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Dark continents : postcolonial encounters with psychoanalysis McInturff, Kate 2000

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Dark Continents: Postcolonial Encounters with Psychoanalysis by Kate Mclnturff B.A. , University of Washington, 1990 M.A. , University of British Columbia, 1995 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY In THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard University of iBritish Columbia ^ A p r i l , 2000 © Kate Mclnturff, 2000 In presenting t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date i^T^L- , 1^XX> Dark Continents: Postcolonial Encounters With Psychoanalysis (Abstract) This work examines the use of psychoanalytic terms and concepts in postcolonial theory, with attention to the social and historical contexts in which those terms and models originated. The thesis provides an overview of the different academic and political contexts out of which postcolonial theory evolved, focusing on how identity came to be a central term within postcolonial debates. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Anne McClintock, it critiques the current use of psychoanalytic models by postcolonial theorists, arguing that psychoanalysis is itself implicated in the history of European imperialism and brings with it concomitant assumptions about the nature of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The thesis provides an overview of the work of Charcot, Freud and Lacan. It takes up some of their major contributions to psychoanalysis, and discusses the social and political contexts in which those works were developed. The thesis goes on to provide a detailed analysis of the intersection of postcolonial theory and psychoanalysis in the work of Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Helene Cixous. The thesis concludes by discussing what I view as the two major ethical and intellectual problems that arise from the use of psychoanalysis in postcolonial theory. I argue, first, that psychoanalysis developed within the same cultural and political context as European colonialism. In spite of its moments of self-consciousness, psychoanalysis, nonetheless, reproduces some of the models of identity that supported European imperialism, both in Europe and abroad. Secondly, I argue that psychoanalysis takes, at root, a pessimistic view of human nature and this pessimism is fundamentally at odds with the emancipatory motives of postcolonial theory. Table of Contents Abstract i i Acknowledgements v i Introduction: As We Well Know 1 Chapter I "This new and badly made Umbrella": A Brief History of Postcolonial Theory . 13 1.1: Introduction 13 1.2: Literary Geographies: New and Old Literatures in English 17 1.3: Commonwealth Literary Studies: New Literatures and New Criticism...21 1.4: The 'Post' Man Always Rings Twice: Poststructuralism and Postcolonialism 28 1.5: Particularly American: African American Studies and Postcolonial Theory... 45 1.6: What to do with the Master's Tools: Feminism and Postcolonial Theory 61 Chapter II Charcot and the Medical Gaze 74 2.1: Introduction 74 2.2: "Le Versailles de la Douleur": A Brief History of Salpetriere 76 2.3: "The Napoleon of Neuroses": Charcot at Work 80 2.4: "A Museum Of Living Pathology": Hysteria, Pedagogy and the Exhibition 90 2.5: "A Lot of Noise Over Nothing": Cracks in the Facade of Medical Progress 102 Chapter III Freud and the Talking Cure 105 3.1: Introduction 105 3.2: A Visitor From the 'Outre-Rhine': Charcot and Freud 106 3.3: "Cheated Out of a Spectacle": Freud, Anti-Semitism and the Medical Museum I l l 3.4: Bourgeois Bearings: Hysteria, Heredity and Class 118 3.5: Unnatural States: Civilization, Sexuality and Freud's Notion of the Primitive 126 3.6: Women's Words and Men's Actions: Gender, Race and Sexuality 135 Chapter IV Lacan and the Return of French Psychoanalysis 144 4.1: Introduction 144 4.2: Desire Is Interpretation Itself: Lacan and Linguistics 147 4.3: Sex and Signification: Flesh, Truth and the Veil 153 4.4: True and False Goods: Lacan on Hegel, Sade and Psychoanalytic Ethics 163 4.5: Conclusion: The Father is Dead—Long Live the Father 169 Chapter V Postcolonial Psychoanalysis: Fanon and Co 171 5.1: Introduction 171 5.2: Colonial Baggage: Leaving France With Frantz Fanon 175 5.3: Bad Mothers in the Other-Fatherland: Fanon on Family and Nation... 190 5.4: Re-Membering the Nation: Fanon and Colonial Trauma in the Wretched of the Earth 199 5.5: "Critical Fanonism" 203 Chapter VI Psychoanalysis and Postcolonial Theory in the Work of Said, Bhabha and Cixous 209 6.1: Introduction 209 6.2: Said and Psychoanalysis: Identity, Hegemony and Critical Consciousness 211 6.3: Bhabha, Psychoanalysis and the Colonial Scene: The Logic of Metonymy 237 6.4: Cixous and Identity: Dis-Orienting the Other 260 Conclusion: Analysis Terminable and Interminable 284 Notes 289 Works Cited 326 Acknowledgements I would like to thank the Department of English for their generous and ongoing support of this project. To my committee, a great debt of gratitude is owed: to Valerie Raoul for her close readings, her careful analysis and her patience with my French; to Michael Zeitlin for his constant encouragement, his intellectual generosity and his patience with my punctuation; and most of all, to my supervisor, Sneja Gunew, for countless conversations, for her unflagging support and respect, and for matchless patience with the various incarnations of this work. To all of my parents, my perpetual gratitude, for supporting and encouraging this work from the very beginning, and for their confidence, which endured when my own was flagging. Finally, to Mark, without whom none of this would be possible; for the daily conversations, for the constant encouragement and for the boundless understanding, you have my boundless gratitude. 1 As We Well Know: An Introduction Once upon a time, there was a young doctor who lived in Vienna, near the great wood, and one day he.... Once upon a time, there was a young man who lived in the city of lights, and one day.... Once upon a time, there was a little girl who ventured past the bright lights into those dark continental woods. She realised as soon as she got there that her basket was full of all the wrong things. Perhaps it is stating the obvious to say that power and identity are related. It is a commonplace that many of us learn as children in the schoolyard, where the identity categories of race, class and gender, imported from the adult world, are just one part of a vast field in which qualities such as physical and vocal co-ordination, height and size, and hair and eye colour are also assigned importance in marking relations of power between social groups. Michel Foucault's work points out, however, that the self-evident or obvious truths which come to structure our perceptions of the world are worth interrogating. Is the world the playground writ large? How are power and identity related? Is that relationship inevitable? Are its effects? This work represents an attempt to address these questions by examining them in the context of ongoing discussions about power and identity in the fields of psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory. It is governed by a few basic presuppositions, drawn in part from contemporary French poststructuralist thought. There is a perception among some critics of poststructuralism, both hostile and sympathetic, that it denies its adherents recourse to an empirical and objective real world for evidence, and in so doing also denies them the ability 2 to make value judgements about elements of the subjective world they inhabit. That is to say, i f everything is perceived through a subjective filter, then everything must be relative; i f everything is relative, then there can be no ethical judgement which takes as its domain anything other than one person's subjective realm. The field of poststructuralist thought is, of course, not a monolithic one; and its responses to this criticism have been correspondingly diverse-ranging from Richard Rorty's pragmatism to Foucault's archeologies. Within that diversity of responses I situate my own with the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Like them, I will argue that although poststructuralism assumes a radically subjective position for the individual, we must and do make ethical demands of ourselves, our work and our world, even as we understand that to defend those ethics in empirical terms would be to produce one structure of truth and knowledge at the risk of suppressing others. One of the basic premises of this work is the belief that there is an ethical imperative involved in understanding the relationship of power and identity to each other. Identity markers have supported the accumulation and exercise of power, and the results of that exercise of power is often violent, and almost always made by one person or group at the expense of another. It should not take the historical spectres of genocide and colonial violence to make this point. In what constitutes 'my own backyard,' the subjection of over a quarter of the female population in the United States to physical and/or sexual abuse and the radically disproportionate rates of incarceration for visible minorities suggest, even more immediately, that the identity markers of race and gender, in their various incarnations, have been produced and assigned in such a way that they contribute to these radically disproportionate relations to power. 3 Another basic premise of this project concerns the level at which this ethical problem should be addressed. The liberal call for mutual understanding and, at the least, peaceful coexistence, assumes a rational individual, capable of exerting free will in prder to choose to have a new relation to identity and power. I am, however, very much convinced by Foucault's arguments concerning the way in which power acts though institutional networks, as well as through individual actors. Through his examination of the development of the institutions of the church, the clinic, the prison, and the asylum in Western Europe, Foucault demonstrates that the spatial and discursive arrangements of those institutions have placed the individuals who inhabit them in specific relations of power to each other. In his terms, the doctor and the patient are both shaped by the discourse of medicine and anatomy, and by the configuration of the clinical space. These discourses and institutional spaces, combine to teach the doctor and patient the same lessons about their relationship with each other. Intervention into this system cannot be limited to individual action. It is not only a question of making a rational argument for a new relationship, or a new institutional arrangement. The spatial and discursive arrangement is overdetermined. That is to say, the same message is repeated and reinforced physically, visually, and verbally. There is no question of being able to argue against the present structure of the relationship between the doctor and the patient, for example, without addressing the myriad levels at which that relationship is produced as self-evident to the doctor, the patient and the intellectual examining it. For Foucault, intervention comes, in part, in attempting to understand what kinds of spatial and discursive arrangements were rejected, erased or superseded by the arrangement which comes to be dominant in a particular time and place. This practice involves looking for the traces of subjugated knowledges, sometimes located in the breaks or discontinuities 4 of the dominant system itself. It is in this context that I find the work of postcolonial theory particularly productive. Critics like Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha have argued that Foucault's understanding of power is too monolithic, that it leaves too little room for the possibility of intervention and contestation. At the same time, the attention which these and other postcolonial theorists pay to spatial, physical and visual representation is in keeping with Foucault's argument that it is in this more broadly defined field of representation that the nature of power and its relationship to identity can be better understood.1 Postcolonial theorists, following Foucault, have tended to analyse imperialist projects in terms of the fields of representation and the institutions of knowledge production which have supported and perpetuated them. The work in this field that I find particularly compelling has tended to focus specifically on the production of identity categories, rather than on the broader spectrum of institutional power and its effects. This thesis follows writers such as Homi Bhabha, Helene Cixous and Anne McClintock in seeking to understand how these identity categories are formed, not only in terms of a field of institutionally produced power relations, but also with the help of psychoanalytic discussions of individual processes of identity formation. It is with psychoanalysis that the final basic premise of this work rests. Following psychoanalysis, I critique the notion of an entirely "rational" or self-conscious individual. At the most simplistic level, the usefulness of psychoanalysis presents itself to me in the notion that while I may make endlessly complex arguments for the radically contingent and violent nature of identity categories, I cannot argue myself or anyone else into not noticing them, nor would I want to. For example, although I was exposed early and often to liberal feminist arguments 5 concerning the need for a gender-blind society, this has never stopped me from noticing and attempting to assign a gender identity to any individual. Postcolonial theory and some veins of psychoanalytic thought lead me to believe that I am hardly unique in possessing this drive to distinguish myself from others in terms of categorical divisions. Nor do I believe that the answer is a falsely assumed "blindness," in keeping with the cry that "we are all just people." Edward Said, among others, has argued that what is required is neither a pretence of equality, in the face of radically different relations to power and social and cultural experiences, nor a corrective identification of difference which would oppose stereotypes with "accurate," empirical models of difference. In Said's and Foucault's terms, there can be no recourse to an empirically justified assessment of that which distinguishes one's self from another's self. Matters of difference are defined through networks of power and one should, as much as possible, be aware of the functioning of those networks, and the way in which one is placed relative to others within them. This level of self-consciousness and intellectual vigilance does not, however, account for the drive to categorise, beyond, perhaps, theorising an institutional will to power which takes the imposition of identity categories as part of its purview. It is at this point that some veins of psychoanalytic theory can be particularly useful. In addition to seeking an account of the non-rational and/or unconscious drives at work in the production and imposition of identity categories, the influence of psychoanalysis within postcolonial theory is something which ought to be subjected to greater critical evaluation. Neither postcolonial theory nor psychoanalytic theory (nor my own work), come from a disinterested institutional location, and my work, like that of others, is certainly not free from unselfconscious or self-interested investments. In order to make an argument in 6 keeping with the intellectual context outlined here, I would like to read the institutional discourses of psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory against each other—looking for the gaps and discontinuities which each exposes in the other. The emphasis in this project will be on the body of work within postcolonial theory that deals with psychoanalytic concepts, rather than on contemporary critical work in the field(s) of psychoanalysis. In Chapter One, I outline the various disciplines that have influenced the development of postcolonial theory. Over the past ten years, there has been a growing emphasis in postcolonial theory on the nature of identity and the forces that shape our sense of ourselves as members of cultural, political and national groups. This is precisely the emphasis that has lead some postcolonial critics to turn to psychoanalysis, in an effort to theorize the process through which identities are formed, negotiated or performed. Each of the disciplines examined draws connections between the circulation of cultural artefacts and/or images and the effectiveness of colonial power in producing distinct avenues of identification. Foucault, Lacan and Derrida have played an important role in the evolution of postcolonial theory, influencing Said, Bhabha and Spivak respectively. Poststructuralism's textual emphasis, and its tendency to examine Western European culture without considering either European imperialism or non-European cultures, have lead to critiques of the use of these theories within postcolonial theory. Two disciplines with more explicitly political origins have also influenced postcolonial theorists: African American Studies and Women's Studies. African American Studies and postcolonial theory were formed by some of the same intellectual and political movements. In particular, Fanon's work, on the decolonization of African states in the decades following W.W.II, influenced both fields. 7 Postcolonial theory and African American Studies have both arisen out of nationalist as well as literary movements. It is important to recognise the separate colonial histories they address, and equally important to bring the two fields together, in order to look productively at the ways in which both are addressing the issue of the nature of identity, and of 'race' in particular. Feminist theory has influenced both postcolonial theory itself and the disciplines which have shaped postcolonial theory (i.e. poststructuralism, African American Studies and English Studies). Feminist political and literary movements have played an essential role in connecting the work of cultural production to the work of political power, and feminist theorists prefigured the current attention in postcolonial theory to the mutually constitutive nature of identity categories such as race, gender, class and sexuality. Moreover, feminist theory brings to the fore the conflict between a poststructuralist emphasis on the constructed nature of experience and a political and personal desire to refer to experience as a point of departure for political agency. Postcolonial theorists have become increasingly interested in how identities are formed, and in the influence of cultural and political forces on that process. Psychoanalysis is an important theoretical resource for postcolonial theorists interested in exploring this topic. Chapters Two, Three and Four look to the historical context of psychoanalysis. In the field of psychoanalysis, Freud and Lacan have had the greatest influence on postcolonial theory. In addition to examining the work of these writers, I also take up the work of the man that Freud cites as his precursor: Jean Martin Charcot. Charcot's lectures and his use of medical and photographic technology exemplify the European imperialist view of the world, described by Timothy Mitchell as 'the world as 8 exhibition.' Charcot's exhibition of the bodies of his patients is structurally similar to the ethnographic exhibitions of colonised peoples in Paris during the same period. Moreover, Charcot argues for the influence of genetics in predisposing patients to illness. This notion of hereditary degeneracy was part of the racial discourse of French colonialism, representing colonised peoples as genetically inferior to Western Europeans. Drawing on the work of Toby Gelfand and Sander Gilman, I argue that Freud's most important differences with Charcot arose out of Charcot's theory of hereditary degeneracy. Charcot included 'the Jewish race' in his list of those subject to hereditary degeneracy. Freud's early work attacks Charcot's theory and its emphasis on the visibility of genetically determined difference. Freud's self-consciousness of the ways in which his own 'race' is constructed is paired with his representations of his patients' class and gender positions. Freud attempts to delineate how these categories are constructed (in 'nature' and in 'culture'). While Freud's treatment of class is sometimes quite nuanced, his treatment of gender and of female sexuality appears sometimes to retain traces of biological determinism. Freud's self-proclaimed protector and heir, Jacques Lacan, has had the greatest influence on postcolonial theory. Lacan shares an interest with many postcolonial theorists in Hegel's model of self-consciousness. Lacan's re-reading of Freud is also shaped by the work of the French Surrealist movement, and the linguist Saussure. He shares some of the interests of poststructuralists, such as Derrida and Foucault, but was not as influenced by the political and intellectual events of May 1968 as were they. The linguistic and a-political emphasis in Lacan's work has provoked critiques of the use of his work within postcolonial theory. Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray have also critiqued the gender dissymmetry in his 9 theory of identity. Nonetheless, his model of the relationship of the self to the other remains centrally important to postcolonial theorists. Anti-colonial activist and psychologist Frantz Fanon is often identified by postcolonial theorists as the first writer to use psychoanalysis to understand the structure of colonial power relations. Fanon's use of psychoanalysis is somewhat eclectic. Fanon comments on Lacan's theory of the mirror stage, and on his use of Hegel, but ultimately disagrees with him. He also criticises what he views as the inherently patronising effect of early applications of psychoanalytic theory to colonial settings. Although Fanon was influenced by Freud, Hegel and Lacan, he develops a notion of the process of identification which is far more attentive to the specificities of an individual's or a group's economic, geographic and political context. Fanon's work has been so often cited within postcolonial theory that it has lead Henry Louis Gates' to dub the phenomenon "Critical Fanonism." Gates' points out the critical tendency to refer to Fanon by name, without examining his work in any detail, a point that can be made of both Said's and Bhabha's rather distinct representations of Fanon. The work of Said, Bhabha and Cixous are examined in detail, in an attempt to test the limits of the usefulness of psychoanalysis in postcolonial theory. Said's engagement with Freudian psychoanalysis is limited. His response to Freud's work is shaped by his interest, early in his career, in Foucault. However, Said retains a notion of individual intention and will , in opposition to Foucault's argument that experience and intention are shaped by institutional discursive power. In the same vein, Said's treatment of psychoanalysis tends to ignore the Freudian notion of an unconscious capable of shaping the will of the individual. Said continues to reserve a place for individual self-consciousness throughout his work. This 10 emphasis is an important part of Said's belief that the individual can self-consciously refuse to participate in the hegemonic discourses generated through social, political and cultural institutions. Bhabha's work, in turn, is far more sympathetic to psychoanalysis. Although clearly influenced by Said, he is equally influenced by Lacan. Bhabha asserts the importance of the process of identification for the operation of colonial power. He emphasises the multi-directionality of those operations of power, and he argues that the coloniser and the colonised are equally subject to those operations. He is at once concerned with reasserting the effectiveness of unconscious forces of "subjectification" and at the same time concerned to reassert the agency of a colonised subject capable of a "sly" speaking back to colonialist discourse. Bhabha's model of a process of identity formation is one characterised by "hybridity," and his model of colonial discourse and power by "ambivalence." The theoretical work of critic, playwright and novelist Helene Cixous takes up some of the same questions concerning the relationship of the individual to discourses of national, cultural and racial belonging that concern Bhabha and Said. Unlike Bhabha and Said, Cixous is primarily concerned with the role that gender plays in shaping those discourses and the material relations of power which they support. Her work is not specifically postcolonial. Nonetheless, it is uniquely situated at the intersection of feminism, French poststructuralism and psychoanalysis. Her critiques of psychoanalysis, and her more recent attention to her own experience of French colonialism in Algeria, provide a useful supplement to Said and Bhabha. From the specificities of these critical uses of psychoanalysis, I conclude with a brief assessment of some of the more general conflicts which arise out of the use of 11 psychoanalysis in postcolonial theory. Psychoanalytic models have been, in part, determined by the same structures of race, class, gender and sexuality that support Western European imperialism. Nonetheless, the measure of psychoanalysis's challenge to those structures is significant. Psychoanalysis has been an important element in present discussions of the irrational and/or unconscious forces at work in the process of asserting identity and difference. However, there are some general, epistemological conflicts which arise out of the use of psychoanalysis in postcolonial theory. Postcolonial theory often contains an explicit or implicit ethical imperative to intervene in contemporary (neo-) colonial relations. That imperative assumes a certain level of self-consciousness and altruism in one's actions, an assumption that is not always in keeping with the psychoanalytic notion of the unconscious. There is also a conflict between the ethical imperatives of postcolonial theory and the pessimistic and sometimes deterministic tenor of psychoanalysis. Freud asserts that individuals and social groups are always capable of returning to their least 'civilised,' hence least self-conscious and altruistic, level. Lacan asserts a kind of structural self-involvement, an impossibility of one subject communicating with another. While postcolonial theorists have been very critical of the violence wrought in the name of the Enlightenment 'progress,' they nonetheless argue for progressive change, for an intellectual altruism, and, at the very least, for a meaningful communication of ideas that may, in turn, lead to political action. That said, it is unclear i f this epistemological conflict signals a need to abandon psychoanalysis altogether. To return to a question Said asked in 1982, how far can an idea, a model, or a theory travel? To what extent does it retain the power relations that existed in the context in which it was created? How significantly can that theory be revised before it 12 ceases to be what it was? Finally, can its 'foreign-ness' illuminate the peculiarities of our own familiar contexts? 