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David Eng: Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation – On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans
October 15, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Humanities 1, Room 202
Please join David L. Eng for a discussion of his new book, Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans (Duke University Press, 2019), co-authored with Shinhee Han. The book draws on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought and clinical practice, Eng and Han develop the concepts of racial melancholia and racial dissociation to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. These case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans deal with a range of difficulties, from depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out to broader issues of the model minority stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the United States, and the rise of Asia under globalization. Throughout, Eng and Han link psychoanalysis to larger structural and historical phenomena, illuminating how the study of psychic processes of individuals can inform investigations of race, sexuality, and immigration while creating a more sustained conversation about the social lives of Asian Americans and Asians in the diaspora.
David L. Eng is Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Professor in the Program in Asian American Studies, the Program in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory, and the Program in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. After receiving his B.A. in English from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley, he taught at Columbia and Rutgers before joining Penn in 2007. Eng has held visiting professorships at the University of Bergen (Norway), King’s College London, Harvard University, and the University of Hong Kong. He is the recipient of research fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and the Mellon Foundation, among others. In 2016, Eng was elected an honorary member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) in New York City. His areas of specialization include American literature, Asian American studies, Asian diaspora, critical race theory, psychoanalysis, queer studies, gender studies, and visual culture.
Eng is author with Shinhee Han of Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans (Duke, 2019), The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy (Duke, 2010), and Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America (Duke, 2001). He is co-editor with David Kazanjian of Loss: The Politics of Mourning (California, 2003) and with Alice Y. Hom of Q & A: Queer in Asian America (Temple, 1998, winner of a Lambda Literary Award and Association of Asian American Studies Book Award). In addition, he is co-editor of two special issues of the journal Social Text: with Teemu Ruskola and Shuang Shen, “China and the Human” (2011/2012), and with Jack Halberstam and José Esteban Muñoz, “What’s Queer about Queer Studies Now?” (2005).
Currently, he is co-editing with Jasbir Puar a third special issue of Social Text, “Left of Queer” as well as completing a monograph, “Reparations and the Human,” which investigates the relationship between political and psychic genealogies of reparation in Cold War Asia.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Cultural Studies, Literature, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, History of Consciousness, and Feminist Studies departments.