Autumn Seminar 2016

Wednesday November 16th

Dr Andreja Zevnik, Lecturer in International Politics, University of Manchester
Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Location: G.16, Brooks Building, MMU

Post-racial society as social fantasy: Black American and the struggle for political recognition of race and resistance.

What drives this paper is the desire to understand the relationship between the contemporary black political activism and the illusion of the post-racial society. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory and the work done by scholars of critical race studies and political participation, I understand the discourse of post-racial as a social fantasy; a view which is arguably promoted and upheld by (white) liberals but the effects of which are negative and disproportionally experienced by black communities. Deploying Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to the socio-political situation of contemporary race relations in the US allows me to unpack and understand what drives the discourse of post-racism, how it effects lives of Black Americans, and shapes their political response. This paper opens with a discussion of post-racial society as a social fantasy before continuing with a psychoanalytic exploration of how fantasy determines the political subject and the effects the ‘falling of the fantasy’ has on subject’s behavior. Tying together Lacan’s ideas of the unconscious and social fantasy and coupling them with the concept of double consciousness’ advanced in Franz Fanon’s and particularly W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of race, I will show why ‘this moment’ for which it was thought it will appear as ‘racially appeasing’ turned out to be the exact opposite.

Short Biography
Andreja Zevnik is a Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester. Her research is inspired by psychoanalysis, continental philosophy and aesthetic politics and mainly focuses on the production of subjectivity in acts of resistance. Her most recent project examines how the experience of anxiety alters forms of political participation, produces different political/resisting subjectivities and moulds new political realities. She is particular interested in the varied struggled associated with the civil rights movement in the US and the BlackLivesMatter. She is a member of editorial board for the Journal of Narrative Politics. She recently published a monograph entitled Lacan, Deleuze and World Politics: re-thinking the ontology of the political subject (Routledge, 2016) and is a co-editor of Jacques Lacan Between Psychoanalysis and Politics (with Samo Tomsic; Routledge 2015), Lacan and Deleuze: a disjunctive synthesis (with Bostjan Nedoh, forthcoming Edinburgh University Press 2016) and Politics of Anxiety (with Emmy Eklundh and Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2016).