13 Chapter One: A Brief History of Postcolonial Theory. Introduction "Accuracy in history is a genre" (McClintock, Imperial Leather 310). In its short history postcolonial theory has been marked by a particular recognition of, and interest in, its own modes of production. A number of critics have argued that Edward Said's Orientalism stands as one of the founding texts of this field; this text also inaugurated the discipline's consciousness of the complicity of scholars and their academic institutions in European imperialism. That awareness has moved postcolonial critics to be equally interested in their own institutional positions and affiliations.1 This interest has produced, on the one hand, an invaluable self-consciousness of the power inequities embedded in relations between first and third world scholars, and between those scholars and the 'subaltern' and/or colonised peoples about whom they often write. On the other hand, it has also produced an occasional tendency towards parochialism—towards a narcissistic contemplation of the minutiae of the discipline by the discipline to the exclusion of interested readers, and audiences not familiar with its specialised vocabulary and intellectual personalities. With these tendencies and McClintock's caveat in mind, I will trace some of postcolonial theory's terms and concerns through some of the disciplines and political movements which have influenced the field. M y aim is to recognise the disciplines to which postcolonial theory owes an intellectual debt, to consider how those disciplines continue to shape the interests of postcolonial theorists at the moment, and to trace the origin of present concerns with culture and identity. 14 Robert Young, following Raymond Williams, has suggested that "'culture' is among one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language" (Young, Colonial Desire 30). He has devoted the better part of Colonial Desire to attempting to trace the uses of 'culture' as a designation variously of race, family, ethnicity, nation and the realm of aesthetic production. Whether as a result or in spite of the slippery nature of the term, culture has been increasingly central both to postcolonial theorists and to critics and activists working in some of the fields which have influenced and overlapped with postcolonial theory. Feminist postcolonial critic Rajeswari Raj an's definition of culture is a useful starting point for understanding, in general, the meaning that culture has for contemporary postcolonial theorists: "Culture then, [is] viewed as the product of the beliefs and conceptual models of society and as the destination where the trajectory of its desires takes shape, as well as the everyday practices, the constitutive realities, and the complex process by which these are structured" (10). As Rajan goes on to argue, culture is understood as the site or the field in which power shapes or produces the identifications of an individual or a group. Culture is also the field in which the individual or group can contest the dominant discourses of cultural production. As a point of intersection for power and identity, culture has produced common concerns for intellectuals working in a number of different areas—Cultural Studies being only one among many. Young and Hall, among others, have shown that an understanding of the field of culture requires the tools of both political economy and psychoanalysis. Critics working in Literary Studies, posfstructuralist philosophy, African American Studies and Women's Studies have formed tools for understanding the relationships of identity to power; 15 these critics have revised earlier explanatory categories such as Marxism and psychoanalysis in order to better delineate the function or, in Bhabha's terms, the location of culture. The postcolonial condition is, by definition, an only slightly more recent historical phenomenon than colonialism. However, the theoretical concept of 'the postcolonial' is relatively new. Vijay Mishra and Bob Hodge point their readers, ironically, to the Oxford English Dictionary and its citation of one of the earliest printed records of the use of the term in English: "It was probably inevitable that India, in the full flush of postcolonial sensitivity, should fear that association with the America of that period might involve her unnecessarily in troubles which were little to do with Asia" (The Daily Telegraph, 2 July, 1959). Webster's Dictionary provides an even earlier instance with its 1935 definition of the term as "Later than colonial; specifically Architecture" (1415). In these early citations the term designates the change in political status of a geographical region from (British) colony to sovereign state. Benedict Anderson demonstrates in Imagined Communities that the concept of the nation is itself a relatively recent phenomenon, arising out of the history of European imperialism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The term 'postcolonial,' in its twentieth century incarnation, is defined in relation to the terms colony and nation. The early emphasis on a change in political status, in chronological terms, persists in Third World or Area Studies through the 1960s and 1970s. It is only with the rising popularity of the term in academic writing in the 1980s that it begins to take on more complex and occasionally contradictory meanings. The growing proliferation of definitions of the postcolonial, and of what was to become postcolonial theory, have not meant that its earlier definition was left behind. The history of European colonialism and subsequent struggles towards and through nationalism continue to be a central concern of postcolonial 16 theorists. Moreover, the notion that the terms 'nation' and 'colony' were mutually constitutive of one another (as well as of the term 'postcolonial') persists in postcolonial theory. Stephen Slemon has presented one of the most self-consciously exhaustive definitions of the contemporary use of the term postcolonial in his 1994 article "The Scramble for Post-Colonialism": 'Post-Colonialism,' as it is now used in various fields, de-scribes a remarkably heterogeneous set of subject positions, professional fields, and critical enterprises. It has been a way of ordering a critique of totalizing forms of Western historicism; as a portmanteau term for a re-tooled notion of 'class,' as a subset of both postmodernism and post-structuralism (and conversely, as the condition from which those two structures of cultural logic and cultural critique themselves are seen to emerge); as the name for a condition of nativist longing in post-independence nationalist groupings; as the cultural marker of non-residing for a third-world intellectual cadre; as the inevitable underside of a fractured and ambivalent discourse of colonialist power; as an oppositional form of 'reading practice'; and [... ] as the name for a category of 'literary' activity which used to be called 'Commonwealth' literary studies. (45) Sleman ultimately suggests that this proliferation of definitions stems from the instability of the concept of 'colonialism,' on which 'postcolonialism' rests. Like Ella Shohat and Anne McClintock, he also suggests that the postcolonial is itself something of an elusive object, onto which intellectuals have projected their various ethical and professional desires (to 17 understand, to emancipate, to be successful, to be popular). While this may very well be the case, I would like to set next to these desires an outline of the ethical intellectual work which has been done in the name of postcolonial theory, and to look more closely at the institutional structures within which that work began. Literary Geographies: New and Old Literatures in English "But one can see a certain point at which the particular forms of English identity feel that they can command, within their own discourses, the discourses of almost everybody else [....] Certainly, the colonised Other was constituted within the regimes of representation of such a metropolitan centre. They were placed in their otherness, in their marginality, by the nature of the 'English eye.' The 'English eye' sees everything else but is not so good at recognising that ii is itself actually looking at something" (Hall, "The Local and the Global" 20-21). Slemon names Commonwealth Literary Studies as one of the starting points for the development of postcolonial theory. That point of origin is, as origins often are, caught up in earlier conflicts in the history of both English literature and 'Classics.' According to Young, English nationalism was formed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in part through an attempt to claim Greek and Roman antecedents for English society and culture. In an attempt to "trace[e] the white aesthetic from its early origins and afterwards," Addison Gayle Jr. also proposes "Greece as the logical starting point, bearing in mind Wil l Durant's observation that 'all of Western civilization is but a footnote to Plato'" (208). 18 The production of a connection to a 'classical' origin conferred prestige and legitimacy on the quickly congealing English nation in the eighteenth century. Within this nation-building activity, aesthetic artefacts such as the Elgin marbles were judged to be the clear evidence of a civilized political state to which England was heir. The pretence that aesthetic judgement was free from political motivation supported the 'objective' status of that aesthetic evidence. That judgement in turn supported the right of the political state—as bearer of civilization—to rule. This process of self-legitimisation was aided by the institutionalisation of 'Classics' as a field of study in English universities, beginning with the proliferation of English language translations of Greek and Roman works in the seventeenth century. It was only during the latter part of the nineteenth century that English literature was institutionalised as a distinct field of study in England. Brian Doyle has commented extensively on the transition that led to the establishment of 'English Literature' as a discipline. Prior to the 1880s, the study of English literature had "occupied a dramatically lower cultural status than the upper-class masculine studies of Classics and Mathematics" (2). A shift occurred at the end of the nineteenth century, during which "The literary work was valorised as a symbolic contribution to the maintenance of a harmonious 'high society.' Participation in this literary culture helped sustain the social belief in the reality of a civilization or culture guaranteed by rational exchange rather than worship" (Doyle 10). Ashcroft et al. also comment on the legacy that the academic field of English Literary Studies inherited from Classics: "from the beginning, proponents of English as a discipline linked its methodology to that of the classics, with its emphasis on scholarship, philology, 19 and historical study—the fixing of texts in historical time and the perpetual search for the determinants of a single, unified and agreed meaning" (3). Prior to the institutionalisation of the study of English Literature in English universities Classics provided evidence from elsewhere of England's claim to superiority. Gauri Viswanathan has made a compelling case for the fact that it was in one of England's colonies that English Literary Studies was first institutionalised as a discipline: "As early as the 1820s, when the classical curriculum still reigned supreme in England despite the strenuous efforts of some concerned critics to loosen its hold, English as the study of culture and not simply the study of language had already found a secure place in the British Indian curriculum" (3). Viswanathan argues that English Literary Studies was one of the tools facilitating the commercial exploitation and violent suppression of the inhabitants of England's colonial territories. English culture took concrete form in the absence of England. Even the presence of English men and women in India is elided by the representational power of English literature. Viswanathan goes on to argue that: [T]he English literary text, functioning as a surrogate Englishman in his highest and most perfect state, becomes a mask for economic exploitation, so successfully camouflaging the material activities of the coloniser that one unusually self-conscious British colonial official, Charles Tevelyan, was prompted to remark, '[the Indians] daily converse with the best and wisest Englishmen through the medium of their works, and form ideas, perhaps higher ideas of our nation than i f their intercourse with it were of a more personal kind. (20) 20 Thus English literature in India is modelled after the role that Classics played in England. In the field of culture, problematic political realities are elided and a representation of a distant ideal is imported as a model for identification. The crucial difference between these two instances is that in India English literature represented the ideal of one culture imposed on another. Homi Bhabha and others have argued further that this 'ideal Englishman' was one which the colonised were encouraged to imitate without any notion that they could actually 'become' English (Location of Culture 85-101). Finally, it is worth adding that the institutionalisation of Classics in England also functioned to marginalise more proximate populations. Robert Crawford, in The Scottish Invention of English Literature, has argued that English Literary Studies evolved in Scotland in the eighteenth century, in response to the marginalization of Scottish linguistic idioms, or 'Scotishisms.' Crawford argues that Scottish intellectuals such as Hugh Blair promoted the study of English literature in Scotland as a method of mastering the language of the dominant culture in order to then promote the legitimacy of Scottish culture. In this context, it is still clear that the white, male, upper-class intellectuals whom Crawford cites, by virtue of the recognition of those qualities, had access to institutions of power in a way that women and the working classes in Great Britain and non-Anglo men and women in the colonies did not. Nonetheless Crawford's argument makes a useful corollary to the long history of English Literary Studies' implication in a number of imperial and anti-imperial projects. The history of English Literary Studies bears, from the beginning, a relationship to the definition and support of 'colony' and 'nation.' It is tied to efforts to legitimise national political cultures-efforts deployed in the realm of the nominally aesthetic. It is not an accident that, as English Literary Studies returned to England in the late nineteenth century, 21 at the height of British colonial expansionism, the trend in literary and art criticism was towards a new aestheticism—the intellectual movement inaugurated by Walter Pater's endorsement, in 1873, of "the love of art for its own sake" (153).2 The undoing of that aestheticist facade and the illumination of the connections between aesthetic and political activity are currently important components of postcolonial theory. That response, however, was preceded by one which took at face value the overt definition of literary-critical activity as 'purely' aesthetic and a-political. Arguing against the primacy of English literature in general, Commonwealth Studies sought to include the literatures of other nations on aesthetic and comparative grounds. Commonwealth Literary Studies: New Literatures and New Criticism "The average Englishman imagines that culture belongs to the old world which produced Shakespeare and Reynolds and Wren, not to the new earth, which was the background for men of action, like Cecil Rhodes and Lord Strathcona. The time has come, therefore, when we might make a tally of another kind and mention the names of Olive Sehr einer, Katherine Mansfield, Henry Law son, Gilbert Murray, Sarah Gertrude Millin, Pauline Smith, Roy Campbell, and Bliss Carman, and ask people to believe that something more important than wool and wheat is to come from the young countries, which were little more than vague shapes on the maps of a hundred years ago" (Bolitho 13). Commonwealth Literary Studies began, in part, with the wider publication and circulation of texts by writers living in countries once colonised by England (Moore-Gilbert 7). That process is itself, as Mishra and Hodge claim, not without political motivation: 22 [A]s the British Empire broke up and attempted to sustain an illusion of unity under the euphemistic title of 'Commonwealth,' a new object appeared on the margins of departments of English Literature: 'Commonwealth literature.' [....] 'Commonwealth literature' did not include the literature of the centre, which acted as the impossible absent standard by which it should be judged. (276) Salman Rushdie, in his well known dismissal of Commonwealth literature, has remarked that the institutionalisation of Commonwealth literature "places Eng. Lit. at the centre and the rest of the world at the periphery" (66). In other words, the publication and critical examination of Commonwealth literatures that began in the 1960s functioned to recreate, in the field of literature, a picture of the world in which the outline of the now diminished English empire was still clearly visible. The production of these literatures as 'Commonwealth Literature' also served to maintain a hierarchy in which English literature was held to be the standard (and centre) against which the literatures of its former colonies were judged (Moore-Gilbert 26). It is in this vein that the perennial question concerning the existence of a Jamaican/South African/Australian/Canadian/Indian Shakespeare is posed. Equally representative are A. Norman Jeffares' comments, delivered at the 1974 meeting of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies: [A]t least there is a strong movement for the study of Commonwealth literature in general, in addition to study of the local literature in particular. In other words, readers are encouraged to compare their own literature written 23 in English with that in other Commonwealth countries. But both need to be referred constantly to the parent stock of English literature [....] And so while English literature virtually compels us outward—this is one of its greatest virtues—[... ] other literatures turn to English and to American writing for an assessment in terms of achievement. (11) In pointing to Commonwealth Literary Studies' continuing location of the cultural centre or standard in England, I do not wish to suggest that publication and criticism of these literatures should cease, nor that publication and criticism of these materials cannot be emancipatory. I would argue rather that the discipline of Commonwealth Literary Studies, as it constituted itself in the 1960s and 1970s, was not wholly emancipatory, nor was it sufficiently self-reflexive. It is out of a burgeoning critical awareness within Commonwealth Literary Studies of its own "English eye" that postcolonial theory has emerged. One particularly problematic element of Commonwealth Literary Studies is the application of a version of the close reading method dubbed 'Leavis-ite' or 'New Criticism' to Commonwealth texts. These New Critical readings of Commonwealth literature endorsed the reading of a text in terms of its ability to illustrate 'universal' values and experiences. A. L. McCleod's introduction to a collection of essays on Commonwealth literature, published in 1961, includes an evaluation of Olive Schreiner's work in precisely these terms: "the characters [... ] have genuine, human attributes and the book is a good novel because the author deals with human and universal values" (7). McCleod raises this example specifically in order to protest against the focus by novelists and critics on more overtly political topics, such as "the problem of race relations" (7). McCleod reproduces the division between 24 aesthetics and politics sustained in both the mobilisation of Classics in England and the mobilisation of English Literary Studies in India. The political, here, is felt to interfere with the aesthetic quality of literature. The universal becomes the 'objective' realm in which aesthetic judgements can be made—eliding the political-cultural history in which both Literary Studies and indeed the countries of the Commonwealth were formed.4 In 1975, in the same collection of essays in which Jeffares extols the values of English literature, novelist and critic Wilson Harris is one of the first in Commonwealth Studies to signal a growing unease with New Critical models of literary criticism: [I wonder] in what degree such humanism is in itself subconsciously aligned to the very colonial prejudices it claims to deride which give it a new narcissistic density of'complete' literatures and 'enthrallingly interesting colonial products.' [....] An unconscious political irony is in process of being born within the telling silences of the family of the Word and this is one of the first steps (who knows?) towards a radical change of tone in the dialogue of vested interests between old worlds and new. (19)5 A few years after Harris's statement, and similar critiques levelled by Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Chinua Achebe, Helen Tiffin adds that there has been a dearth of writing which theorises new ways in which Commonwealth literature might be read by literary critics. She goes on to suggest one of the conflicts which such theorising might resolve: "the notion of the critic as judge has this century been called into question increasingly, largely because of our growing awareness of the relativity of cultural values [....] We sometime miss the more subtle manifestations of European cultural hegemony" ("Transformative Imaginaries" 24). 