Extimité: On Žižek and Race

Call for Papers – Special issue of International Journal of Žižek Studies  http://zizekstudies.org/

Guest Editors: Ashwani Sharma (ash.disorient@gmail.com) and Valerie Hill (v.hill@coventry.ac.uk)

The notion of race is routinely invoked in contemporary academia while at the same time its analysis is dissipated across a range of disciplines and topics so that it seems it has either no critical coherency or else its orthodoxy is assumed such that the racial reading is always already predictable in advance. This creates the paradoxical situation whereby racism in its numerous and mutating modalities is rampant globally, yet the concept of race or racism is hardly examined directly at all. Identity, culture, ethnicity, difference, diaspora, multicultural are the metonymic chain of equivalences that arguably invite a post-racial, post-political understanding of racism, with the possible effect of leaving racisms to operate in new configurations, even in the guise of anti-racism. Does the work of Slavoj Žižek offer a cogent and sustained theoretical and political intervention beyond this impasse?

A striking aspect of Žižek’s output has been his consistent interrogation of various forms of racism, nationalism and anti-Semitism. So far there been little direct commentary on this aspect of his work in the ever growing body of secondary literature. This special issue of the on-line International Journal of Žižek Studies (http://zizekstudies.org/) will examine the critique of racism across Žižek’s corpus addressing to what extent Žižek offers a distinctive understanding of the workings of race that is essential to the contemporary geo-political context, and the ways his approach can be further mobilised in political analysis of race and culture now. In particular, this issue invites papers examining Žižek’s analysis of racism and nationalism through Lacanian psychoanalysis, dialectical and ideological critique; the critique of multiculturalism, cultural studies and neo-liberal capitalism; and his commitment to a praxis of universalism.

Possible topics include: racism as ideological fantasy and enjoyment; the relationships between contemporary anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and ethnic nationalism; critique of (de)constructive identity, discourse and cultural race politics; commodity culture and the politics of difference; the articulation between capitalism, race and class; the politics of anti-racism and Marxism; Hegel, Freud and Lacan as post/anti-colonial theorists; Fanon and Lacan; sexual difference and race; multicultural and anti-racist racism; crisis of representation and the dialectics of the racial Real; film and multiculture; the racial gaze and fetishism; subjectivity and otherness; colonialism, radical democracy, multiculturalism and the state; decolonialisation and psychoanalysis; critical race theory and psychoanalysis; materialism and race theory; Eastern Europe as Other; Jewish identity and Palestinian politics; Christianity, Islam and Buddhism as theological politics; Žižek and Badiou’s critique of hybridity, difference and the Other; Orientalism now; the Real of whiteness; the racial sublime; 9/11, violence and the war on terror; anti-racism and psychoanalysis; remembering slavery and literature; comedy and race; eurocentrism and anti-imperialism; postcolonial melancholia; Mao, Marxism and postcolonial theory; Asian racism; cyberspace and identity; genetics and new scientific racism; skin, body and identity; popular culture, postmodernism and multiculture.

Abstracts (500 words) by 15 March 2008 to Ash Sharma ash.disorient@gmail.com and Val Hill v.hill@coventry.ac.uk

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One Response to Extimité: On Žižek and Race

  1. A very interesting topic and discussion. Perhaps the key is to stop catering to our DESIRES, which can be the basis for oneupmanship and associated political divide and rule, as we scramble against each other to feel good by not being at the bottom of the pile. Instead we could make the issue of our lives that of human dignity. For to scramble around in opposition to somebody on the basis of identity, as we saw in the US primaries recently, is deeply undignified (upon close examination). To be dignified is to care that we treat others as human beings, and that we have a system in place that actually allows us to do so in the first place. Otherwise we are undignified (and this is neurological — human mirror cells will also give us an experience of the indignity that we afflict upon another.)

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