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Author Talk: Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation in NYC

  • 07 May 2019
  • Asian American Writers' Workshop 112 W 27th St Ste 600, New York, NY 10001

Author Talk: Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM

Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27th St Ste 600, New York, New York 10001

Hosted by Asian American Writers' Workshop

Academic David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han first met in the mid-1990s when they were brought together by their collective sorrow by a spate of student suicides at Columbia University. Don’t miss this special discussion of their new book, Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation (Duke University Press 2019), which explores the psychic trauma of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y who they associate respectively with melancholia and dissociation. Through critical race theory and psychoanalytic theory, Eng and Han explore the loss of migration, displacement, and assimilation, as well as Asian American tropes such as coming out, transnational adoption, and model minority stereotypes.

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In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation critic David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han draw 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, they 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. As Columbia University Professor Mae Ngai writes: “A most illuminating and productive dialogue about the dark side of the model minority stereotype, where theory meets practice, the social meets the personal, and the material meets the psychic. David L. Eng and Shinhee Han have given us new ways to think about the problems facing Asian American students, including their disturbing rate of suicide on college campuses.”

This event will be livestreamed on the Asian American Writers’ Facebook page.

 


David L. Eng is Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy and Racial Castration: Managing Masculinity in Asian America as well as co-editor of Loss: The Politics of Mourning and Q & A: Queer in Asian America. Eng is an honorary member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) in New York City.


Shinhee Han, PhD, is a psychotherapist at the New School as well as in private practice in New York City. In addition, she is an adjunct professor in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on Asian Americans, race, and psychoanalysis. Dr. Han is a founding member of the Asian Women Giving Circle, a philanthropic organization in New York City that funds Asian of women artists creating social activism and change. Previously, she worked in counseling and psychological services at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Barnard College, and Columbia University. Born in Seoul, Korea, she immigrated to Minnesota with her family at age 13.

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