25 Out of these concerns Tiffin, with B i l l Ashcroft and Gareth Griffins, produced one of the first textbooks of postcolonial theory: The Empire Writes Back. The Empire Writes Back proposes to exchange the universal values of New Criticism for a comparative model in which thematic similarities are emphasised over national boundaries. The thematic similarities in the newly christened field of postcolonial literature are, in part, attributed to the historical legacy of colonialism and its current incarnation in the form of Western cultural hegemony. In their introduction the authors state specifically: We use the term 'post-colonial,' however, to cover all the culture affected by the Imperial process from the moment of colonisation to the present day. This is because there is a continuity of preoccupations throughout the historical process initiated by European imperial aggression. We also suggest that it is most appropriate as the term for the new cross-cultural criticism which has emerged in recent years and of the discourse through which this is constituted. (2) In formulating a new literary criticism and a new literary grouping The Empire Writes Back also attempts to respond to the issues which Harris's and Tiffin's comments raise. Ashcroft et al. propose a comparative model that would allow for the recognition of commonalties in the history and experience of cultures across national and linguistic boundaries. In other words, the field of 'postcolonial' literature would no longer re-inscribe the boundaries of the former British Empire. It recognises other (if exclusively European) imperial histories. It also recognises ties across political borders~as illustrated by Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic, on an African diaspora which reaches across the Atlantic from 26 West Africa to the Caribbean to the United States to Europe. Finally, Ashcroft et al present a critical model which begins to be more attentive to the distinct processes of colonisation that have occurred in different cultural and geographical contexts. They distinguish between the experiences and literatures of white settler populations in Australia and Canada, for example, and the experiences of the indigenous populations of those same geographical areas. More problematically, The Empire Writes Back retains a methodological tendency to look at postcolonial literatures in terms of their 'development' through various stages of literary-political maturity: "Post-colonial literatures developed through several stages which can be seen to correspond to stages both of national or regional consciousness and of asserting difference from the imperial center" (4-5). This developmental model retains a hint of imperialist paternalism. It implies, through the use of terms such as 'developed' and f 'stages,' that postcolonial writers are immature or childlike in comparison to their English or French literary-political 'parents.' Also problematic is the extent to which The Empire Writes Back attempts to do precisely what it critiques English Literary Studies for doing—that is to "search for the determinants of a single, unified, and agreed meaning" (3). The Empire Writes Back establishes primary thematic categories—such as "exile," "place and displacement," and "self and place" (8-9, 29)—into which the content of postcolonial literatures must fall. This work also theorises a "condition of 'Otherness'" (78) from which postcolonial literatures emanate. In this last case Ashcroft et al. respond to Hall's argument that English imperialism 'places' the discourses of other cultures in the category of margin or periphery. They do so, however, without sufficient emphasis on the notion that that "condition of 27 'Otherness'" is an imperialist construct. Reading postcolonial literatures in terms of this condition of otherness runs the risk of reinstating the cultural order which The Empire Writes Back seeks to critique. The book reproduces the emphasis on an absent imperial centre or self in much the same way that Commonwealth Literary Studies maintains an implicit hierarchy between the literature of the Commonwealth and the standard of the imperial centre's literature. Finally, the particular versions of postcolonial theory that emerged out of Commonwealth Literary Studies retained, understandably, a focus on literary cultural artefacts to the exclusion of other forms of representation. In limiting its initial field of inquiry to literature, however, this early version of postcolonial theory restricted the forms of representation that it might draw on. This restriction is useful in the sense that no single intellectual or discipline can encompass all things at all times. It does, however, produce a troublesome blind spot in its attempts to link the histories of colonialism to new incarnations of imperialism in a world where, as Stuart Hall points out, "[g]lobal mass culture is dominated by the image which crosses and re-crosses linguistic frontiers much more rapidly and more easily, and which speaks across languages in a much more immediate way" ("Old and New Identities" 27). The textualism emerging out of the literary roots of postcolonial theory is particularly evident in the work of three of its primary critics: Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabha. Each of these three critics proposes close readings of English literary texts as a way to understand how the "English eye" constructed its own self image through 28 its representations of itself and its 'others.' Their readings, however, are equally influenced by another school of thought: that of poststructuralism. The 'Post' Man Always Rings Twice: Poststructuralism and Postcolonialism "Now, buffeted on one side by Marx and upset from below by Freud, just as it opens its mouth to say, 'Well, at least I speak so therefore I must be something,' Saussure and linguistics comes along and says 'That's not true either, you know. Language was there before you "' (Hall "Old and New Identities" 44). Poststructuralism, here, represents an equally badly-made umbrella term for a number of distinct veins of critical thought evoked more specifically (but by no means exhaustively) by the names Foucault, Derrida and Lacan. If the history of Commonwealth Literary Studies is deeply entangled with the history of English Studies, so too is poststructuralism entangled with its antecedent: structuralism. In this discussion of the evolution of the precepts of poststructuralism the term 'discipline' is even less appropriate. The histories of structuralism and poststructuralism are not as institutionally homogeneous as those of Literary Studies. They do not emanate from one or two university departments, nor are they currently institutionalised in a specific discipline. They hail instead from anthropology, Western philosophy, history, psychoanalysis and linguistics. As in the case of English Studies, the history of structuralism can by no means be encompassed in a few pages and will be sketched out here only in the most limited way, with an eye to understanding the specific issues which continue to influence poststructuralism and postcolonial theory in turn. 29 Structuralism finds one of its central emphases in the study of linguistics rather than literature. The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure's theory of the structure of language is a key text for Derrida and Lacan. Saussure's work argues that meaning in language is the product of an arbitrary structural relationship. The relationship of the signifier—or word—to the signified—or meaning of the word—is created by default. The word 'tree' has no intrinsic relationship to the tall, leafy object to which it is intended to refer. Moreover, 'tree' is understood to refer to that object through a process of eliminating all of the things to which it does not refer. The emphasis in Saussure on the way in which a whole system orders meaning is indicative of structuralism. The extent to which the individual is seen as subject to the system—rather than the author of the system—is equally characteristic. This same emphasis occurs in the anthropological work of Claude Levi-Strauss, in which Levi-Strauss outlines structures of kinship relations and structures of exchange into which individuals enter. While Levi-Strauss emphasises the culturally relative nature of the specific forms these social structures take, he retains an emphasis on the power of the social system to place the individual, over and above the individual's ability to inflect those structures with specificity. Equally influential in the intellectual milieu of poststructuralist thought are the bodies of work produced by Marx and Freud. It is in Marx, specifically, that structuralism finds one of its earliest and most far-reaching narratives. Marx's theories of the nature and effect of capitalism are chronologically specific and (less self-consciously) culturally specific. He claims to explain the relationship of the working class to the industrial class and of both classes to their work and the products of that work. While Marx is, of course, famously 30 interested in the power of the individual to effect change, he nonetheless shares with Saussure and Levi-Strauss an emphasis on the power of the system (capitalism) to place the individual within it. Freud's work is another important component of this heterogeneous school, and his work will be dealt with in less cursory terms subsequently. It is worth adding here that in his work the ability of individuals to exercise their 'rational free wi l l ' is also circumscribed. The actions and judgements of individuals are, in Freud's work, understood to be subject to forces beyond their control. While Freud locates those structural forces, in part, in the internal workings of the individual (in the unconscious) he also posits a structural family relationship (the Oedipus complex) into which the individual is placed. Trained in psychology and a student of the 'neo-Marxist' Louis Althusser, poststructuralist critic Michel Foucault produced a body of work shaped by a desire to undermine the totalizing claims of these competing structuralist narratives. Foucault's work, itself explicitly heterogeneous, emphasises the need to examine the functioning of local systems of power in order to disrupt the generalising narratives of structuralism. Foucault argues that "a whole set of knowledges [... ] have been disqualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity [....] It is through the re-appearance of this knowledge, of these local popular knowledges, these disqualified knowledges, that criticism performs its work"("Two Lectures" 82). Foucault's work is also greatly influenced by that of Nietzsche. Foucault borrows and expands Nietzsche's critique of objectivity and reason as the tools of knowledge ("Nietzsche, Genealogy, History" 139-164). Foucault 31 follows Nietzsche in his assumption that every claim to know something 'as it truly is' is an interested claim. His work becomes increasingly concerned with understanding how competing claims to 'know' become either institutionalized and legitimated or subjugated and repressed. Foucault argues that specialised discourses, once institutionalised, become further interested in the support of the institution's (and their own) legitimacy. Not coincidentally, he returns to England at the time of its first colonial expansion, to explicate this phenomenon, in his lecture on "The Discourse of Language". Going back a little in time, to the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and particularly in England—a will to knowledge emerged which, anticipating its present content, sketched out a schema of possible, observable, measurable and classifiable objects; a will to knowledge which imposed upon the knowing subject—in some ways taking precedence over all experience—a certain position, a certain viewpoint, and a certain function [....] But this will to truth, like other systems of exclusion, relies on institutional support: it is both reinforced and accompanied by whole strata of practices such as pedagogy—naturally—the book-system, publishing, libraries, such as the learned societies in the past, and laboratories today. But it is probably even more profoundly accompanied by the manner in which knowledge is employed in a society, the way in which it is exploited, divided and, in some ways, attributed. (219) 32 Foucault's emphasis on the complicity of scholars and scholarly institutions in the production and maintenance of discourses, which "imposed upon the knowing subject" a particular world view, has formed one of the chief influences on postcolonial theory. Stuart Hall invokes Foucault in his characterisation of the field: "With 'colonisation,' and consequently with the 'post-colonial,' we are irrevocably within a power-knowledge field of force. It is precisely the false or disabling distinction between colonisation and representation, which is being refused [in postcolonial theory]" ("When Was the Post-Colonial?" 254). In more specific terms Edward Said's Orientalism reflects the influence of poststructuralism, as it is conceptualised by Foucault, on postcolonial theory. This text and Said's work in general will be dealt with more fully later. It is worth noting here, however, some of the specific intersections of poststructuralism and postcolonial theory in this work. In the introduction to Orientalism Said acknowledges Foucault's influence and notes that it is his notion of discourse that Said has found useful in his study of Western formulations of knowledge about the 'Orient' (3). Said's definition of Orientalism here has clear resonance with Foucault's work: "Orientalism can be discussed and analysed as the corporate institution for dealing with the Orient—dealing with it by making statements about it, authorising views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring and having authority over the Orient" (3). Here too, it is possible to see the influence of poststructuralist methodology in the extent to which Said expands the legitimate objects of Literary Studies from the canonical texts with which he is familiar to include the artefacts of geography, sociology, anthropology and politics. 33 Throughout his work, Said continually emphasises the interested nature of 'objective' observations about the Orient. However, he recasts Foucault's notion of a "wil l to knowledge" in more humanist terms, describing the discourse of Orientalism as "a kind of willed human work1'' (original emphasis, 15). For Said, the individual plays both an unconscious and a conscious role in expressing his/her self-interest. The text has an author. Orientalist scholars are both subject to the specific cultural context in which they live and work, and able to consciously inflect their work with their own interests and will to power. As Robert Young has observed in his analysis of Orientalism: "Unlike his theoretical mentor Foucault, who was specifically concerned to attack the human as an explanatory or experiential category, Said constantly appeals to the values of humanism and to the notion of the 'human spirit'" (White Mythologies 131). As Young goes on to point out, this difference with Foucault illuminates one of the ongoing conflicts between postcolonial critiques of European humanism and the desire to retain humanist notions of free will and progress. In her recent evaluation of postcolonial theory Leela Gandhi has provided a useful discussion of the evolution of humanist discourse. She argues that the term humanism has been used to identify two chronologically distinct, i f ideologically overlapping, approaches to the history and consequences of humanism. The first is concerned with humanism as a cultural and educational program which began in Renaissance Italy in about the mid-sixteenth century and evolved progressively into the area of studies we now practise and preach as the humanities. The second distinctly poststructuralist approach [... ] identifies humanism with the theory 34 of subjectivity and knowledge philosophically inaugurated by Bacon, Descartes and Locke, and scientifically substantiated by Galileo and Newton. (28) The discourse of humanism emerges as part of the transition within Europe from cultures which defined themselves as part of 'Christendom' to cultures which defined themselves in relation to rationality and in relation to their ability to demonstrate philosophical and technological progress. Gandhi points to Kant's definition of the Enlightenment as "a way out of, or exit from, immaturity into the improved condition of maturity. The Enlightenment, he maintains, is the possibility whereby man philosophically acquires the status and capacities of a rational and adult being" (30). Gandhi goes on to assert that this notion of a continuum of development-from immature child to mature adult-becomes a crucial component of imperialist rhetoric in England. She argues that, on the one hand, humanist rhetoric posits the potential for human progress for all, and that, on the other hand, the notion of development at the core of Enlightenment humanism implies that there is an immature and irrational (colonial) subject who is less than fully human. Gandhi's argument is not without precedent. Martiniquan intellectual Aime Cesaire anticipated many of the issues which Ghandi and other postcolonial critics have raised in relation to the discourse of Enlightenment humanism. In his Discourses on Colonialism, Cesaire interrogates the humanist model of the enlightenment of humanity through the application of reason to the ethical and intellectual questions of being in the world. In the face of the thesis that colonial violence was simply an aberration of humanist values, Cesaire argues that such violence is, and always has been, a component of humanism. He sees the 35 category 'human' as an exclusive one, which white, bourgeois Europeans always reserved for themselves. The result is that a notion of the 'inhuman' and hence exploitable subject is always implicit within the term 'human.' Cesaire goes on to quote the racist French intellectual Renan (to whom Said devotes attention as well) on this score: 'We aspire not to equality but to domination. The country of a foreign race must become once again a country of serfs, of agricultural labourers, or industrial workers. It is not a question of eliminating the inequities among men but of widening them and making them into law.' TfThat rings clearly, haughty, and brutal and plants us squarely in the middle of howling savagery. But let us come down a step. |Who is speaking? I am ashamed to say it: it is a Western humanist, the 'idealist' philosopher, (original emphasis, 15) Cesaire turns the civilized/savage dichotomy around and judges humanism to be the basis of savagery. Writing only a few years after the end of World War II, he makes the compelling argument that Fascism was the logical outcome of the inhuman behaviour of the 'enlightened,' colonising countries of Europe. Cesaire writes: "they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, [... ] they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimated it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples" (14). Cesaire rejects European humanism absolutely, as a myth sustained by a capitalist bourgeois will to economic and cultural power. For Cesaire, the rejection of humanism, however, does not rule out the possibility for human agency. His vision of the possibility of a proletarian revolution (61) explicitly sets his work apart from Foucault's notion of the over-determining 36 and multiple vectors of power which locate and shape the individual. In practice, however, Foucault's enactment of poststructuralism is somewhat less pessimistic. Poststructuralism, and Foucault's work in particular, has been criticised for proposing a model in which there is no room for resistance—a criticism which, incidentally, has also been levelled at Said's description of Orientalist discourse by Parry and Bhabha. If the overlapping systems of power generated within institutions and through spatial and social configurations are always there—always preceding the individual's entry into them—then the question remains: at what point can the individual effect change or disrupt those power formations? Foucault's answer to this problem is both methodological and practical. He suggests as a methodology the "archaeological" excavation of the un-institutionalized, oppositional and local discourses that disrupt and disturb the continuity of past and present institutionalised discourses. In more pragmatic terms, having written a book on the history of the prison in France, he also went on to publish the work of prisoners in France's contemporary prison system. Foucault's intellectual and political response to the ethical bind which arises out of his work, like Said's invocation of the human will , have, in turn, been criticised by Robert Young and others as logically inconsistent.6 Postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak criticises Foucault precisely for invoking "the worker" as a human agent of change. She suggests that Foucault represents the worker as somehow existing beyond the reach of the institutional and cultural influences which he outlines elsewhere ("Can the Subaltern Speak?" 272-275). In the same essay, Spivak goes on to critique the 'archaeological' practice of unearthing and circulating subjugated knowledges 37 in the colonial context, particularly as it is practised by the Subaltern Studies group. While she sees their work as productive in some respects, she points to the limits of what can be recovered, and the difficulties inherent in producing those subjugated texts in a manner free from the historiographer's own desires and projections. Spivak answers the question posed in her title—can the subaltern speak?—with a qualified 'no.' She argues that the category of the subaltern is itself the product of contemporary relations of power which fail to sufficiently distinguish between the heterogeneous positions that colonised and/or subaltern subjects have held in relation to institutions of authority. That is to say, she argues that the categories of class, caste and gender function differently to place the subaltern within or outside the dominant discourse. Spivak is particularly concerned here to demonstrate the difficulties that the female subaltern subject encounters in an attempt to leave an 'artefact' or trace—to account for the extent to which she may be written out of history so exhaustively as to be unable to 'speak' to the Foucauldian historiographer.7 As an alternative practice, Spivak endorses the use of a different vein of French poststructuralism: deconstruction. She advocates, in particular, the work of the Franco-Algerian philosopher Jacques Derrida. Derrida's work has in common with Foucault's an interest in disrupting the 'grand narratives' of civilizational progress generated by Enlightenment Humanism. His approach, however, is quite different from that of Foucault. In one of his earliest critiques of structuralism, the 1966 lecture "Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," Derrida interrogates the definition of 'structure' itself, in abstract terms. He argues that the idea of a structure (of linguistic relations or social relations) depends on its fixity—that is, it depends on some component of the structure being always the same. Proletarians, for example, are always alienated from their labour. They 38 always have the same structural relation to their work. What Derrida suggests is that these structures are always made up of heterogeneous examples. These "contents, elements, or terms" (279) are held together by the idea that there is something other than particular "contents, elements, or terms" which acts as an organising principle for the structure. Derrida proposes that this organising principle—the centre around which the contents of the structure adhere—does not exist. Structures and structural theories are, then, simply collections of elements and terms. They are always local discourses. Derrida goes on to suggest that this 'discovery' is only possible after "the moment when European culture—and, in consequence, the history of metaphysics and of its concepts—had been dislocated, driven from its locus, and forced to stop considering itself as the culture of reference" (282). In this sense the insularity of European culture allowed European notions of history, progress and the nature of the human to remain unquestioned. The Enlightenment understanding of the (white, male) individual conceived of that individual as a discrete, self-conscious, and centred presence. That model of the individual, in turn, acted as a model for the structure as discrete, knowable and possessing a central organising presence. With the disruption of the European notion of the individual, Derrida argues, comes the disruption of European philosophical projects based on the concept of structural relations. Derrida's ongoing focus has not been on the non-European philosophical models that disrupted Western metaphysics. He has worked instead on 'unfolding' or 'deconstructing' the logic binding the arguments of individual Western philosophers together. His work, while nominally enabled by the de-centring of European thought, is itself centrally concerned with European thought and, indeed, with that exemplar of Western philosophy: Plato.8 39 While Spivak finds the specificity of Derrida's practice useful, other postcolonial theorists have found that his work reinforces the Eurocentric focus that it proposes to disrupt. Helen Tiffin argues in this vein that: 'Otherness' as a source of interest, revivification, even celebration (and certainly academic exploitation) is pervasive in European and Euro-American post-structuralist theory. But as it is currently theorised, it remains perpetually foreclosed, its apparent avenues of newness and difference always turning out to be cul-de-sac contained by that same European archive [....] Post-structuralist excursions into difference, still rediscover Europe. ("Transformative Imageries" 429) Tiffin's critique, however, points to one of the models of poststructuralist thought which has been used pervasively in postcolonial criticism: the self/other binary. Influenced by both the German philosopher Friedrich Hegel and the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, postcolonial criticism has adopted (and adapted) the notion that the individual and the nation gain a sense of self through the production of an opposite or other. The human is defined through a depiction of the inhuman. Said adopts this model of identity formation in Orientalism. He argues that the work of the European Orientalist was driven by the need to define the non-European other in order to secure a sense of a cohesive European identity. Homi Bhabha and Abdul JanMohammed have adopted a more psychoanalytically informed version of this model of identity formation. Bhabha draws jointly on the work of Frantz Fanon and Lacan to develop a model of the relationship formed between the colonising 'self and the colonised 'other,' in which the 'other' is able to respond to the 40 discourse generated by the European coloniser. In Bhabha's terms, colonised subjects are able to inflect the coloniser's discourse with a subversive ambivalence as they mimic that discourse. Like Bhabha, JanMohammed draws on Lacan's work, expanding Bhabha's argument to suggest that the colonial discourses that denigrate the colonised create a sense of self-congratulatory pleasure in the coloniser: "Thus the ideological function of all 'imaginary' and some 'symbolic' colonialist literature is to articulate and justify the moral authority of the coloniser and—by positing the inferiority of the native as a metaphysical fact~to mask the pleasure the coloniser derives from that authority" (84). Tiffin's point concerning this trend is that it tends, in practice, to involve the critical examination of European colonialist literatures about the 'Orient' in order to better understand the functioning of the European subject. This critical practice continues to follow the texts that it critiques in as far as the centrality of the European subject is maintained, as an object of critical inquiry. Both Tiffin and JanMohammed posit the reading of contemporary postcolonial literary texts as a way out of the theoretical cul-de-sac of poststructuralist concerns with the history of European discourses and subjectivity. Against this proposal a number of postcolonial critics have argued that it is not more text but rather less text that is needed. Benita Parry summarises a general critique of the literary and linguistic emphasis found in poststructuralist methods: When language is taken as the paradigm of all meaning—creating or signifying systems, the significant disparities between construing the structure of language and explaining the forms of social practice are collapsed, and because human practice is perceived as mimicking the forms of writing, what 41 is offered is the World according to the Word. A procedure which reduces the dynamics of historical processes to the rules of language. ("Postcolonial: Conceptual Category of Chimera?" 