Psychoanalysis, African Americans and Inequality

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Special Issue of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society

The election and presidency of Barack Obama have urged reconceptualization of the social position held by African Americans in contemporary society. Debate and discussion abound in both scholarly and popular arenas as to whether the U.S. is finally moving toward a "post Racial" ideal or whether American society remains structured along lines largely demarcated by race. Legal scholar Michelle Alexander, for example, has highlighted in her bestselling book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" the discrepancy between a "Post Racial" ideal and the profoundly disturbing reality that the majority of young black men in major American cities are behind bars or labeled felons for life, trapped in a permanent second class status. The work of scholars like Alexander brings new focus to questions about the social and psychological realities impacting African Americans, productively organizing the discussion around issues of racial equality and justice in the U.S.

What contributions can psychoanalytic theorists and clinicians make to this discussion? Can psychoanalytic theories and practices help to bring to light the ways racial injustice and inequality are perpetuated in the U.S., or do they serve to maintain the status-quo? Or both?

We are interested in submissions for a special issue of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society that will explore issues of African American inequality from both theoretical and clinical perspectives. Possible areas of interest include: psychoanalytic perspectives on the criminalization of black men and/or women; embodiment, "colorblindness" and/or the "Post Racial" America; readings of racial trauma, healing, faith, fantasy and discourses of "hope"; application of clinical methods in African American contexts and communities, or in jails and prisons; denial in the psychoanalytic community; psychoanalytic perspectives on politics, public policy and/or economic realities.

For more information, or to submit manuscripts, please contact the special issue guest editors, Annie Stopford and Sheldon George, at Deadline for submission is August 31, 2013. Articles should not exceed 8,000 words in length, including references and, where they are used, endnotes. All articles will be subject to peer review.