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MIN5080 - Race, Self & Social Conflict

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts


Caulfield First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will analyse psychoanalysis' excision of race from itself, using its own terms to do so. Following an exploration of the historical context current at the time of psychoanalysis' inception, its 'racial blindness', as symptom, will be explored through the tropes of e.g. melancholia, the fetish, resistance and projection (Gilman, Fanon, Rustin). Similarly racism as an individual and social phenomenon will be understood using these same tropes (Eng, Han, Segal, Straker, Rutherford). The clinical implications of the covering over of race in psychoanalysis will be explored (Dimen Kimberley, Suchet).


Upon successful completion of the course candidates will have understood psychoanalysis' relationship to race in the context of late 19th century Austro-German culture. They will have come to grips with fundamental psychoanalytic concepts like repression, splitting, disavowal and, projection and learned to apply them to psychoanalysis itself as well as to use them to analyse how racism might articulate itself in other social contexts. They will have understood the construction and manifestations of racism within individuals and will have understood the implications of this for clinical practice, as such racism infiltrates transference and counter transference, as these are co-constructed in the psychoanalytic space. Thus the candidates will have come to a comprehension of the power of the unconscious forces that construct racism even within psychoanalysis itself and how this acts to sustain racism at a social and individual level. They will have an understanding that racism is as ubiquitous as the unconscious, our rational intentions not withstanding, and will have come to appreciate its manifestations in intimate private and public spaces.

Students will be capable of informed discussion in regard to the above, the application of psychoanalytic concepts to an understanding of racism and will have the capacity to both research these areas and present their findings and ideas in class papers and class discussion and in a written exam.


Class paper (2,500 words): 25%;
Class paper (3,500 words): 40%;
Exam (2,000 words): 25%;
Class participation (1000 words): 10%

Contact hours

4 six hour workshops