Library Talk: Racism and Psychoanalysis

Dr. Leon Brenner is joined by Dr. Derek Hook and Dr. Sheldon George as well as Dr. Todd McGowan, Dr. Hilary Neroni and Dr. Gautam Basu Thakur to discuss racism and psychoanalysis

In a newly published edited volume Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity, and Psychoanalytic Theory, a variety of psychoanalytic theorists examine the conscious and unconscious forces underlying race as a social formation, conceptualizing race, racial identity, and racism in ways that go beyond traditional modes of psychoanalytic thought.

Featuring contributions by scholars from diverse geographical and disciplinary contexts, the chapters of this volume span a wide breadth of topics, including white nationalism and contemporary debates over confederate monuments; emergent theories of race rooted in Afropessimism and postcolonialism; analyses of racism in apartheid and American slavery; clinical reflections on Latinx and other racialized patients; and applications of Lacan’s concepts of the lamella, drive and sexuation to processes of racialization.

In this episode of the IPU Library talk, Dr. Leon Brenner will interview the editors of the book Dr. Derek Hook and Dr. Sheldon George as well as contributors Dr. Todd McGowan, Dr. Hilary Neroni and Dr. Gautam Basu Thakur. This episode is a guaranteed treat for those interested in psychoanalytic theory and contemporary theories of race, appealing to listeners across the fields of psychology, cultural studies, humanities, politics, and sociology.

The discussion will take place on Zoom on 14 October at 8 pm. Please register using the form below. You will receive the Zoom link afterwards.

Students and lecturers of the IPU are invited to participate and can also submit questions in advance: leon(at) Other interested guests are welcome to join as well.

Hilary Neroni is professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Vermont. She is the author of Feminist Film Theory and Cléo from 5 to 7 (2016), The Subject of Torture (2015), and The Violent Woman(2005), and has also published numerous essays on culture, media, and psychoanalysis.

Gautam Basu Thakur is associate professor of English and director of the Critical Theory Minor at Bois State University. He is author of Postcolonial Theory and Avatar (Bloomsbury 2015) and Postcolonial Lack: Identity, Culture, Surplus (SUNY 2020) and co-editor of Lacan and Nonhuman  (2018) and Reading Lacan's Seminar VII: Transference (2020), both from the Palgrave Lacan Series.

Sheldon George is professor and chair of English at Simmons University, Boston, Massachusetts. Prior publications intersecting Lacan and race include two coedited special issues of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society: "African Americans and Inequality" (Dec. 2014) and "Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Interventions into Culture and Politics" (Sept. 2018). George is coeditor of Reading Contemporary African American and Black British Women Writers: Race, Ethics, Narrative Form (Routledge 2020) and author of Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity (Baylor UP 2016).

Derek Hook is an associate professor of Psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and an extraordinary professor of Psychology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Before joining the faculty at Duquesne University he taught at the London School of Economics and the University of London. He is the author of Six Moments in Lacan (2017, Routledge) and A Critical Psychology of the Postcolonial (2011, Routledge), in addition to being–alongside Calum Neill–a coeditor of the Lacan Palgrave Series. He is also (with Stijn Vanheule and Calum Neill) one of three editors on the landmark 'Reading Lacan's Ecrits' series. In addition to his scholarly work, he serves as a clinical supervisor.

Todd McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Universality and Identity Politics, Only a Joke an Save UsEmancipation After Hegel, and other works. He edits the Film Theory in Practice series from Bloomsbury and is coeditor (with Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston) of the Diaeresis series at Northwestern University Press. 

Dr. Leon S. Brenner is a research fellow at the International Psychoanalytic University Berlin and Ruhr-University Bochum. His work focuses on subjectivity theory and the understanding of the relationship between culture and psychopathology. His book The Autistic Subject: On the Threshold of Language was published with the Palgrave Lacan Series in 2020. Among his extensive international academic speaking and various publications, Brenner has made numerous appearances in interviews and video publications online and is a founder of Lacanian Affinities Berlin and Unconscious Berlin.