12) A similar critique has been levelled by Aijaz Ahmad, who goes so far as to compare deconstructive practice with Literary Studies' New Criticism—suggesting that both practices isolate the text from its historical-material context (55). Ironically, JanMohammed has levelled the same criticism himself. He critiques Bhabha for repressing "the political history of colonialism" (60) in his analysis of colonial discourse. JanMohammed goes on, however, to present a methodology for reading colonialist literature and analyses a number of colonialist novels in his own work. Indeed, none of these critics suggests the omission of the study of language and literature altogether. They argue, rather, that it is necessary to distinguish "between material and discursive practices" in order to "understand more clearly the contradictions between the covert and overt aspects of colonialism" (JanMohammed 62). In response to critiques of Bhabha's rendering of'the world as the word,' Robert Young has proposed a recuperation of Bhabha's work by focusing on Bhabha's use of the concept of "enunciation": "He takes seriously Said's claim that Orientalism is a 'discourse,' and therefore utilises the technical apparatus of discourse analysis. Orientalism may be a representation but it also takes part in an entire discursive field, any consideration of which, he argues, must include the question of enunciation, that is, of who is speaking to whom" (White Mythologies 142). What Young proposes, in his elaboration of Bhabha's work, is that the category of enunciation contains the text/word and its context/world. Without losing 42 a linguistic emphasis, the concept of enunciation nonetheless addresses the material and the psychoanalytic context in which something is said or written. Moreover, Young argues, in focusing on the subject who is speaking (in admittedly abstract terms) this concept incorporates a notion of the agency of the speaker. In speaking from somewhere to someone the individual inflects that speech with what Bhabha terms a disruptive ambivalence. The colonised subject 'speaks back' to the dominant discourse. While Young attempts to recuperate the textualism of deconstructive methods, critics such as Ahmad and JanMohammed follow Cesaire and Fanon in proposing the application of historical materialist methods to postcolonial analysis. These critics emphasise the need to link colonial discourse to the violent material exploitation of colonial labour and resources. Poststructuralism, however, is itself influenced by Marx's and Althusser's notions of ideology. As Benita Parry points out, Althusser's influence is felt directly, and indirectly through his student Foucault's subsequent influence on postcolonial thought: It was also from within Western Marxism that ideology was reconceived not as false consciousness but as the means of constituting concrete individuals as subjects, the subject denoting both subjectivity and subjection. I have here referred to the work of Althusser, and [... ] his disposals of a Marxism that drew on the theories of Freud and Lacan to explain the multiple determinants of subject-formation, [and which] continue to circulate as i f unconsciously in the larger contemporary discussion on the uncertain relationship between objective structural position, or social interest, and political identification. ("Postcolonial: Conceptual Category of Chimera?" 6) What Parry's comments highlight is the emphasis in Althusserian and postcolonial Marxism on the question of subject-formation—a question that has moved Althusser and 43 others to turn to psychoanalytic accounts of subjectivity. In these terms the economic structure does not 'place' the individual by itself. Economic and social relations are supported through the production of cultural identifications and representations. Rosemary Hennessy and Rajeswari Mohan's work is indicative of this trend. Like Ahmad and JanMohammed, Hennessy and Mohan suggest that a focus on the economics of nineteenth century colonialism and twentieth century neo-imperialism must be paired with attention to the extent to which ideological power is exercised in support of economic exploitation: Locating the economic sphere as the prime mover of social change ignores the crucial work performed by ideology in reproducing existing modes of production through its work of interpolating [sic] or constituting subjects. From a post-Althusserian understanding of the social, popular culture can be seen as not just a reflection of economic and political forces, but as a site where ideological work is continuously produced out of diverse political and economic interests to disrupt or to re-secure existing social arrangements. (466) In this sense then, the psychoanalytic and the Marxist veins of poststructuralism find common ground in their interest in the forces which produce the individual's or the social group's sense of self. The neo-Marxist caveat to that concentration on identity-formation is the need to always remember that there are institutions or groups with specific material interests in the shape subjectivity takes. Renata Salecl, along with Slavoj Zizek, Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau, has applied Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to the function of ideology in contemporary 44 European politics. In Salecl's work, in particular, an Althusserian model of ideology is integrated with a Lacanian model of subject formation, and both are read through popular culture.9 In a 1998 address, Salecl argues that the manner in which individuals form identifications with political and social groups is changing. She points to a shift from a modern order, in which the individual identified authority with the leader of the political or social or juridical system. Following Lacan, she argues that the individual identified that leader with authority in general, and, as a result, looked to that leader as the source of meaning and order. Salecl goes on to assert that the modern order has given way to a different system of authority and identity: In today's society the way the subject identifies with the symbolic order has changed. The dissolution of the traditional family structure changed the subject's relation towards authority, which means that the subject nowadays appears as someone who is in a position to freely choose his or her own identity, including even his or her sexual orientation. [.... Until recently] the authority of the law (i.e. symbolic prohibition) [was] still at work in this society. The law [was] linked to the role of the father; and in taking a position against this law, i.e. by distancing himself or herself form this law, the modern subject acquires his or her 'freedom.' In contrast, in post-modern society we have a total disbelief in authority and in the power of the symbolic order. ("Do We Still Believe in Authorities," unpublished transcript) The result, she argues, is that individuals now look to themselves as an "ideal." This state of affairs is perpetuated and exploited by capitalism; its slogans encourage the consumer to buy a new or multiple identity in the form of clothing or perfume, such as the "Calvin Klein 45 perfume, Contradiction, which is advertised with the motto: 'She is always but never the same.'" Critiques of the application of poststructuralist theories to political systems centre largely on the tendency in those theories to figure the individual as subject to the structure. Salecl's work, while attending to very specific popular and political examples, nonetheless follows Lacan in arguing that the subject is always placed by the system. For Salecl, as for most critics working in postcolonial theory, there is a desire to locate a point of agency for the subject, to understand how the subject can actively resist both discursive and economic forces. The call to political activism and resistance proposed by critics such as Ahmad, in the vein of Fanon and Cesaire, suggests two other disciplines which themselves rose out of active political struggles. It was from African American Studies and Women's Studies that postcolonial theory borrowed both political impetus and theoretical frameworks for the reading of "the dominant cultural texts of the colonising West" (Ahmad 63). Moreover, these fields have wrestled with the ethical implications of poststructuralist models of power and discourse. As in postcolonial theory, scholars in these fields have found that poststructural models are sometimes in conflict with pre-existing models of an intellectual and ethical agency arising out of self-consciousness and experience. Particularly American: African American Studies and Postcolonial Theory Ahmad argues that the rise of postcolonial theory from Commonwealth Literary Studies was similar to the rise of African American Studies in the U.S. He adds, however, that in its incarnation as Third World or Area Studies, postcolonial theory "attracted few Black intellectuals" (87). Ahmad suggests that in the U.S. the categories first of 'Third 46 World,' then "Commonwealth," and finally "postcolonial," were understood to refer by definition to "other minorities, the ones who were constituted not by slavery but by immigration" (87). This disciplinary and historical divide has also been remarked upon by critics working in African American Studies, such as Christine McCleod and bell hooks. These critics go on to argue, however, that the discipline of African American Studies and postcolonial theory ought to be brought into greater contact—a goal which I share. As bell hooks so succinctly puts it: "Sometimes, it seems that the work of Fanon, C.L.R. James, Memmi, Walter Rodney, answered lots of questions that I hear folks still raising"(Yearning 229). Furthermore, as this section will attempt to demonstrate, the connections between the histories to which these two disciplines lay claim are deeply enmeshed—and hooks' comments are equally applicable in reverse. While Ahmad's point concerning the historical specificity of the experience of slavery in the U.S. is well taken, that history is not unrelated to the history of the Caribbean. Indeed, Caribbean intellectuals such as Fanon and C.L.R. James have influenced African American intellectual and political movements, just as African American intellectuals like W.E.B. Du Bois have influenced Caribbean intellectual and political movements (Possnock 328).1 0 I will look specifically at some of the recent discussions in African American Studies of concerns shared by postcolonial theorists. Those concerns will be narrowly defined as the role of the cultural sphere in producing political, social and psychological emancipation, and the use of European poststructuralist models in co-ordination with what Henry Louis Gates Jr. has called "a black formal cultural matrix" (79). The choice of the specific intellectuals whose work will be discussed is dictated in part by the extent to which those individuals have become central to contemporary intellectual work in African American Studies. 47 As African American critics and writers forged new venues for publication and critical discussion in the early part of the twentieth century, specifically literary or hermeneutic debates arose to accompany the political debates about the relationship of race to culture in which intellectuals and activists like W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells and others engaged. In a 1930 essay Sterling A. Brown addresses the role of cultural production within the movement towards political emancipation. His critique anticipates a number of issues that have persisted in both African American Literary Studies and postcolonial theory: Certain fallacies I have detected within at least the last six years are these: *|We look upon Negro books regardless of the author's intention, as representative of all Negroes, i.e. as sociological documents. ^We insist that Negro books must be idealistic, optimistic tracts for race advertisement. *[fWe are afraid of truth-telling, satire. fWe criticise from the point of view of bourgeois America, of racial apologists. (70) The notion that the colonised and/or racialized artist ought to produce "sociological documents" which will accurately and representatively define the reality of their cultural context is one that arises, in part, out of colonialist ethnographic and political practices. The so-called "native informant" or translator is an important figure for the colonising culture (John 2). European colonialist regimes attempted to suggest that it was incumbent on the colonised and racialized subject to translate his/her own cultural practices in order to enable the colonising administration's rule. At the same time the administration urged the colonised subject's adoption of the linguistic and cultural practices of that dominant culture. 48 The second "fallacy" which Brown lists is also one which recurs in both postcolonial literary studies and contemporary debates in African American cultural criticism. In the 1960s and 1970s debates in Commonwealth Literary Studies, particularly those concerned with the work of Trinidadian novelist V.S. Naipaul, raised very similar questions concerning the responsibility of postcolonial writers to be either representative or accurate or idealistic in their work. Naipaul was criticised for writing in pessimistic and negative terms about colonised subjects. Similar debates occurred in the U.S., in relation to both novelistic and media representations of African Americans. In the 1980s "The Cosby Show," for example, became the locus of debates about the role that African American writers, artists and actors ought to play in representing African Americans. Brown's argument is also echoed in the work of Martiniquan psychologist and political activist Frantz Fanon. Fanon raises the same kinds of questions regarding the role of the artist or creative writer in producing a representative creative work. Fanon, however, is interested in the role that the creative artist plays in sustaining a struggle for liberation from the colonising authority. He argues that a period of cultural nationalism is necessary to the struggle for independence. He suggests that the work of colonialism was supported by the erasure or gross mis-representation of the culture and history of a subject people and, unlike Brown, argues that it is necessary to re-write that culture and history in idealistic terms ("Address to the First Congress of Negro Writers and Artists" 34). His argument follows Brown's final statement, however, in suggesting the need for a generation of writers and artists who do not re-iterate a bourgeois aesthetic formed, in Fanon's terms, by the assimilation of the values of the colonising culture.11 49 In the 1960s, the issues raised by Brown return through Fanon to inform the Black Power movement in the United States. The Black Power movement followed on the heels of the increasing success of the activism of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the legislative campaigns funded by the N A A C P . I will be focussing here specifically on the Black Power movement because of the influence of Fanon on that movement, and because the proponents of Black Power, far more than the SCLC and the N A A C P , returned to and revised discussions concerning the role of culture in the construction of a communal identity. In their outline of the goals and methods of the Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee, Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton discuss the role of the 'native informant,' or what Bhabha would later call the "mimic man": In a manner similar to that of the colonial powers in Africa, American society indicates avenues of escape from the ghetto for those individuals who adapt to the 'mainstream.' This adaptation means to disassociate oneself from the black race, its culture, community and heritage, and become immersed (dispersed is another term) in the white world. What actually happens, as Professor E. Franklin Frazier pointed out in his book, Black Bourgeoisie, is that the black person ceases to identify himself with black people yet is obviously unassimilate [sic] with whites. He becomes a'margin man' (Black Power 30) Carmichael's and Hamilton's invocation of "the colonial powers of Africa" is not an accident here. While Ahmad may be correct in suggesting the extent to which scholars of African American Studies sought to establish an academic sphere distinct from Third World 50 Area Studies, it is nonetheless the case that the Black Power movement invoked precisely that comparison in its own motivational rhetoric. Much of the force of the first chapters of Black Power depends upon the repeated definition of 'the' African American community as a colony. Carmichael and Hamilton argue specifically in their introduction that "Black Power means that black people see themselves as part of a new force sometimes called the 'Third World'" (xi). This comparison is made in an era in which colonial Africa and Asia were in the process of an often violent de-colonisation. The comparison of the treatment of African Americans to the treatment of, for example, the F L N in Algeria reframed the debate that the civil rights movement brought to the fore in the 1960s. It also upset the propagation of the image of America as a rebellious former colony itself, recasting the Anglo-American rebel-citizen as a colonialist oppressor.12 Against the calls of the N A A C P and the SCLC for equal access to existing American political, educational and social institutions, the Black Power movement, 13 as represented by Carmichael and Hamilton, posited a need for separation. As postcolonial discussions of other nationalist movements have suggested, nationalism involves a definition of a common domestic community against a distinct exterior community—of the national 'self against the colonialist 'other.' One of the conflicts within Black Nationalist movements concerned competing desires to refute the rhetoric of biological racism while nonetheless arguing for the positively defined internal homogeneity of a community marked by racism. It is also worth noting that Black Nationalism was not in itself a homogeneous political movement. The vein of nationalism represented by the authors of Black Power, and their affiliate organisation SNCC, was joined in this period by the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. These groups differed in 51 the extent to which they saw culture as a battleground for the formation of a separate black nation. In a 1968 interview Black Panther Party member Huey P. Newton rejects the call of "cultural nationalism" issued by both SNCC and the Nation of Islam: "We say the only way we're going to be free is by seizing political power which comes through the barrel of a gun. We say that we will identify [with a common cultural heritage] but there are many things connected to the culture [of Africa] that we don't feel is necessary to return to" ("An Interview with Huey P. Newton" 539). In contrast, SNCC advocated, with Fanon, for the necessity of (re-) establishing a cultural history and for the production of an intellectual sphere arising out of the study of that history. Carmichael and Hamilton assert that "our basic need is to reclaim our history and our identity from what must be called cultural terrorism" (34-35). In a different vein, the Nation of Islam provided an Islamic heritage for African Americans with a new unifying point of origin in the lost tribe of Shabazz from which, Elijah Mohammed argued, they had descended. Though he ultimately broke with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X continued to advocate the formation of an Islamic black nation. The means of forming this nation were, in his terms, "to restore communications with Africa" and to "liberate our minds through the study of philosophies and psychologies, cultures and languages that did not come from our racist oppressors" (qtd. in Van Deberg 110-11).14 While black nationalist movements were not homogeneous in themselves, there was nonetheless a tendency within each of these movements to establish a singular narrative of African American history and African American community. The narratives they produced 52 were, on the one hand, politically useful tools for building support and political coalition; on the other hand, these narratives tended to elide differences within the communities that supported them. One of the divisive factors within black nationalist movements was the official and unofficial sexism of their practices and policies. Gender inequity was to be institutionalized by the Nation of Islam as one of its religious principles. Less overt sexism was becoming apparent to the members of other Black Nationalist organizations. SNCC member Francis M . Beal notes that while the male activist "sees the [racist] system as it really is," he is less perceptive about gender oppression: "when it comes to women, he seems to take his guidelines from the pages of The Ladies Home Journal" (qtd. in Morgan 343). Likewise, a female member of the Black Panther Party suggests, in an anonymous interview, that the organisation of the political party involved the delegation of secretarial tasks to women and leadership roles exclusively to men (qtd. in Van Deberg 258). Carmichael and Newton further perpetuated the sexism inherent in their organizations with off-hand comments like Carmichael's that "the only position for women in SNCC is prone" (qtd. in Morgan 35). Subsequent critics of the sexism of black nationalist movements have argued, in more general terms, that the citizen of the national community is constructed as masculine, involving both the metaphorical and actual elision of the role that women play in the polis. bell hooks and Paul Gilroy have levelled this critique specifically at the nationalist vein of the Black Power movement, bell hooks writes: The discourse of black resistance has almost always equated freedom with manhood, the economic and material domination of black men with castration, emasculation. Accepting these sexual metaphors forged a bond 53 between oppressed black men and their white male oppressors. They shared the patriarchal belief that revolutionary struggle was really about the erect phallus, the ability of men to establish political dominance that could correspond to sexual dominance. (58)1 5 hooks' critique outlines the extent to which gender identifications complicated the political aims of a race-based political movement. These political movements towards emancipation, and in some cases radical political separation, addressed themselves to the aesthetic-cultural sphere through the Black Arts movement. This movement was, in the words of one of its founding members, "the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept," which "propose[s] a radical reordering of the western cultural aesthetic" (Neal 184). In advocating for the central importance of the cultural sphere and in developing a theory of cultural production, the Black Arts and the Black Power movements were in sympathy with the work of African anti-colonialist activists such as Chinua Achebe, Amilcar Cabral and Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Cabral, for example, argues in "National Liberation and Culture" that "the value of culture as an element of resistance to foreign domination lies in the fact that culture is the vigorous manifestation on the ideological or idealist plane of the physical and historical reality of the society that is dominated or to be dominated" (54). The Black Arts movement understood the 'interested' nature of its own canon-building activities as primarily the production of a distinct black public/political/aesthetic sphere. The definition of those texts as inherently or representatively African American, however, was not on the whole theorised as an 'interested' construction. As Don L. Lee writes, black art and music in particular were understood as "a creative extension of our African selves" (213). 