethics on comedy; and employing Jacques Lacan’s notion of the sinthome to depathologize psychosis and transgender identity. Dr. Gherovici finds in her analysands a window through which to witness the impact of our social reality upon our psychic selves; and she argues for a psychoanalytic praxis that not only marries the political to the clinical, but also bases its ethics upon recognition of the singularity of the subject. In particular, she points to the subject’s individual sinthome as charting a creative response to the dire realities we each confront.
"The Deontology of a Political Psychoanalysis: An Interview With Patricia Gherovici." Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society. Co-interviewer with Derek Hook. Special Issue on "Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions in Culture and Politics." Sept. 2018, Vol. 23, Issue 3, p.350-359.
Introduction: Narrative Theory and Contemporary Black Women Writers
"Introduction: Narrative Theory and Contemporary Black Women Writers." Reading Contemporary African American and Black British Women Writers: Narrative, Race, Ethics. Coauthored with Jean Wyatt. Routledge Press, 2020.
Narrating the Raced Subject: Toni Morrison's Jazz and the Literature of Modernism
This chapter analyzes the ethical impact of narration in Toni Morrison’s Jazz upon readers’ understandings of racial subjectivity. Applying New Critical readings of literary allusions and Reader Response insights into the function of texts upon audiences, it views Morrison as critiquing the Modernist literary canon for its inadequate representation of complex racialized subjects.
Jazz’s narrator echoes the isolationist approach of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and the Modernist racial perspectives of William Faulkner’s Light in August and Sound and the Fury to adumbrate perspectival limitations of this cannon. Embodying the canon as a wounded amputee in the figure of Golden Gray, the novel employs the narrator’s shifting perspective on race to expand canonical understandings of racial subjectivity.
Jazz ultimately achieves a radical reimagining of both the canon and Western culture by allusively rooting them in a foreclosed racial hybridity. It traces this hybridity through characters’ longings for primogenitive maternal figures, represented by Wild and Thunder, Perfect Mind. While the novel finally ties Western culture to a primogenitive Afro-Asiatic Egyptian past, the musical form of jazz embodies a sensibility divergent from that expressed in the Modernist present. Through the music, Jazz facilitates canonical revision, supplying a model for improvisational, responsive reading practices that are essential to an ethics of race.
"Narrating the Raced Subject: Toni Morrison's Jazz and the Literature of Modernism." Reading Contemporary African American and Black British Women Writers: Narrative, Race, Ethics. Ed by Jean Wyatt and Sheldon George. Routledge Press, 2020.
The Body that Race Built: Shame, Trauma and Lack in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and God Help the Child
"The Body that Race Built: Shame, Trauma and Lack in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and God Help the Child." Shame and Modern Writing. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature series. Ed. Barry Sheils and Julie Walsh. Routledge UP, 2018.
From Alienation to Cynicism: Race and the Lacanian Unconscious
Positing race as the Lacanian object a that binds the subject to a fantasy-self alienated from its subjective drives, this article presents the traversal of race as an ethical responsibility, made increasingly achievable by the recent public focus on repeated incidents of deadly violence against African American men.
"From Alienation to Cynicism: Race and the Lacanian Unconscious." Special issue of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society on "Psychoanalysis, African Americans and Inequality." Dec 2014, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p360-378.
Introduction to Special Issue on Psychoanalysis, African Americans and Inequality
Racial discrimination in the United States, particularly as it impacts the lives of African Americans, continues to be the subject of heated popular and scholarly discussion and debate. In this special issue we showcase the ways in which clinicians and scholars creatively employ diverse forms of psychoanalytic theory and practice to illuminate racial injustice and inequality, and to heal and go beyond the trauma of racial injury.
"Introduction to Special Issue on Psychoanalysis, African Americans and Inequality." Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. Ed. Annie Stopford and Sheldon George. Dec 2014, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p333-336.
Approaching the Thing of Slavery: A Lacanian Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved
"Approaching the Thing of Slavery: A Lacanian Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved." African American Review 45.1-2 (Spring/Summer 2012): 115-130.
The Performed Self in College Writing: From Personal Narratives to Argumentative and Research Essays
This article describes how contemporary psychoanalytic and poststructuralist theories inform my teaching of writing. It suggests that the psychological and academic challenges confronting freshmen recently placed in a new social/academic environment may be abated by a pedagogy that highlights a poststructuralist understanding of identity as multiple and performative.
"The Performed Self in College Writing: From Personal Narratives to Argumentative and Research Essays." Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture 12.2 (Spring 2012): 319-341.
Realism's Racial Gaze and Stephen Crane's "The Monster": A Lacanian Reading
The article presents Stephen Crane’s "The Monster" as a realist text that conveys the inability of American society in the 1890s to define itself through use of stereotyped knowledge of racial others. It reads the character Henry Johnson, a black man whose face is “burned away” in a house-fire, leaving behind only a single winking eye, as a literary embodiment of the all-seeing Lacanian gaze that, through the returned look of the racial other, confronts realist America with its own lack. Henry destabilises fantasies of an insular white identity through his performative mimicry of white dress and mannerism. He allows the text to present race as grounded only in performance and a discourse of white superiority. "The Monster" refutes this discourse, suggesting it is sanction for a brutal monstrosity at the heart of America, one that the returned gaze of the scrutinising racial other now witnesses through the spectacle of America’s racist and imperialistic practices.
"Realism's Racial Gaze and Stephen Crane's 'The Monster': A Lacanian Reading." Experiments in/of Realism: Spec. issue of Synthesis 3 (Winter 2011): 69-86.