Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
University of Essex
Wednesday 12th May 2010
5.00pm – 6:30pm
Dr Julia Borossa
‘The Extensibility of Psychoanalysis: colonialism, post-colonialism and hospitality’
Dr Julia Borossa is Principal Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Psychoanalysis at Middlesex University. She has published widely on the history of the psychoanalytic movement and on the politics and cultures of psychoanalysis. Most recently, she has edited (with Ivan Ward), a special issue of the journal Psychoanalysis and History entitled Psychoanalysis, Fascism, Fundamentalism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh U.P. 2009).
Abstract: Using a theoretical framework informed by both post-colonial theory and psychoanalysis, this paper will attempt to partially address the question as to whether or not psychoanalysis is promoting a form of subjectivity that is in line with certain political formations, and whether this is linked to its theoretical foundations or to its institutions. In this respect, a central theme of the paper will be the vicissitudes of the deployment of psychoanalysis beyond a Western context by specifically asking who, and what, is marginalised within the movement and why. What are the limits of the hospitality and the extensibility of psychoanalysis?
To illustrate these concerns, the paper will turn to the figure of the psychoanalyst Masud Khan, who emigrated to London from the Indian subcontinent in 1946 and became an important albeit controversial figure within the British Psychoanalytic Society. Khan is the subject of two recent biographies, and a widely discussed memoir by a former patient, the Cambridge economist Wynn Godley. His life and transgressive career, as well as the stories generated about him within the context of British psychoanalytic culture, will be used to raise the question of psychoanalysis’ theoretical difficulties in containing racial and cultural otherness.