54 In the decades after the rise and fall of the Black Power and Black Arts movements, African American Studies has continued to be concerned with the development of a complex model of the role of culture in the formation of heterogeneous African American communities and histories. These concerns are evident in the efforts of literary and cultural critics, like Henry Louis Gates Jr., to anthologise and review African American art, literature and criticism. Toni Morrison has succinctly characterised the importance (for better or worse) of the work of literary scholars to this project: Canon building is Empire building. Canon defence is national defence. Canon debate, whatever the terrain, nature and range (of criticism, of history, of the history of knowledge, of the definition of language, the universality of aesthetic principles, the sociology of art, the humanist imagination), is the clash of the cultures and all of the interests are vested. ("Unspeakable Things Unspoken" 9, original emphasis) African American Literary Studies developed in the late 1970s and 1980s under some of the same theoretical influences as Commonwealth Studies: poststructuralism, Marxism and feminism. Gates has posited a poststructural characterization of his own canon-building activities, which diverges from the Black Arts movement's constructions of an authentic or inherently African American canon and criticism. While he shares the desire to "read a black text within a black formal cultural matrix, as well as its 'white' matrix," Gates goes on to suggest that the "[the black canon] is a historically contingent phenomenon; it is not inherent in the nature of 'blackness,' not vouchsafed by the metaphysics of some racial essence" (79). His rejection of "the metaphysics of some racial essence" responds to a historical form of racism that depends on the definition of distinct and deterministic racial 55 essences. His comments also reflect the influence of poststructuralist theory on contemporary debates about culture within African American Literary Studies. Poststructuralism has been used as an effective tool, in both African American Studies and postcolonial theory, for the deconstruction of representations of an object or group in terms of a central structuring "essence." Gates' work, however, expands postcolonial deconstructions of 'racial essence' by reading the construction of race into the early history of the U.S. One of Gates' best known texts elaborates a complex connection between the literary and the racial debates of the eighteenth century. In "Writing, 'Race,' and the Difference it Makes" Gates recounts the history of the eighteenth century poet Phyllis Wheatley's attempts to demonstrate that she was indeed the author of her own poetry. Gates argues that the ability to write, to master a sanctioned cultural form such as poetry, became a key marker of the humanity of white European and American settlers. Wheatley's journey towards a form of socially sanctioned legitimacy in the U.S. and England is exemplary of the way in which the 'inhuman' status of Africans was maintained by the discourse of European humanism. Gates argues that it became crucially important to Europeans and Anglo-Americans to exclude those deemed 'inhuman' from participating in the cultural arena of literary production. His argument also constitutes an important supplement to postcolonial accounts of colonial discourses on race and culture, which tend to focus on the late nineteenth century concern with hereditary or biological accounts of race and difference. In the effort to deconstruct and historicise the category of 'race' there is one area, in particular, in which African American and postcolonial critics appear to be working in concert. Toni Morrison, bell hooks, and Vron Ware have all called for the attentive 56 deconstruction of 'whiteness' as a category. Morrison's Playing in the Dark analyses the representation of race in Anglo-American literature. Like Said, she argues that the representation of 'blackness' is often constructed in relation to an implicit definition of 'whiteness.' She states that Playing in the Dark "is an effort to avert the critical gaze from the racial object to the racial subject; from the described and imagined to the describers and imaginers; from the serving to the served" (90). Like Bhabha, she argues that racialising and racist discourse affect both the object of the discourse and the author of the discourse: "[t]he scholarship that looks into the mind, imagination, and behaviour of slaves is valuable. But equally valuable is a serious intellectual effort to see what racial ideology does to the mind, imagination, and behaviour of masters" (11-12). bell hooks has also suggested that the critical tendency to focus on race, as it was deployed to construct non-Anglo peoples, perpetuates the power imbalance in which the "English eye," for example, sees everything but itself. In a call to look back at that perspective point and understand it as equally constructed, hooks writes: In far too much contemporary writing—though there are some outstanding exceptions—race is always an issue of otherness that is not white; it is black, brown, yellow, red, purple even. Yet only a persistent, rigorous, and informed critique of whiteness could really determine what forces of denial, fear, and competition are responsible for creating fundamental gaps between professed political commitment to eradicating racism and the participation in the construction of a discourse on race that perpetuates racial domination. (Yearning 54). 57 In the context of African American Studies, hooks' critique suggests a form of academic re-colonisation of 'blackness' as territory ripe for intellectual picking—a point that Helen Tiffin, Ella Shohat and Anne McClintock have made concerning the category of the mobilisation of the category of the 'other' in postcolonial theory.16 hooks' critique is itself informed by the poststructuralist notion that the identity of one group or individual is defined through the production of an 'other' group or individual which, in turn, is represented as the dominant group's opposite in values, habits and humanity, hooks' call for an examination of'whiteness' points to the difficulty inherent in using poststructuralism in a discipline shaped, in part, by a desire to produce a distinct intellectual and cultural field. The poststructuralist insistence on the necessity of the discursive relationship between the cultural and social formations of both the dominant and the subjected groups conflicts with the desire to set aside the study of European philosophical and cultural traditions in an attempt to undermine the academic privileging of those traditions. The issue has also arisen in postcolonial theory, as Tiffin's comments concerning the cul-de-sac of poststructuralist readings of European texts would suggest. What hooks' critique brings to this debate in postcolonial theory is the notion that scholars need to examine both the ways in which the colonising nation constructs its identity through the vilification and dehumanisation of the groups which form its 'other,' and the ways in which domestic relations and domestic identification produced a positive definition of 17 'Englishness,' for example, or 'whiteness.' The deconstruction not only of the Anglo-American community's construction of 'blackness' but also black nationalist constructions of the ideal [male, heterosexual] agent of 58 African American emancipation has raised another critical problem. There is a tendency in African American Studies to valorise 'race' as the most constructed - and most deconstructible - identity category. Gates' otherwise illuminating essay on "Writing and 'Race'" is exemplary of this trend: "Race is the ultimate trope of differences because it is so very arbitrary in its application. The sanction of biology contained in sexual difference, simply put, does not and can never obtain when one is speaking of 'racial difference'" (49). Appiah, in an article which appears next to Gates' in its first printing in Critical Inquiry, supports Gates' claim concerning the lack of biological sanction for racial difference: "Every reputable biologist will argue that human genetic variability between the populations of Africa or Europe or Asia is not much greater than that within those populations" ("The Uncompleted Argument" 21). That said, more recent discussions in biology have suggested the unreliability of chromosomal denominations of sexed identity. Within contemporary critical theory, both Thomas Laqueur and Judith Butler have also questioned the extent to which the apparent biological 'fact' of sexual identity has ever existed outside of constructions of masculinity and femininity. Laqueur's Making Sex traces Western, particularly European, definitions of the difference between 'male' and 'female' and finds that they have, in every case he examines, depended upon pre-existing constructions of masculinity and femininity, and indeed that the difference has not always been understood as very great. Laqueur and Butler in particular have been influenced by psychoanalysis. While the work of Lacan has been a major component of poststructuralism - which has in turn influenced African American intellectuals - the place of either Freudian or Lacanian psychoanalysis within African American Studies has been a rather tenuous one. Hortense J. 59 Spillers has presented one of the most sustained engagements with the question of the place of psychoanalysis in African American Studies. She argues that psychoanalytic theorisations of subjectivity might better account for the relationship between sexual and racial categories of identification~that it might "[constitute] the missing layer of hermeneutic and interpretative projects of an entire generation of black intellectuals now at work" (136). Spillers' evaluation of the utility of psychoanalytic models of identity formation for understanding how categories such as race and gender are constructed and maintained is prefaced, however, with an important caveat: [L]ittle or nothing in the intellectual history of African-Americans within the social and political context of the United States suggests the effectiveness of a psychoanalytic discourse revised as classical, in illuminating the problematic of 'race' on an intersubjective field of play, nor do we yet know how to historicise the psychoanalytic object and objective, invade its hereditary premises and insulations, and open its insights to cultural and social forms that are disjunctive to its originary imperatives. (135) Spillers' caveat points to precisely the concern of this work, in regards to the implications of early psychoanalytic practice within the colonisation and representation of Europe's racialized 'others.' She points specifically to the early influence of models of hereditary aetiology on psychoanalysis—the notion of biology as destiny, which will be examined at greater depth in subsequent chapters. In doing so, Spillers' work sets out an argument which has a close corollary in the work of postcolonial critic Anne McClintock. 60 McClintock has set out a sustained critique of the extent to which psychoanalysis is complicit in supporting relations of power by naturalising specific categories of identification. She suggests that Freud's model of the European family acted to naturalise and support relations of power between sexes, classes and races: [T]he family offered an indispensable figure for sanctioning social hierarchy within a putative organic unity of interests. Because the subordination of woman to man and child to adult were deemed natural facts, other forms of social hierarchy could be depicted in familial terms to guarantee social difference as a category of nature. The family image came to figure hierarchy within unity as an organic element of historical progress, and thus became indispensable for legitimising exclusion and hierarchy within nonfamilial social forms such as nationalism, liberal individualism and imperialism. The metaphoric depiction of social hierarchy as natural and familial thus depended on the prior naturalising of the social subordination of women and children, (emphasis in original, Imperial Leather 45) McClintock goes on to argue, in relation to psychoanalytic discourse, that Freud elides the role of the white working-class woman within the bourgeois family in his formulation of the Oedipal complex. Centrally, McClintock's work demonstrates that the construction of a working class, for example, cannot be examined in isolation from the construction of racial identity and gender identity: "race, gender and class are not distinct realms of experience, existing in splendid isolation from each other [.... ] they come into existence in and through relations to each other" (5). While she is extremely critical of the complicity of 61 psychoanalysis in sustaining uneven power relations through the maintenance of those categories, McClintock, like Spillers, finds psychoanalysis useful as a tool for understanding how those categories function. The conflicts produced by the use of psychoanalysis in the work of both African American and postcolonial scholars are equally apparent in the field of feminist or Women's Studies - and indeed both Spillers and McClintock work within feminist traditions. It is specifically the internal critiques of the feminist movement which first drew attention to the problematic configuration of domestic relations in Freudian psychoanalysis, to the intersection of identity categories and, finally, to the importance of identity formation in understanding relations of power. Further, Hazel Carby has pointed out that postcolonial theory owes an often unacknowledged debt to the work of feminists of colour, like Wells and Cooper, who were among the first to theorise the relationship of identity categories such as race and gender to each other, and who were among the first to trace the extent to which power was exercised through the exploitation of competing identifications (to 'race' to 'women' to 'the working class'). What to do with the Master's Tools: Feminism and Postcolonial Theory The history of feminism in the West is a varied and heterogeneous one. In this section the evolution of some specific veins of European and North American feminism will be traced with reference to the extent of their engagement with questions raised by postcolonial theory. As in the previous section, I will be specifically concerned to outline the work of feminist writers who have discussed the relationship of culture to identity and 62 power, who have addressed the usefulness and limits of poststructuralist models, and who have sought to critique the blindspots internal to feminist work. Western expressions of feminist values have not, historically, been free from some of the same imperialist and Orientalist discourses more recently criticised by feminists. Some of the earliest, and most often anthologised, expressions of women's suffrage written in English depended on imperialist rhetoric. Seventeenth century essayist Mary Astell's A Serious Proposal to the Ladies incorporates the rhetoric of colonial expansion in its elaboration of female emancipation. Astell suggests that women "are capable of nobler things than the pitiful conquest of some worthless hearts" (8). She argues that, in the place of romantic heterosexual conquests, women "should be busied in obtaining Empires" (10). While Mary Wollstonecraft's 1792 Vindication of the Rights of Women criticises the limits of Rousseau's model of the educated, liberal and decidedly male citizen, her work nonetheless plays on equally limiting racist English attitudes towards Islam, and in particular towards the Turkish "mahometan strain [of behaviour towards women]" which is repeatedly invoked in order to suggest the barbarity of English and French attitudes towards women (88).1 8 Wollstonecraft's remarks are not anachronistic. Throughout the eighteenth century the figure of the non-European woman was used to suggest the inferiority of non-European, usually Islamic, men. That discourse was, in turn, exploited by European women to advocate for greater access to education and, eventually, political enfranchisement for themselves. Vron Ware has commented extensively on this trend, arguing that "historically, the status of women in culture has often been read as an index of relative civilization, and that the figure of the white Christian woman contrasts favourably with the image of the downtrodden, submissive, Oriental, invariably Muslim, female" (150). 63 A similar argument has been made concerning nineteenth and early twentieth century feminist movements in the United States. Carby argues that "White women were implicated in the maintenance of this wider system of oppression because they challenged only the parameters of their domestic confinement; by failing to constitute their class and caste interests, they reinforced the provincialism of their movement" (267-68). That said, the early (white, bourgeois) women's suffrage movements in the U.S. were also modelled on the American movement, of the same period, to abolish slavery. Toril Moi and Kate Millet have suggested that the leaders of the suffrage movement in the mid-nineteenth century were active observers, i f limited participants in this movement: "It was around this issue ['the cause of eradicating slavery'] that American women acquired their first political experience and developed the methods they were to use throughout most of their campaign and until the turn of the century: petition, and agitation carried on to educate the public" (Millett 80). Moi has argued that the "second wave" of feminist activism in the twentieth century was equally affected by the civil rights and black nationalist movements of the 1950s and 1960s. However, she suggests that movements towards African American emancipation provided more than a model for political activism. She argues, with hooks and others, that the sexist parochialism of the black nationalist movement "contributed to the alienation of women" from these groups and their movement towards political organisation as feminists (22). The particular vein of liberal feminism inaugurated, in part, by the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique did not, however, provide respite from exclusionary rhetoric. Friedan's work is primarily concerned with representations of middle-class, heterosexual, white femininity in the two decades following World War II. She argues that 64 in both popular culture and in sociological and psychological discourses women were represented as homemakers, whose chief fulfilment was the care and feeding of their husbands and children (14). The pursuit of any activity outside the domestic sphere was, according to Friedan, deemed unfeminine. The equation of femininity with the domestic roles of wife and mother is what Friedan dubs "the feminine mystique." Friedan's book is particularly blind to the restrictions placed on working class, gay and/or minority women in its call to greater personal self-fulfilment. While her work is sometimes explicit in its description of the suburban and middle-class location of the women who are subject to the feminine mystique, that specificity is undermined by Friedan's repeated references to the "American woman."19 Working-class women tend to appear only marginally in Friedan's work, as the domestic help whom the "American woman" must decide to hire or not (224-246). Homosexuality is dealt with only in relation to male homosexuality, and this, in Friedan's terms, is characterised by a "shallow unreality, immaturity, promiscuity, [and a] lack of lasting human satisfaction" (265). The concerns of women of colour are elided almost entirely. The white, middle-class emphasis of Friedan's work, however, was not indicative of the movement as a whole during the 1960s and 1970s. Robin Morgan's 1970 publication of an anthology of feminist essays is framed specifically as a response to the limits of liberal feminism and its political organisation, the National Organisation for Women (xxii). The anthology seeks to address the problems faced by women of different classes, ages, races and sexual orientations. However, in defining a "radical feminism," against Friedan's liberal feminist position, Morgan subsumes struggles for national and economic independence into 65 the struggle against patriarchy, claiming that "capitalism, imperialism, and racism are symptoms of male supremacy" (xxxiv). Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga's publication of the influential collection This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color provided another sustained critique of the exclusivity of the vein of liberal feminism which Friedan's work represents. In the work collected by Anzaldua and Moraga, feminists of Color begin to elaborate the ways in which different categories of identification and different structures of power relations intersect. The Combahee River Collective write that they "often find it difficult to separate race from class from sex oppression because in our lives they are most often experienced simultaneously. We know that there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual, e.g., the history of the rape of Black women by white men as a weapon of political oppression" (213).20 While Anzaldua and Moraga advocate "a feminist political theory" more attentive to the experience of women from different racial-ethnic and economic backgrounds (xxiv), they nonetheless are careful to state that they are not attempting to construct themselves as unified as women of colour. Moraga adds in her "foreword" that the book's authors and audience should not be understood as one defined by 'essential' characteristics: "We are not so much a 'natural' affinity group, as women who have come together out of political necessity" ("foreword," not numbered). In this they anticipate Gates' characterisation of race and later postcolonial interrogations of both race and gender. In attempts to better understand the way in which these co-ordinates of identification and power function, English and American feminists have also turned to a vein of 'French' 71 feminism, informed by poststructuralism. Friedan cites the work of Simone de Beauvoir in 66 her preface and goes on to attempt to demonstrate, through the use of interviews and popular and scientific representations of femininity, what she thinks that de Beauvoir argues in general terms. De Beauvoir's 1948 work, The Second Sex, like The Feminine Mystique, is emphatic in dismissing the role that differences in biology play in the subjection of women. However, Friedan focuses on what she characterises as a specific historical phenomenon, in her examination of the psychic and social effects of current popular and scientific representations of femininity, whereas De Beauvoir had turned to Marxism, psychoanalysis, philosophy and anthropology for an explanation of the relation of men to women. De Beauvoir cites both Levi-Strauss and Hegel in her characterisation of the structural relations between the sexes (xvi-xvii). She argues that "woman" as a category of identification is never positively defined, but always "defined and differentiated with reference to man and not with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute—she is the Other" (xvi). De Beauvoir is emphatic in claiming that the structure of the self-other relationship is itself timeless, while the imposition of that relationship on the categories of sex is not: "The category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself. In the most primitive societies, in the most ancient mythologies, one finds the expression of a duality—that of the Self and the Other. This duality was not originally attached to the division of the sexes; it was not dependent upon any empirical facts" (xxi). Feminist critics such as Friedan focus on the notion that patriarchy is enforced through the conscious production of culturally and historically specific (sexist) representations of women. For Friedan, the historicity of such representations provides the emancipatory promise of the production of liberating 67 representations. For de Beauvoir, the assertion of an a-historical structural relation, that is not gender specific, is emancipatory. Like many of the critics collected in Morgan's anthology, de Beauvoir was also interested in the application of a historical materialist practice in the analysis of the historical circumstances that generated patriarchal models of gender relations (47-55). However, de Beauvoir holds that traditional Marxist accounts of "the problem of woman" as "the problem of her capacity for labour" are insufficient (49). She also finds Freudian psychoanalysis problematic in its inability to account for the origin of the structures it theorises (40), and "to explain why woman is the Other" (44, original emphasis). De Beauvoir concludes that while historical materialism and psychoanalysis have something to contribute to the understanding of the self/other dualism, nonetheless, "the body, the sexual life, and the resources of technology exist concretely for man only in so far as he grasps them in the total perspective of his existence. The value of muscular strength, of the phallus, of the tool can be defined only in a world of values; it is determined by the basic project through which the existent seeks transcendence" (55). Subsequent 'French feminist' have also utilised the self and other model. The work of one of these critics, Helene Cixous, will be explored more thoroughly in Chapter Six, but is worth mentioning here in brief. Some of Cixous's early work, "The Laugh of the Medusa" and "Castration or Decapitation?," is interested in demonstrating the extent to which woman is always defined in relation to man. Cixous, like de Beauvoir, is influenced by Hegel, Levi-Strauss and Lacan. She does not, however, embrace the structural universality to which their models lay claim. Both Cixous and psychoanalytic critic Luce Irigaray wage concerted attacks on these accounts of the production of meaning and subjectivity. They argue that the 68 centre or origin which sustains Lacan's model is a fantasy of masculine sexuality, or of the transcendence of the "Phallus." For them, the apparently poststructuralist work of Jacques Lacan is, in contradiction to his own assertions, anchored by the spectre of the masculine body. This body is the centre which holds the "contents, elements and terms" of his version of psychoanalysis together (Derrida 279). The work of poststructuralist theorists, and feminist critics of poststructuralism, has been adopted by some feminist and postcolonial critics working in Anglo-American universities. Chris Weedon characterises the convergence of feminist and poststructuralist interests: To say that patriarchal relations are structural is to suggest that they exist in the institutions and social practices of our society and cannot be explained by the intentions, good or bad, of individual women or men. This is not to deny that individual women and men are often the agents of oppression but to suggest that we need a theory which can explain how and why people oppress each other, a theory of subjectivity, of conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions, which can account for the relationship between the individual and the social. (3) In more specific terms, critics like Anne McClintock and Ann Laura Stoler have found poststructuralism's attention to the dependence of definitions of race, sex and class each on the other particularly productive.23 While McClintock and Stoler are very specific in their application of poststructuralist " models to historical settings, criticism has been levelled at the generalising tendencies 69 inherent in some models of poststructuralism (and feminism)—in particular, the tendency to invoke categories like 'sex' or 'patriarchy' in non-specific ways. Postcolonial feminist critic Chandra Mohanty argues that the relationship between the category "woman" and "real, material and [female] subjects of their collective histories" ought to be addressed by feminist scholarship. She is particularly attentive to the intersection of institutional, academic feminism-scholarship generated in universities by feminist intellectuals—and historical, economic and cultural relations. Mohanty argues that within the university setting, echoes of Orientalist anthropological and ethnographic discourse by Western scholars writing about the 'Third World woman' remain: Assumptions of privilege and ethnocentric universality on the one hand, and inadequate self-consciousness about the effect of Western scholarship on the 'Third World' in the context of a world system dominated by the West on the other, characterise a sizeable extent of Western feminist work on women in the Third World. An analysis of 'sexual difference' in the form of a cross-culturally singular, monolithic notion of patriarchy or male dominance leads to the construction of a similarly reductive and homogeneous notion in what I shall call the 'Third World difference.' (197-98) Like Moraga and Anzaldua, Mohanty is concerned here to point out that the category of "woman" cannot account for the distinct experiences of different women. Mohanty goes on to suggest that "patriarchy" is an equally over-generalised term in feminist discourse. As a monolithic category, "patriarchal oppression" does not attend to the distinct ways in which male dominance is incarnated in different political and cultural locations. 