Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

This course considers the definition of the human through a focus on scholarship in postcolonial studies that has been informed by psychoanalysis. The course is the second in a sequence, following Postcolonial Studies and Psychoanalysis I. While the latter served as an introduction to the ways in which Postcolonial Studies and Psychoanalysis have been brought to bear on one another, this course will go in depth to focus on the thought of a select group of thinkers in postcolonial studies (e.g. Gayatri Spivak, Jacques Derrida, Frantz Fanon), whose work has been shaped by psychoanalysis. In so doing, this course will bring questions about sexual difference to bear on considerations of colonial and postcolonial difference.

Both postcolonial studies and psychoanalysis engage questions of sexualized and racialized difference in the context of 20th century Europe and the legacies of colonialism. Postcolonial studies and psychoanalysis both also contend with notions of individual and collective well-being, and with belonging and exclusion. Psychoanalysis is a colonial discipline which produced a form of analysis that emerged in the time of colonialism. As such, psychoanalysis contributed to colonial notions of civilized and primitive, of man and woman, of normal and abnormal, of Europe and its others. At the same time, however, contexts of anticolonial struggle in turn shaped psychoanalytic thought. By examining texts in postcolonial studies that are informed by psychoanalysis, this course considers processes through which individuated subjects become defined in terms of collective groups of belonging such as the nation, and how filiation and family is connected to affiliation and nation, through relations of affect, sexual difference, and concepts of representational politics. Students will be evaluated based on class participation, reading responses, a mid-term essay and final paper.


Students do not need to have taken Postcolonial Studies and Psychoanalysis I to take this course, but prior coursework in Literature, Anthropology or related fields is necessary; permission of instructor required.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.