Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties

By Boschma, Geertje; Vandenberg, Helen | Nursing History Review, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties


Boschma, Geertje, Vandenberg, Helen, Nursing History Review


Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties Edited by Warwick Anderson, Deborah Jenson, and Richard C. Keller (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011) (328 pages, $89.95 cloth; $24.96 paper)

The edited collection Unconscious Dominions provides a fascinating and sophisticated history of psychoanalysis, exploring the intersections between culture, history, colonialism, and psychoanalysis based on research in West Africa, Australia, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Haiti, Algeria, and France. It analyzes the ways in which psychoanalysis, as it arose as one of the most influential and dominant psychiatric and psychological theories in the 1920s and 1930s, served to legitimize the imperialist colonial project, depicting the human subject and culture of the colonized world as more primitive and shaping western ideas about the colonial world and native cultures. Moreover, the authors examine the powerful global impact of the central psychoanalytic construct of the human subject as existing of an ego, super-ego, and unconscious id. They demonstrate how these psychoanalytic constructs shaped and globalized the (self) understanding of (all) human subjects in the colonizing and colonized world alike, while eventually serving to articulate the nature of postcolonial trauma.

The first portion of the book examines how psychoanalysis was popularized and adapted as a legitimate field of research and practice in the various colonized domains and countries. The authors demonstrate how Freud's psychoanalytic conceptualization of human subjectivity was globalized and in the process enriched through integration of new concepts drawn from reflection on the newly explored cultures and human experience. For example, in Chapter 4, Christiane Hartnack analyzes the work of the affluent Indian citizen and psychoanalyst Girindrasekhar Bose (1887-1953) whose work and leadership was instrumental in establishing the Indian Psychoanalytical Society in Calcutta in 1922. Bose was not only a prolific author of psychoanalytic scholarship, but also enriched and in a sense critiqued Freud's psychoanalytic theory by exploring the value of, for example, the concept of wishes as a potential expansion of the psychoanalytic notion of drives.

Furthermore, in the first part of the book, John Cash analyzes Freud's case study of the Rat Man, exploring the inherent conflict and relationship between civilizing processes and postcolonialism. Alice Bullard examines the work of psychoanalyst Henri Aubin, who not only theorized ideas of primitivity, but also integrated insights on magic, mana, and denial drawn from African cultural practices and working with African patients into psychoanalytic theory. Joy Damousi explores the psychoanalytic anthropology of Géza Róheim on Australian Aboriginal people, whereas Mariano Ben Plotkin examines the reception of psychoanalysis in Brazil and the way it shaped racial relations and national identity.

In the second half of the book, the authors examine the central role of psychoanalysis in the articulation of a postcolonial critique and deconstruction of dominant Western understandings of human subjectivity, particularly after 1945. They examine several colonial histories to demonstrate the usefulness of psychoanalysis for postcolonial critique. For example, Hans Pols analyzes the psychoanalytic interpretation of the Indonesian struggle for independence by psychiatrist Pieter Mattheus van Wulfften Palthe, a medical faculty associate in Batavia (now Jakarta) before the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.