70 In a similar vein, Spivak argues in "French Feminism in an International Frame" that "the First World feminist must learn to stop feeling privileged as a woman" (157). Spivak is critical here of the haziness of Cixous's invocation of the category "women" and of her use of the familiar form of 'you'-her "tu-toi-ing," in reference to both First and Third World women. Like Tiffin and hooks, Spivak suggest the need to encompass both the location of a first world self and of a third world self: "However unfeasible and inefficient it may sound, I see no way to avoid insisting that there has to be simultaneous other focus: not merely who am I? but who is the other woman? How am I naming her? How does she name me?" (179). While Spivak concludes this essay with a recuperation of Cixous's notion of a feminine economy, in subsequent essays it is not to Cixous but to Derrida that Spivak returns again and again. Audre Lorde's well-known statement that "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" (original emphasis, 99) suggests a potential refusal of the deconstructive method which Spivak embraces. Deconstructive practice is precisely an attempt to dismantle the master's house with the master's tools - to rationally deconstruct European rationality in European texts. Lorde's essay, however, elaborates a less direct interrogation of deconstructive practice. She focuses on a feminists reliance on the institutions and discourses of patriarchal power, suggesting that those structures cannot be separated from the power relationship within which they were formed (99-100). This argument, in itself, is not dissimilar to Derrida's notion of interrogative structures of writing which are complicit in, and support, Western relations of dominance. Where Lorde differs from deconstruction is in her return to the category of experience. Her work here shares the tendency in Said's work to read identity as constructed 71 through power relations, while at the same time calling for a more 'accurate' definition of a particular place or identity: "in a world of possibility for us all, our personal vision helps lay the groundwork for political action. The failure of the academic feminist to recognise difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. Divide and conquer in our world, must become define and empower" (100). Lorde's return to experience and autobiography here, and in The Cancer Journals and Zami, points towards another aspect of feminist scholarship. Part of the project of literary archaeology and critical revaluation within feminist literary criticism has been directed at re-valuing the autobiography or memoir as a genre. The convergence of feminist politics and poststructural theory, as in African American Studies, has produced a theoretical and political bind. The place of experience has been problematised by poststructuralism. Recently, however, experience has returned to critical debates concerning the Euro-centric focus of some poststructuralist scholarship. Critics such as Judith Butler argue, on the one hand, that poststructuralism's detaching of gendered or racial attributes from the biological opens up the potential to see varied performances of gendered or racialized identities as equally authentic - or rather, as equally inauthentic. On the other hand, theorists such as Lorde have suggested that a repudiation of the authenticity of identity and experience is the privilege of those (white, straight, middle class) individuals whose experience and identity have been represented within the dominant discourse. Without the privilege of the institutionalisation and legitimisation of their experience as authentic, a rejection of the authenticity of their experience appears somewhat less emancipatory. 72 Critics such as Lorde advocate the circulation of representations of (authentic) experiences of difference and subjection. Lorde wants, nonetheless, to interrogate the process of representation as one in which relations of power are visible. Poststructuralist feminist work, by critics such as Butler, Cixous, Kristeva and Irigaray, had delved further into Lacanian explanations of the relationship between language, subjectivity and power. At the same time, there are increasing calls to remove the inverted commas from the terms 'race,' 'class,' 'gender' and 'sexuality'—to distinguish between the constructed nature of categories such as 'woman' and the way in which being identified as female continues to affect the experiences of women. Mary E. John, among others, has argued: Instead of striving to reduce race to an empty or illusory notion, perhaps one must take on its ineducable imbrication with other concepts, not excluding such 'unviable' markers as skin color. As Patricia Williams has it, T wish to recognise that terms like 'black' and 'white' do not begin to capture the rich ethnic and political diversity of my subject. But I do believe that the simple matter of the color of one's skin so profoundly affects the way one is treated, so radically shapes what one is allowed to think and feel [...], that the decision to generalise from such a division is valid.' (99)24 Postcolonial theory, at its intersection with poststructuralist, feminist and African American Studies, finds itself face to face with this conflict at the moment. Like the scholars working in African American and Women's Studies, postcolonial critics grapple with the explanatory complexity of poststructuralism's account of the self/other binary and the desire to drive away from the cul-de-sac of Eurocentrism. Likewise, the reduction of relations of power to the rules of language is equally unappealing. The problems raised by feminist appropriations 73 of poststructuralism have moved postcolonial scholars like Rey Chow, Asha Varadharajan and Homi Bhabha towards psychoanalytic explanations of subjectivity as a potential source for a more complex understanding of the way in which power is exercised through categories of identification. At the same time, a call for a reassessment of the relationship of experience to representation recurs in recent postcolonial writing. For postcolonial critic Edward Said, it is experience, precisely, which exceeds various formulations of 'us' and 'them,' of 'self and 'other' (Culture and Imperialism 31). A number of postcolonial critics have recently turned to psychoanalysis, for a different understanding of experience. Experience, in Freudian psychoanalysis, encompasses both existing material, social relations and the psychic affiliations which color our interpretation of those relations. In his account of experience, Freud attempts to read the mutually constitutive effects of historical circumstances (the fact of having a nursemaid or of being one, for example), and psychic desires (for the nursemaid, or the infant). As I will go on to demonstrate, historical circumstances and individual desires also adhere to the development of psychoanalysis itself. 74 Chapter Two: Charcot and the Medical Gaze Introduction Psychoanalysis developed out of a medical institution with clear social, epistemological and political ties to the metropolitan powers which propagated French and German imperial expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This does not mean, however, that psychoanalytic discourse is always equivalent to imperialist discourse, or that its concepts and theoretical framework must be dismissed in their entirety as hopelessly corrupt. The genealogy of psychoanalytic discourse which will be presented here will not be, in any sense, exhaustive. Psychoanalysis is a heterogeneous field of work, whose roots arguably stretch from Anton Mesmer's study of animal magnetism, through the 'birth of the asylum' and the development of a field of medicalised psychology in the nineteenth century. Freud inaugurated the practice of psychoanalysis at the end of the nineteenth century, and his legacy is felt today through the work of contemporary analysts and psychoanalytic theorists, in the myriad array of contemporary self-help books, and in the New Age movement's popularisation of Jung's work. The idiosyncrasies of the genealogy of psychoanalytic history presented here are, for the most part, the product of an attempt to focus on postcolonial theorists' uses of psychoanalysis. Lacanian psychoanalysis, and a more generalised concept of "self and other," borrowed from Lacan, have appeared with increasing frequency in the work of postcolonial theorists such as Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Robert Young, and are the basis of a discussion of his work. As a result of the general critical acceptance of 75 Freud as the central figure in the development of psychoanalysis, I will take up his work. Less obviously perhaps, I will begin the discussion of psychoanalysis with an examination of the work of the late nineteenth-century French neurologist Jean Martin Charcot. A recent critical evaluation of Charcot's work points out that his practice was neurological rather than psychiatric (Goetz et al 200). Nonetheless, Freud's own appropriation of Charcot's work, as one of the sole precedents for his conceptualisation of psychoanalysis, is significant. Further, Charcot's work and his social, institutional and political milieu are, to some extent, representative of the particular context of anti-Semitism, and European imperial and scientific rivalry out of which Freud's practice of psychoanalysis emerged. The distinctions between Freud's and Charcot's work, and between their conceptions of psychology, aetiology and hysteria, mark some of the important breaks that early psychoanalysis made with the popular medical discourse of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I wil l focus on the extent to which Charcot's medical practice was representative of what Homi Bhabha and Timothy Mitchell have respectively called "the epistemology of 'appearance and reality'" (Location of Culture 115) and "the world as exhibition" (Colonising Egypt 10-13). Mitchell and Bhabha both argue that the implicit and explicit justifications of nineteenth-century Western European imperialism relied, in part, on the assumption that difference was visible. The discourse of race, in late nineteenth century Western Europe, proposed a visible difference between those who had a right to self-determination and those who were not 'civilized' enough to govern themselves. Moreover, as Mitchell argues, world exhibitions and ethnographic displays in European cities provided 76 an implicit confirmation that the European spectator could see, and therefor comprehend, all that he or she surveyed in those exhibitions (5-7). Charcot's institutional and political context contributed to the production of "the epistemology of 'appearance and reality'" (115). The visual logic of Charcot's medical practice was closely tied to his theory of heredity aetiology. Charcot was a chief exponent of the view that most mental and neurological diseases were ultimately caused by 'degenerate,' inherited traits. This theory of hereditary cause is also closely tied to the discourses of eugenics and racial degeneracy. Charcot's theory of hereditary aetiology is explicitly anti-Semitic, and provides the grounds for a crucial disagreement between himself and Freud. "Le Versailles de la Douleur"1: A Brief History of Salpetriere To understand the place that Charcot and his work came to hold in France, and in the wider European intellectual-medical imaginary, it is useful to understand the institution in which he worked for most of his professional life and of which he was eventually to become director. That institution also provides a point from which to understand some of the broader social and political discourses which evolved over the course of its history.2 The institution in which Charcot developed his method and theory is a constituent part of that method and theory. Each is supported and enabled by the other. Salpetriere was founded in Paris, in 1656, as part of a large complex of buildings established by Louis XIII, as the Hopital General. The function of this vast institution was, from its inception, a combination of policing, punishing and providing for the indigent. 77 Georges Guillain reports that in 1684 Louis X I V proclaims the designated occupants of Salpetriere to be: "1) prostitutes; 2) debauched girls who could be reformed; 3) persons arrested by order of the King; and 4) women condemned to prison because of adultery" (41). Foucault describes Salpetriere in this period as, "a sort of semijudicial structure, an administrative entity which, along with the already constituted powers, and outside of the courts, decides, judges, and executes" (Madness and Civilization 40). The policing of categories of social order and of gender and sexuality are clear in both the initial edict of the Hopital General's mission, and in its spatial ordering of male criminals and indigents in one building (Bicetre), pregnant and unmarried women in another (Scipion), and prostitutes and "other women" in Salpetriere (Guillian 39). From the sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, this institution functioned to maintain social order and identity in several ways. The meta-judicial function of the administration of Salpetriere represented the King's power to impose his will on the general population. The directors of the institution were appointed for life and "exercised their powers, not only in the buildings of the Hopital but throughout the city of Paris, over all those who came under their jurisdiction" (Foucault, Madness and Civilization 40). The imposition of that will , in locating the normal (outside Salpetriere) and the "anormales" (inside Salpetriere), was reinforced by the notion of a divinely-willed natural order (Micale 706). Throughout the city, it was possible to see who could be condemned, and who could do the condemning. The internal ordering of patients conflated categories of gender, sexuality, sanity and divinity. The effects of those categorical conflations would mark representations of the 78 Hopital's patients into the late nineteenth century. Women whose sexual conduct was deemed illicit (out of wedlock or adulterous), or illegal (prostitution), and whose sexual activity produced 'biological' effects (pregnancy or venereal disease), were conflated with women who were deemed insane. This grouping suggested an association between female identity, sexual expression and madness. Foucault also says of the conception of the insane in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that it was, in part, that which had no claim to religious inspiration: "in the dialectic of insanity where reason hides without abolishing itself, religion constitutes the concrete form of what cannot go mad" (Madness and Civilization 244). In other words, the insane were to be distinguished from the possessed or the illuminated religious communicant, by definition. This default judgement of the insane, as those acting not only beyond reason but beyond God, would place an additional burden of moral judgement on the madwomen of Salpetriere. It also further reinforced a social order predicated on divine right, on a social and political hierarchy which takes as its central ordering point the chosen of God. During this period the institutions of the Hopital General were present in the social imaginary of Parisians from a diversity of positions. Mark Micale quotes one eighteenth-century observer who writes of Salpetriere: Sometimes, in the middle of a silent night, the residents of the Saint-Marcel and Saint-Victor quarters (nearest the hospital) would hear a clamour rise up, a sort of savage groaning at regular intervals. It was the cry of the hospital. Held in, suppressed for months, the energy and fury that filled the souls of 79 those poor creatures would slowly increase and then burst forth [....] This cry of alarm coming from the place produced in us a terrifying feeling. (708) The cries of the inmates could, arguably, have produced terror in the hearts of those residents of the outskirts of Paris for several reasons. They too were at the mercy of an administration who had the power to decide who should be interred and who should not—who was among the ranks of the saved and who was among the poor souls of the savage. The ordering represented by the structure of Salpetriere was audible to the residents of the south-eastern quarter of Paris and it inspired, in some, terror—not only terror of the hidden savages of the asylum but also a terror of the power of the administration of that asylum and the regal power which they represented, to which those outside Salpetriere were entirely vulnerable. For the privileged members of the Royal court, the inmates of Salpetriere were, at this group's own volition, also readily audible and visible, to an entirely different effect. Tours of Salpetriere were often arranged, and the inmates were presented in the confines of their chains, in more theatrical arrangements.3 The extent to which this display invoked pleasure and not terror in its audience was a measure of the extent to which that audience identified the power exercised over those inmates as an extension of their own power and privilege. It was also representative of the extent to which they viewed these inmates as absolutely other, or even foreign, to themselves. In this context, it is also worth emphasising that the 'savagery' of the inmates was attributed to the poverty of their souls. Salpetriere continued to be staffed throughout the eighteenth century by a nominally religious order of nuns, whose vows were limited to their promise to look after the less fortunate inmates of the institution (Guillian 47-48). The semi-80 religious realm in which the ordering of Salpetriere took place is in keeping with the broader social and political conception of a world in which France, and Europe generally, figured as "Christendom"—against which the savagery and Godlessness of the rest of the world was measured. To be within the gates of Salpetriere was to be in danger of entering the realm of savagery and of Godlessness. This parallel between the internal divisions of French subjects and the external division of Christendom and the savage world beyond, or, as Said has put it, between 'the west and the rest', allowed each division to reinforce the other. What Arm Laura Stoler has argued of nineteenth century domestic and imperial social orders, might also be said here of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century domestic and imperial orders: the distinction between the French missionary and/or explorer and the 'savages' he encountered abroad served to reinforce the legitimacy of a domestic space in which the "poor creatures" of Salpetriere were justly separated from the rest of the population. The reverse is also arguable: that the domestic spatial ordering of savage inmates and civil subjects helped to provide a template for understanding and legitimating imperial exploration and its concomitant violence. The Napoleon of Neuroses4: Charcot at Work The French revolution at the end of the eighteenth century brought with it, and was itself the product of, changing social and political conceptions of the individual citizen's relationship to power, society and the larger world. Foucault has argued that, in this changing context, institutions like Salpetriere began to be conceived of less as ostensibly charitable religio-juridical apparatuses and more as centres of scientific study and medical 81 service. This is not to say that these institutions were any less powerful in representing a form of social order to society, but rather that the shape of that order and its interests were changing. These newly conceived medical institutions were represented by the Republican state as places in which the citizen's health was maintained and the citizen's ills were cured, as well as places in which the incurably i l l were interred. Salpetriere also became part of a new conception of the nation, in which scientific discovery was valued as a measure of 'civilization'—a distinct turn from earlier notions of the state as a part of Christendom and a source of potential religious enlightenment for the non-Christian, non-European savage.5 During Napoleon's rule in the early nineteenth century, Alice Conklin argues, "the work of civilization abroad included, in addition to encouraging trade, introducing the printing press, the French language, education, medicine, preventive hygiene and the arts" (18). In this period, medicine was very much linked to the technology it employed. It was, in this sense, a practical science and a scientific technology. As such, medical technology, like the printing press, was indicative of a technologically advanced culture. That technological superiority, in turn, indicated a cultural superiority. As Conklin argues, in this period, the justification for imperial expansion and the ostensible content of colonial work had shifted to include a new emphasis on technological development, one in which medicine was to play an increasingly important role. For Salpetriere, these changes were reflected in the mythologising of the young reformer Phillipe Pinel's 'freeing' of the inmates from their chains in 1795.6 From the literal and figurative darkness of the institution's subterranean chambers, patients were brought into the newly medicalised light of a reformed Salpetriere. No longer the representatives of the savage and ungodly, the inhabitants of the asylum became the site of "an effective 82 supervision of the nation's health" (Foucault, Birth of the Clinic 45). Still very much objects of study, rather than subjects in their own right, over the course of the first half of the nineteenth century the insane of Salpetriere were 'freed' of the apparent ignorance of the clerical past. They