I am indebted to many for the help they gave as I was writing this book. I would like to thank the University of California for providing an intellectual home for this project and for the series of grants that enabled me to finish this book, including fellowships at the Townsend Center for the Humanities and the Center for the Teaching and Study of American Cultures.My work on the concept of racial melancholia has been refined through exchanges with colleagues and students at the Legacies of Freud Conference sponsored by the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the Race and Psychoanalysis Forum at the Modern Language Association, the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, and the Object Relations Study Group sponsored by the Townsend Center.Excerpts from earlier versions of this book have previously appeared in The Kenyon Review, MELUS, and the volume Multiculturalism and Representation.
My archival research owes a great deal to the expertise of Corliss Lee and Oliver Heyer at the UC Berkeley Library, Stephanie Cannizzo at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, and Barbara Hall and Faye Thompson at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.I also thank Kathleen Croghan, Becky Hsu, Shawna Ryan, and Catherine Sprechter for their invaluable research assistance and their friendships.
At various stages of writing this book, I have relied on the wisdom and kindness of several individuals. Conversations with Leo Bersani, Gregory Blatman, Judith Butler, Ron Choy, Troy Duster, Emory Elliot, Jason Friedman, Catherine Gallagher, Stephen Greenblatt, Saidiya Hartman, Lewis Hyde, Shannon Jackson, Arlene Keizer, Valentina Vavasis, Bill Worthen, and the late William Nestrick have fueled my thinking as well as my imagination.The comments of Ann Banfield, Mitchell Breitwieser, Lee Edelman, and Natalie Melas were crucial in helping me formulate several important revisions.I am especially thankful for the attentive re-readings and steady