23 May 2023
Race, Power, and the Psyche
Violence at the Corridors of Psychoanalysis
By Selamawit D. Terrefe
Black death remains a lateral exigency in its most capricious and predictable disclosures: policing and punishment. Neither loss of the mythical subject nor the seemingly prosaic matrix of race and power account for the mundanity of antiblack violence. A requisite, spectacularized initiation where psycho-politics indexes the symbolic’s presumed usurpation of the real, Blackness appears as a prohibition to any affirmative claim of a right to life. The intimacy of this carceral abyss sediments as psyche wherein jouissance, in relation to pleasure and policing, functions as predictive rather than simply a posteriori. Foundational to myriad forms of law rendering notions of guilt as gratuitous and irrelevant, the danger of the metonymic traversing of algorithms, codes, data systems, and languages into the accoutrements of contemporary policing cement the constructed Black body from a mythic revisionist past into metaphysical reality. Specifically, conditioning to antiblack violence, in and through various modes of jouissance, inflects strategies that the clinical and political spheres deem liberatory. Reading the development of Lacan, and Jacques-Alain Miller’s, paradigms of jouissance with one of the newest policing technologies developed as a counterinsurgency and disciplining apparatus, predictive policing, race, and (anti)blackness in particular, are rendered as modes of divination.
Selamawit D. Terrefe specializes in Global Black Studies, Critical Theory, psycho-politics, and violence as an Assistant Professor of African American Literature and Culture in the Department of English at Tulane University and as the 2022-2024 Williams College Faculty Fellow for the Mellon ‘Just Futures’ project. Previously, Terrefe was a postdoctoral fellow in Black Atlantic Studies at the University of Bremen, and has presented internationally at workshops such as the Tate Modern in London and the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen. She is currently completing her manuscript, Impossible Blackness: Violence and the Psychic Life of Slavery, and has publications in The Feminist Wire, Theory and Event, Rhizomes, Critical Philosophy of Race, Psychoanalysis and History, and forthcoming in Political Theology, Philosophy Today, Society and Space, and for the Palgrave Lacan volume, Afropessimism, Antiblackness, and Lacan.
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The lecture series is a cooperation of the Berlin Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (BiPP), the Cultural Science Institute of the Humboldt University Berlin, the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU), and the ICI Berlin, funded by Friedrich Stiftung Hanover.
Video in English
First published on: https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/selamawit-d-terrefe/
Rights: © ICI Berlin