became, instead, the objects of the rational, enlightened gaze, which located the truth of the disease not so much in the patient's living actions as in the interior of the patient's body, as the latter became available for exploration following the patient's death (Birth of the Clinic 162). It was in this context that the young Jean Martin Charcot began his medical career in the 1850s. Charcot scholar Joseph Aguayo has argued that under Napoleon Ill's regime Charcot's practice of "stressing the naturalistic-humanitarian ethos of medicine versus the fanaticism and persecutory zeal of Catholicism was [still] politically dangerous" (240). Charcot was a member of the vanguard of a cultural shift from religious to scientific notions of progress. During the first two decades of his career, Charcot advanced slowly, aided in part by his sympathetic patron, Napoleon Hi's personal physician, Pierre Rayner. Charcot's initial adherence to the early nineteenth-century anatomo-clinical model of medical practice during this period can be seen as an attempt to leaven his faith in scientific positivism with the appearance of institutional conservatism. In 1867, Charcot himself would characterize this period of medical endeavour as one in which France lost its innovative edge to Germany: "Alors les Universites allemandes eurent le spectacle nouveau pour elles d'une activite inouie, presque fievreuse. Cette fievre de travail qui n'est pas pres de s'enteindre a enfante deja plus d'une Oeuvre fondamentale. Pendant plus de dix ans, ce grand mouvement intellectuel est reste presque inapercu en 83 France" (qtd. in Lellouche 51).7 Statements such as this (and, as Aguayo reports, a tendency to make anticlerical jokes), not only jeopardised work dependant on state-funded institutions, but provoked the police to employ "a spy to attend the medical classes at the Salpetriere, attempting to monitor potentially seditious doctrines such as materialism" (Aguayo 241). The anatomo-clinical methods of the first half of the century clearly impinged on the church's doctrinal territory, in as far as this model attempted to locate and demonstrate the function of illness and health in the workings of the physical, not the spiritual, body. However, medical models of the latter half of the century, and Charcot's work in particular, made claims to understand not only the functioning of the body in the moment of death (and after, in autopsy) but also the ultimate cause of disease over time. In this vein, Toby Gelfand observes, "while earlier generations of French clinical investigators tended to regard the ultimate cause of diseases as unknowable, Charcot and his contemporaries embraced hereditary aetiology" ("Charcot's Response" 299). The claim to project causation over time was one of the primary epistemological shifts reflected in Charcot's work. Charcot's emphasis on heredity as the source and cause of an array of medical problems is traced more fully in Goetz et al's monograph, as well as in Gelfand's "Charcot's Response to Freud's Rebellion." At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the theory of hereditary degeneracy was inextricably linked to social Darwinism and to the growing popularity of eugenics. In looking to hereditary, genetic causes for physical and mental disease, the medical discourse of hereditary degeneracy provided an ostensibly 'scientific' justification for the subjection of any group represented as having genetic commonalties. As I will argue below, this connection is clear in Charcot's 84 anti-Semitic pronouncements concerning the 'genetic' susceptibility of Jewish families to disease. A recent translation of a contemporary observer's experience of one of Charcot's public lectures provides one of the most compelling accounts of the extent to which Charcot was willing to see heredity as the cause of illness, in the absence of evidence. The Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya reports her observation of a dialogue between Charcot, his assistant, a young boy suffering from chorea, and the boy's mother. Charcot first declares that "[the boy's] illness is hereditary." A n assistant responds that "the mother assures us that there have been no such cases" in her family in the past, and the dialogue continues: 'Probably you did not interrogate her thoroughly enough!' Charcot disagrees impatiently. 'They themselves always forget what diseases they have had in their family,' he explains to his listeners, and begins to question the mother of the sick boy himself. She herself has such a healthy and flourishing appearance that it is hard to suspect her of having passed on the seed of this terrible disease to her son. 'Your husband is probably frequently sick?' asks, or rather, confirms Charcot. 'Oh, no, he is in perfect health. I have never seen him sick.' 'He is probably old, much older than you?' 'Oh no, we are the same age.' 85 'But is it true, in this case, that your husband is the real father of your child?' Charcot asks rudely, and one can hear irritation in his voice. The students giggle respectfully. 'Oh, monsieur!' is the only response of which the mother, embarrassed in the extreme, is capable. 'Eh bien voyons, cherchons ailleurs,' Charcot continues, already softer, since he apparently regrets his excess himself. But all of his interrogations lead to nothing. Not only, it appears, are father and mother both completely healthy, and have two other completely healthy children in addition to the sick boy, but all four of their grandparents are still alive as well, and despite their advanced age they, too, are in wonderful health. But Charcot does not give up. 'Let us go on to the uncles and aunts,' he says calmly. 'Try to remember, madam, weren't there some eccentric characters in your family. Didn't somebody emigrate to America? How many brothers and sisters did you have? And what is their story?' With this mention of her sisters, the young woman, who earlier maintained an imperturbably calm, becomes embarrassed and loses her confidence. Charcot, when he realises that he has finally found a painful spot, intensifies his onslaught. Finally, the poor woman has to confess that she indeed had a sister qui a mal tourne, such that the family completely 86 disowned her. Nobody even knows where she is now, or what happened to her. "Ah, je le savais bienF exclaims Charcot with a triumphant voice. T am prepared to bet that in this sister there appeared the first seeds of the disease which you now observe in this boy,' he continues, addressing the audience. T wouldn't be surprised i f it turned out that this sister, whose whereabouts are unknown to the family, is at this very moment in a madhouse somewhere.' (Kovalevskaya 19-20)8 While Kovalevskaya's account is, of course, a subjective one, it is consistent with the lectures transcribed by the obsequiously giggling students, and edited by Charcot, which appear as part of Charcot's Oeuvres Completes. The interrogatory form is the same, and the theoretical claims are consistent with Charcot's published work on the importance of heredity as a causative factor in "hysteria, along with the vast majority of neurological and mental diseases and many other chronic diseases" ("Charcot's Response" 295). Moreover, it is possible to see the extent to which illegitimate sexual behaviour is linked to genetic 'abnormality' in this rendering of Charcot's lecture. Charcot looks to the possibility that the woman has cheated on her husband and then to the possibility that someone in her family has had a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Both of these possibilities are presented as direct indications of genetic degeneracy. That degeneracy manifests itself, in Charcot's supposition, in both the sexual behaviour and the 'madness' of the woman's sister, and in the physical malady of the woman's son. 87 With the fall of Napoleon Ill 's regime, and the eventual rise of the Third Republic and Charcot's friend, politician and future Prime Minister Leon Gambetta, Charcot's work began to enter new medical territory and to garner a wider audience.9 Charcot's friendship with Gambetta was more than an isolated instance of personal sympathy: in Aguayo's words: "Comtean positivism was the ideological handmaiden for both Republican medical men and politicians who viewed scientific thinking based on external observables as providing the best remedy for the ills of the human organism as well as the body politic" (239). A new version of French nationalism began to emerge as Charcot reached the height of his career in the 1880s, one that saw medico-scientific progress as fundamental to the life of the nation. The simultaneous rise of the discourse of hereditary aetiology, of family as destiny, in medical research cast the Romantic Herderian notion of the nation as family or race in specific biological and anthropological terms. This discourse made new claims about the ability of the 'objective' observer to locate and identify the distinctions between the 'civilized' and the 'savage' races visually and immediately. Conklin points out that, following the upheavals of the 1870s, the French national family was one beset by anxiety: "Defeat [in the Franco-Prussian war] followed by the Paris commune, continued outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, and a falling birth rate convinced many legislators that the nation was degenerating. The especially high number of doctors in republican ranks—doctors who were used to thinking of the nation (and its decline) in medical terms—encouraged this perception" (59). Medical discourse in this period provided this anxiety with some of its terms (degeneracy) and with a potential cure in the form of combined medical and technological advances such as the use of electroshock therapy.10 In 88 the wake of this national anxiety, Charcot was able to persuade the Republican administration to fund a number of technological and institutional renovations to Salpetriere. A new "chaire de clinique de malades du systeme nerveux" was established in 1883, and the facilities were updated with a new microscopic laboratory, opthamological equipment, a photography studio and a dark room (Oeuvres Completes v. 3 2). Charcot justifies these innovations on the basis of France's need to defend its honour, particularly in the context of its rivalry with Germany: "Une autre consideration a faire valoir est que, dans revolution scientifique qui, durant ces trente dernieres annees, a recule les limites de la pathologie nerveuse et en a rendu la specialisation legitime, la France a ete souvent rinitiatrice; elle devra continuer son Oeuvre et ne point se laisser devancer, sur son propre territoire, par les autres pays" (Oeuvres Completes v.3 7). 1 1 Mark Micale, like Alice Conklin, argues that this French-German rivalry was not solely a concern of Charcot's, or even of the academic medical establishment: By the nineteenth century, respect for the medical sciences had increased tremendously, and work in the field was followed by a large and inquisitive non-professional public [....] as Claude Digeon and Harry Paul have pointed out, it was precisely in the 1880s that intellectual competition between France and Germany was at its highest. In the popular medical press of the day, for example, the achievements of Charcot, Pasteur, and Bernard are constantly cited in defensive response to the rising industrial and chemical sciences across the Rhine. (722-23) 89 The fact that Charcot repeatedly casts French achievements in imperialistic terms is no accident.12 This medical rivalry supported the French nation's claims to technological superiority in an age in which scientific advancement was becoming one of the defining terms of the boundary between the civilized and uncivilised. Nor was the French-German rivalry limited to discussions about the respective size of their laboratories; the contents of those laboratories—the discourse that was generated within them regarding heredity— supported the French colonial mission. The governmental support for the renovation of Salpetriere allowed it to stand as a shining example of French modernity and superiority within Europe. The theory of hereditary degeneracy, and the work done at Salpetriere, supported the colonisation of Tess developed' races abroad—a project which, incidentally, put France once again in direct competition with a German state that was, in the 1880s, "creat[ing] a German Empire five times the size of the Reich" (Pieterse 183). Another component of French medical discourse that was crucial in supporting the French colonial project was the emphasis on the visual acquisition of knowledge—on seeing as the means to understanding. The technology which Charcot imports into Salpetriere is largely concerned with the visual—an opthamological lab for the examination of the patient's own visual apparatus, side by side with the photography lab that was to provide Charcot's work with much of its popularity, and a new lecture theatre capable of holding up to 500 people, in which all of Paris and indeed Europe could come to see 'Charcot demonstrating a case of hysteria.'13 90 "A Museum Of Living Pathology"14: Hysteria, Pedagogy and the Exhibition The emphasis on the visual in Charcot's work has both a personal character—an emphasis particular to Charcot—and a broader social and political inflection. Alain Lellouche has pointed out the consistency with which Charcot's contemporaries commented on Charcot's visual acuity. H. Miege writes of Charcot in his retrospective Charcot Artiste: "La faculte de discerner dans un paysage ou sur les corps humains les contours ensemble, d'isoler de cet ensemble les elements necessaires a son expression et ceux-la justement la, Charcot la possedait au plus haut degre" (qtd in Lellouche 56). 1 5 Of Charcot's clinical practice, Miege and Souques write in their biographical sketch: II s'asseoit pres d'une table nue, et aussitot fait venir le malade a etudier. On deshabille celui-ci completement. L'interne lit une observation; le Maitre l'ecoute attentivement. Ensuite, un long silence pendant lequel i l regarde, regarde le patient en taportant d'une main sur la table. Les assistants, debout, tasses, attendent anxieux une parole qui les eclaire. Charcot continue a se taire. Apres quoi, i l commande au malade un mouvement, le fait parler, demande qu'on recherche ses reflexes, qu'on explore sa sensibilite. Et de nouveau, c'est le silence [....] Enfin, i l fait venir un second malade, 1'examine comme precedemment, en reclame un troisieme, et toujours, sans mot dire, les compare entre eux. Cette observation minutieuse, visuelle surtout est a l'origine de toutes les decouvertes de Charcot" (qtd. in Lellouche 91 Although Lellouche argues that Charcot's emphasis on visual examination and his attention to the surface of the body rather than its depths was not specifically innovative, it was this component of Charcot's practice that seemed to have the greatest currency in the imaginary of his popular and professional audiences.17 It was also the use of a new visual medium— photography—that allowed Charcot to commodity and circulate the knowledge gained from looking, through the publication of several volumes of essays and photographs in LTconographie Photographique de la Salpetriere. Albert Londe, the head of the photography studio at Salpetriere, claims of this new technology: "the photographic plate is the true retina of the scientist" (qtd in de Marneffe 78-79). Charcot, likewise, treats both photographic and painted visual depictions of the insane as transparent media through which all the necessary information for diagnosis is objectively relayed. In his essay on depictions of hysteria in art, Charcot 'diagnoses' the individuals depicted in paintings and frescos as hysterics. In doing so, he extends his medical territory back through time. He is also careful to assert the ignorance of those ancient artists. He manages this by insisting that the visual medium of the fresco communicates objective truth, regardless of the subjective limits of its creator: "Ce fait est absolument copie sur nature. Sans le savoir ni le vouloir, le saint a produit l'effet que nous etudions actuellement" (Oeuvres Completes v.9 295). Charcot asserts the same faith in photography in a letter to Freud in which he locates subjective interference in written transcription: "But you know as well as I that the stenographer is not a photographer, and one must take account of the personal element" (qtd. in Gelfand "Mon Cher Docteur Freud" 571-72). The insistence on the accuracy of visual representation meant that the proof of Charcot's theories of hysteria, the proof contained in the degenerate genes of the patient, were displayed on the surface of 92 their bodies and could, as a result, be reproduced and circulated far beyond the gates of Salpetriere. Charcot also insists on the universal applicability of his theoretical findings— particularly as they concern a field in which, in his view, accurate clinical study had been prevented by religious mysticism. With the flash of a light bulb, the four stages of hysteria are mapped; the truth of hysteria once burnt on the "true retina of the scientist" reveals what has always been true, across time, culture and place: "dans l'attaque [...] rien n'est laisse au hasard, que tous'y passe au contraire suivant des regies, toujours les memes communes a la pratique de la ville et a celle de 1' hopital, valables pour toutes les races, universelles par consequent" (Oeuvres Completes v.3 15).19 Charcot's confidence matched that of an imperialist France which promoted the violent economic exploitation of North Africa, for example, under the guise of the mission civilisatrice. The civilized and civilizing technologies which French colonial administrators brought with them were valued both on the basis of their modernity and on the basis of their universal applicability and objective accuracy.20 Such claims to objectivity and universal applicability supported the discourse of the civilizing mission to the extent that they presented French civilization as both that which had evolved to its present point of superiority and as that which was eternally superior. To use the example of medical research, it was both an ongoing attempt to bring light to past ignorance (i.e. a field which itself was once in ignorance) and a field of study whose conclusions, once reached, were unassailably true. Within the gates of Salpetriere, now fully integrated into the South-eastern quarter of the city of Paris, the lecture theatre and teaching facilities in which Charcot presented 93 individual cases on Tuesdays, and medical lectures on Fridays, drew larger and increasingly cosmopolitan audiences. Contemporary observers note the spectacular effect of Charcot's presentations, which included interviews with patients, hysterical fits—sometimes stimulated by the use of an "inhalation d'ether" or "nitrite d'amyle" (Oeuvres Completes v. 1 405), slide projections, posters and charts (Goetz et al 82). And here, too, the method of presentation parallels the growing use of spectacles to present the nation and its colonies to its metropolitan citizens. Pierre Janet comments on Charcot's lectures: Everything in his lectures was designed to attract attention and to captivate the audience by means of visual and auditory impression. The much-discussed dramatisations of his lectures on hysteria were not at all confined to hysteria; these dramatisations were present to the same degree in his lectures on multiple sclerosis or on tabes dorsalis. The patients who were selected and presented, whether individually or in groups, whether similar or dissimilar, the schematic figures on the blackboard, the graphic resumes, the projections, the entire show had been designed and arranged for teaching purposes, (qtd. in Guillain 55) An American visitor makes a similar description and comes to a similar conclusion regarding the effectiveness of the spectacle presented: "It has been said that the whole clinic was arranged for theatrical effect. I believe that it was the only manner in which it was possible to demonstrate in a clear light to the large audiences all the features, clinical and pathological, of the subjects. But grant that it was theatrical; it left on the mind of the 94 student a series of mental pictures of patients and of lessons which no amount of private study could possibly produce" (qtd. in Goetz et al 90). The effectiveness of the visual and auditory spectacle produced at Salpetriere is due in part to the extent to which Charcot's late nineteenth-century audience was already familiar with the production of information and entertainment in the form of panoramas, exhibitions and theatre. Timothy Mitchell has written persuasively concerning the rising popularity of panoramas, world exhibitions, (of which Paris was host in 1889 and 1900), and operatic and theatrical events: "Spectacles like the world exhibition and the Orientalist congress set up the world as picture. They ordered it up before an audience as an object on display, to be viewed, experienced and investigated" (6). The object of these spectacles was, on one hand, the metropolitan audience itself, which strolled the avenues of Paris seeing and being seen, and, on the other hand, the medical or ethnographic objects of their gaze. The spectacle of the nation produced for the entertainment and edification of its populace was an active one. It was a picture of machines working, doctors deducing and people walking and talking (the ' flaneurs ')~all part of a paradoxically developing and 21 timeless French civilization. These citizen flaneurs were, however, a very particular population. The economic and social freedom to move in a leisurely manner through the public streets and exhibitions suggests that the majority were much like the audience depicted in "Charcot Demonstrating a Case of Hysteria": white, male and bourgeois. As such, they were a population which did not perceive itself as one objectified or reduced by their mutual gazes. A very different population, or rather a population whose racialized, 95 sexualised and class differences were in the process of being produced, was on display as object in those spectacles. By the 1880s Salpetriere was quite literally on the map and in the tour guides of Paris. Micale reports, "the hospital appears frequently in the popular guide books of belle epoque Paris. In these accounts it usually figures along with the Jardin des Plantes as a major attraction for tourists in the South-eastern quarter of the city" (721). Its similarity to other tourist attractions was not limited to the theatricality of Charcot's Tuesday lectures. The presentation of patients whose illness, madness and absolute otherness were inscribed in their family trees, and on the surface of their bodies, must surely have had a certain familiarity for those members of the Salpetriere audience who had looked at Paris's other spectacles. William Schneider records the growing popularity of "ethnographic" displays in places like the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris. In addition to the exotic animals and plants presented there in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s, human beings from colonial Africa were displayed with great popular and economic success: "with the World's Fair drawing many people to Paris from the provinces and foreign countries, a record 985,000 visitors came to the Jardin. In 1879 the Nubians were once again exhibited; and, with only a few exceptions, in the years that followed the ethnographic exhibitions became a regular feature of the Jardin d'Acclimatation" (129). The discipline which supported the ordering of these displays, and in whose name the findings of this field's discoveries were made, was physical anthropology. That this field presented its conclusions in a fashion very similar to Charcot's, is related to the fact that its understanding of racial difference was very similar to Charcot's understanding of hereditary aetiology. Within the visual regime of the spectacle, in which both the inmates of Salpetriere and the Nubians of the Jardin d'Acclimatation were 96 presented, these differences were produced as readily visible to their audience. No translator was provided for the residents of the Jardins, not all of whom spoke French, and the speech of the inmates of Salpetriere, particularly its hysterics, was largely ignored except for their ability to provide answers to Charcot's questions about their family history.22 In this framework, the object of the audience's gaze is rendered as an object of study from which further proof of (white, male, bourgeois) France's superiority could be extracted, the inmates of Salpetriere and the Jardin were placed in the category of other to the bourgeois European citizen. To the extent that the audience to these displays did not wish to imagine that they too could be put on display, they rejected the idea that they were the same as the individuals visible before them. In order to allay their anxieties, the audience could assume that the fact of being put on display is, in itself, the proof of the 'inferiority' of those on display. The assertion in ethnography and medicine that hereditary factors produced that 'inferiority' is, in turn, supported by the anxieties of the audience. The inmate's body became the territory across which French progress marched, and the fertile soil from which new knowledge was to be reaped. The imperial project was justified, in part, on the basis of a dichotomy in which the French nation was pictured as the active agent of technological and cultural progress, and non-European peoples and territory were figured as the passive objects upon which that enlightenment was visited. With this dichotomy in mind, the audience to the spectacle of medicine and physical anthropology had a great deal at stake in maintaining a sense of their distance from the individuals presented "as i f they were medical specimens and nothing else" (Kovalevskaya 15). At the same time, 97 the structure of that spectacle helped to familiarise or even train its audience in the structure of this dichotomy.23 To return to arguments made recently by both Ann Laura Stoler and Anne McClintock, the power relations in imperial Europe and its colonies were produced and supported simultaneously in the domestic scene, in which familial and class relations were enacted, and in the international scene, in which racialized colonial relations were enacted. In other words, the mid-nineteenth century construction of gendered behaviour, and the naturalisation of female passivity and male activity in particular, provided a template for race relations in which the coloniser was figured as active (and by default male) and the colonised was figured as passive (and by default female). Likewise, race relations and the claims to civilized nationhood, which supported colonisation, provided a template for the naturalisation of female and lower class 'inferiority.' McClintock pinpoints these intersecting discourses: Gustave le Bon, author of the influential study of crowd behaviour La Psychologie des foules [1879], compared female brain size with that of the gorilla and evoked this comparison as signalling a lapse in development: ' A l l psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women, as well as poets and novelists, recognise today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult civilized man.' At the same time, the rhetoric of gender was used to make increasingly refined distinctions among the different races. The white race was figured as the male of the species and the black race as the female. 98 Similarly, the rhetoric of class was used to inscribe minute and subtle distinctions between other races. The Zulu male was regarded as the 'gentleman' of the black race, but was seen to display features typical of females of the white race. (54-55) In the context of Salpetriere the female hysterics, and to a certain extent the male hysterics who were also presented, were rendered nominally passive to the extent that they were perceived as objects of study. As objects on display (and by default passive), both the male and female hysterics were feminised. This was also true to the extent that they were represented to their audience as the victims of their biology and heredity. While Charcot does begin to explore the notion that psychological trauma functioned as an "agent provocateur" in hysterical aetiology, it is almost always heredity and (female) biology which is the root cause of the illness. In his earliest investigations of hysteria he reminds his audience that: "II est [...] indispensable de pousser 1'investigation plus loin, et, en penetrant en quelque sorte dans l'abdomen, a l'aide des doigts, on arrive sur la veritable foyer de la douleur" (Oeuvres Completes v. 1 324), which is, as he writes again and again, "le corps ovariane, douloureux, d'ou partent les irradiations de l'aura hysterique spontanea ou provoquee, est bien l'ovaire lui-meme" (Oeuvres Completes v . l 327).24 The contortions and cries of the hysteric become movements directed by their (female) anatomy. The hysterics themselves become, almost literally, ovarian bodies. Their illness, their otherness, their place as 'anormales' is conflated with their sexed identity. In the photographic representations of the hysterics, the echoes of Salpetriere's earliest edict to house "women and prostitutes" can also be heard. Meredith Browne has 99 demonstrated the extent to which the photographs collected in the volumes of the Iconographie Photographique de la Salpetriere are formally almost indistinguishable from the pornographic postcards of the same period. The same coquettish poses and scant clothing can be found in each (Browne). The sexualising of hysteria conforms to another categorical confusion within the gates of Salpetriere—between 'working girls' and working women. By the late nineteenth century, Salpetriere no longer policed the city's prostitutes and poor, but its inmates were, almost exclusively, women from the working classes. Not only were they "urban lower-class women, some of whom were employed as domestic servants and laundresses" (Goldstein qtd. in Aguayo 234), but they continued to work at Salpetriere— earning their keep not only on stage and in the photography studio, but in Salpetriere's kitchens, laundries and gardens. This is not to say that all prostitutes of the period were working-class, in the sense of their wealth and social milieu, but rather that the women of the lower classes were sexualised and sexual women were, to an extent, deemed lower-class. Sander Gilman has discussed the extent to which prostitutes were pathologised as degenerate 'types' (Difference and Pathology 54-55), and McClintock has added to his conclusions, remarking their racialization: Domestic workers, female miners and working-class prostitutes (women who worked publicly and visibly for money) were stationed on the threshold between the white and black races, figured as having fallen farthest from the perfect type of the white male and sharing many atavistic features with 'advanced' black men. Prostitutes—as the metropolitan analogue of African 100 promiscuity—were marked as especially atavistic and regressive. Inhabiting, as they did, the threshold of marriage and market, private and public, prostitutes flagrantly demanded money for services middle-class men expected for free. Prostitutes visibly transgressed the middle-class boundary between private and public, paid work and unpaid work and in consequence were figured as 'white Negroes' inhabiting anachronistic space, their 'racial' atavism anatomically marked by regressive signs: 'Darwin's ear,' exaggerated posteriors, unruly hair and other sundry 'primitive' stigmata. (56). Physical anthropology shared some of Charcot's obsession with "la chose genitale" (Charcot qtd. in Freud SE v. 14 14). The colonial subjects on display at the Jardin were equally the sexualised and feminised objects of a scientific spectacle. As Sander Gilman argues in regard to Saartje Bartman, the African woman, and to a lesser extent the feminised African man, became "the central icon for sexual difference between the European and the black [... ] a deep physiological difference urged so plausibly on the basis of physical contrast that it gave pause to even mongenetic theoreticians such as Johan Friedrich Blumenbach" (Difference and Pathology 83). Another example of the ways in which these categories were conflated is the characterization of the hysterics as "demomaques" (Oeuvres Completes v. 1 345). Charcot compares one hysteric to "ces femmes qu'on nommait Jerkers dans les camp-meetings methodistes [sic...] qui offraient dans lews crises les attitudes les plus effrayantes" (Oeuvres Completes v. 1 342).2 5 For Charcot, as for the new republican political regime, there was a great drive to establish his work, and the work of medical science, as that which had broken 101 entirely with the clerical mysticism of the past. The hysterics presented to the public by Charcot were surrounded by the signs of modernity, in their manner of presentation and in the manner of their treatment while remaining themselves signs of ignorance, mysticism, and degeneracy like so many 'blind' victims of religious charlatans. The association of the hysterics with the ignorance of the pre-modern, places them once again in a position similar to the objects of the ethnographic displays—who were themselves representative of both the truly frightening ('demoniaque') otherness of 'darkest Africa' and the eminently controllable pre-modern objects whose ignorance was ripe for enlightenment. Following Mitchell, Aram Yengoyan argues, in relation to the ethnographic displays of the world exhibitions, that "the world could be presented as an exhibition and as an object. On the other hand, the colonial and imperial powers also had to render the message that progress and civilization was at work within the canopy of empire as a means of justifying the natural basis of why progress and civilization could only occur within the colonial enterprise" (75). However, as Bhabha, Fanon and others have pointed out, the moment of assimilation, and in the case of the hysterics the moment of cure, is endlessly deferred. Charcot's patients were presented in his public lectures as representatives of their illness, as hysteria or neurasthenia embodied, and as such they were only useful as long as they continued to present that illness to the audience, as part of Charcot's interpretative spectacle. Charcot's powers seem to lie less in his ability to provide a cure, and more in his ability to order and organise the spectacle of the disease within his "museum of living pathology" (Charcot qtd. in Guillain 10).27 In a similar fashion, French claims to racial and cultural superiority were supported by their ability to present a world order of civilization, in which they occupied the pinnacle, by their ability to "know how to seek for [degeneracy] 102 where it is to be found" (Charcot, Diseases of the Nervous System 13), and to insure, in part through the visual orders of the exhibitions, that they would always find precisely what they were looking for. " A Lot of Noise Over Nothing" 2 8: Cracks in the Facade of Medical Progress Of course neither Charcot nor Gambetta could be said to have always found what he was looking for. Their gazes did not go without a returning look, and nor were those who looked back at them a homogenous group. The point is not that the different colonised peoples of Africa displayed at exhibitions, and the women displayed at Salpetriere, were actually the same, in person, experience, understanding or suffering. Rather, the European, bourgeois spectators had a common desire to see the objects of their gazes as objects, and a need to justify the power structures which supported and maintained their authority through the demonstration of their ability to understand the world by ordering it. The myth of objectivity, and the emphasis on the educative nature of viewing, concealed the compelling interest that privileged spectators had in maintaining their position of power, and the pleasure they derived from looking at these an 'objective' confirmation of their right, authority and superiority. The media of photography and spectacle reduced the other to an object incapable of looking back, responding verbally, or questioning the 'natural' order that was on display. To this extent, Charcot's work was neither the cause of French imperialism at the end of the nineteenth century, nor itself merely a side effect of a political project. Rather, it was one component among many which facilitated a world view in support of an 103 s imperialist project. In Charcot's own terms, his work was not the cause but rather an "agent provocateur." Alain Lellouche points to one trace of the tension and the anxiety masked by the theatre of confidence on display at Salpetriere. He distinguishes between the celebrated acuity of "le regard medical de Charcot" (57) and the subjective gaze required of the hypnotists: En effet, au cours de Fhypnose, le regard changeait de signification. Ce n'etait plus l'observation du malade que le medecin croyait scientifique et objective. Dans l'hypnose, le medecin observateur, tout comme le malade observe, s'impliquaient subjectivement [....] Sans nul doute, Charcot avait percu plus ou moins confinement, cette charge emotionelle du regard, au 29 cours de la relation d'hypnose. (57) Lellouche supports his claim, concerning Charcot's awareness of the subjective engagement required of the hypnotist, in Charcot's refusal to hypnotise patients himself, (Charcot assigned this task to his assistants). To hypnotise the hysterical patient would be to solicit his/her gaze and to rely on the subjective 'magnetism' of the hypnotist. The implication that the hypnotist-doctor is both subjectively engaged with the object of his study, and is responsible for producing the patient's behaviour, upsets the scientific illusion of the disinterested observer 'discovering' what was there all along (independent of his/her intervention). Another point of tension in the display of objectivity produced in Charcot's published work, is found in the inclusion of quotations represented as the words of the hysterical 104 patients, whose pictures often accompanied discussions of their 'cases.' Daphne de Marneffe points to the absolute disregard that Charcot demonstrates, in the face of the stories of rape and abuse included in the volumes of the Iconographie Photographique de la Salpetriere. She comments on Charcot's emphasis on the reproductive biology of these patients—the onset of menstruation, for example—as important components of the disease's aetiology, in spite of descriptions of enormous physical and emotional trauma. What she does not touch on, however, is why these personal accounts were included in the first place. The existing transcriptions of some of Charcot's lectures suggest that the patients were actually not allowed to do more than answer Charcot's questions, and even in these cases the assistant and/or parent was often called on to answer for the patient. It is possible that these personal account of the patients functioned like the sexualised appearance of the women in the photographs of the ITconographie—as the unmentionable erotic charge concealed in the observer's disinterest, and in the ostensibly scientific and edificatory purpose of these books. They remain, nonetheless, a moment in which these women were able to represent themselves as subjects, and to speak of the unjustifiable horrors visited on those whose abjection was inscribed in the power relations represented and reproduced at Salpetriere. This instance also remains one of the few points in Charcot's work in which it might be possible to read his practice as self-conscious of its complicity in imperial power relations. 105 Chapter Three: Freud and the Talking Cure Introduction Charcot's scientific theories and pedagogical style influenced Freud's construction of psychoanalysis, both in Freud's reaction against Charcot and in Freud's admiration for him. As critic Toby Gelfand has demonstrated, Freud was clearly aware of the connection between Charcot's theory of hereditary degeneracy and the discourses of anti-Semitism circulating in France, Germany and Austria at the time. The verbal emphasis found in psychoanalysis arose, in part, out of Freud's attempt to refute Charcot's theory of a visibly-displayed hereditary degeneracy. Freud's interest in refuting the theory of hereditary degeneracy focuses specifically on the application of that theory to (Jewish) Europeans, rather than to non-European (Jewish and non-Jewish) colonial subjects. Nonetheless, his scepticism leads him to question Western European countries' right to rule their own citizens. Freud's work goes on to destabilise the notion of civilization and, consequently, Western Europe's claim to be the clear representative of civilization in the world. In this, Freud's work, unlike Charcot's, is more obviously compatible with the current interrogation of such notions in postcolonial theory. As a number of feminist critics have pointed out, there are limits to the emancipatory value of Freudian psychoanalysis. His construction of gender and sexual instinct retains traces of an anatomical essentialism. As Luce Irigaray has pointed out, the discussions of female psycho-sexual development are also often a cipher for discussions of male psycho-sexual development (25). Likewise, Freud's anthropological work focuses on non-European 106 peoples in order to support his claims concerning his European patients. Finally, Freud's use of Stanley's metaphor for Africa, "the dark continent," is exemplary of the comparisons he draws between scientist and explorer or archaeologist, both images critiqued in postcolonial theory. A Visitor From the 'Outre-Rhine': Charcot and Freud Much has been made by Freud's biographers, and by Freud himself, of what Charcot's work meant to Freud. To begin, however, it is worth taking note of what Freud's visit to Salpetriere, in the winter of 1885-86, meant to Charcot. It testified to Charcot's growing reputation in Europe. It was, perhaps, a measure of his apparent triumph in the battle to return French science to its proper 'place in the sun' by exceeding the advances of Germanic universities. In offering to be the German translator of Charcot's collected lectures, the twenty-nine-year-old Freud made a place for himself in Charcot's academic circle. The letters contained in Toby Gelfand's recent publication of Charcot's correspondence with Freud are primarily taken up with the publication of Charcot's work in German. These letters demonstrate the extent to which Charcot perceived Freud as his ambassador to the Germanic medico-scientific community. Charcot refers to Freud as his "interpreter to Germanic readers," and goes on to elaborate his fantasy of French academic conquest, in a letter dated June 18,1892: I seemed to hear myself speaking in German and professing in some Germanic university; I don't know which one, at Vienna perhaps: they were listening to me very attentively and I think I was persuasive; the language was 107 beautiful; that didn't surprise me since I was listening to you speak, repeating everything that I was receiving from you through my eyes. It was like a dream, a pleasant dream, (qtd. in Gelfand "Mon Cher Docteur Freud" 572) In both Charcot's fantasy of success, and in his earlier exposition of French-German rivalry, Charcot groups Austro-Hungary with the loose confederation of Germanic states increasingly identified with Prussia in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It is not merely Charcot's interest in forging ahead in the French-German academic rivalry that causes him to see the Austrian Freud as his ambassador to Germanic medical institutions. Freud himself refers to his own work as part of "German science" (SE v. 16 330), and identifies himself with the "German nation" (SE v.20 233).1 Freud seems to be aware of the nationalist feelings at stake for Charcot in his medical success. Freud writes in his 1893 eulogy of Charcot that "People had come to realise that the activities of this man were a part of the assets of the nation's 'g/o/re,' which, after the unfortunate war of 1870-1, was all the more jealously guarded" (SE v.3 16). Freud's eulogy of Charcot also suggests a familiarity with the pedagogical methods Charcot practised at Salpetriere. The spectacular nature of the academic and metropolitan scene in Paris would have had a certain resonance for the young, Austrian visitor. While neither Germany nor Austria was host to a world exhibition, they both provided financial and political support for national (and imperial) displays at exhibitions in Chicago and Paris where "millions" of Germanic visitors came "to confirm [their] superiority and to enjoy it" (Mandell 82). Though it lacked the international exhibitions of Paris, the city of Vienna boasted a setting in which the pleasures of flanerie were readily available, facilitated by the 108 development, in the 1860s, of a wide boulevard which encircled the city's centre: the Ringstrasse. The street was lined with imposing neo-gothic and neo-classical buildings, housing the nation's centres of aesthetic and intellectual culture and industry, the citizens of Vienna could view them as they strolled along the boulevard. Vienna was also host to ethnographic displays, like those of the Jardin d'Acclimatation: "In the Prater, the major city park, imported exotics were viewed with fascination by the masses" (Gilman, Difference and Pathology 110). For Freud, the exhibitionary order which he encountered at Salpetriere, and on the streets of Paris, and the intersecting identity categories produced in that display, ought to have been both familiar and readily comprehensible—though not without anxiety. In his eulogy, Freud remarks on the specifically visual nature of Charcot's clinical practice. Freud characterizes Charcot as a "'v/swe/,' a man who sees" (SE v. 1 134). He describes Charcot as a scientist whose ability to see what others had missed brought him a great deal of satisfaction, as well as professional success (SE v. 1 134). In his preface to the German translation of Charcot's lectures, Freud describes Charcot's pedagogical presentation in more detail: "he has compared the case before him with a collection of clinical pictures derived from his experience and stored in his memory, and had identified the appearance of the present case with one of these pictures" (SE v. 1 134). The clinical pictures, described verbally in the work that Freud had translated, had visual counterparts in the lectures that he attended in person. He describes following Charcot "round the wards of the Salpetriere—that museum of clinical facts" as an experience which recalled "the myth of Adam [...] when God brought the creatures of Paradise before him to be distinguished and named" (SE v.3 13). 109 Charcot's emphasis on the visual, and the power of his spectacular pedagogy, makes enough of an impression on Freud that almost two decades later he continues to use the metaphor of the guide in a museum as the model of medical pedagogy: "a medical teacher plays in the main the part of leader and interpreter who accompanies you through a museum, while you gain direct contact with the objects exhibited and feel yourself convinced of the existence of the new facts through your own perception" (SE v. 15 17). Freud's impression of the power of the visual demonstration is problematic, not only because of the verbal nature of the practice of psychoanalysis as it evolved, but because Freud's access to the arena in which Charcot practised and preached was relatively limited. Moreover, Freud was himself implicated in these spectacles, through racialised, anti-Semitic discourse. Freud associates Charcot's achievements with French national glory. Freud does, as I have noted, sometimes identify himself as a part of the German nation, or a Germanic field of scientific endeavour, in his public work, but he does not claim a specifically Austrian or Germanic glory for himself. Freud represents himself as a citizen of Europe, until the dawn of the intra-European conflicts of World War I cause him to feel that the promise of this larger community has been lost. In "Thoughts For The Times On War and Death," he reflects on his own continental citizenship: "anyone who was not by stress of circumstances confined to one spot could create for himself out of all the advantages and attractions of the civilized countries a new and wider fatherland, in which he could move about without hindrance or suspicion" (SE v. 14 277). For Charcot, Freud's arrival was a sign of French medical conquest. For Freud, his journey to Paris was one in which he explored the professional possibilities of a "wider fatherland." 110 Freud was, in fact, denied access to the Austrian institutions in which he might have achieved the status of a scientific representative of Austrian glory. Perhaps as a result of his limited access to public acclaim within national institutions, Freud looks to the international scene in Europe as a venue for achievement. He is specific in "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death" in representing his own international intellectual ventures as a productive exchange, and not as the betrayal of his own nation: From among the great thinkers, writers and artists of all nations he [the European traveller-citizen] had chosen those to whom he considered he owed the best of what he had been able to achieve in enjoyment and understanding of life, and he had venerated them along with the immortal ancients as well as with the familiar masters of his own tongue. None of these great men had seemed to him foreign because they spoke a foreign language [...] and he never reproached himself on that account for being a renegade towards his own nation and his beloved mother-tongue. (SE v. 14 278) Freud's international community is one in which loyalty is "owed" to a larger community. That loyalty is earned, within this framework, by individuals who have made scientific, intellectual or aesthetic advances that contribute to the "enjoyment and understanding of life." In a community so defined, Freud not only 'venerates' these "great thinkers, writers and artists," he can claim a place among them for himself on the basis of his own contributions. Although Freud is himself generally silent in his published work on the extent to which anti-Semitism affected his career, he does cite his entry into the academic world as I l l one instance in which he encountered the force of this discourse. Here too, he preserves the notion that scientific achievement could earn one acceptance: When, in 1873,1 first joined the University, I experienced some appreciable disappointments. Above all, I found that I was expected to feel myself inferior and an alien because I was a Jew. I refused absolutely to do the first of these things. I have never been able to see why I should feel ashamed of my descent or, as people were beginning to say, of my 'race.' I put up, without much regret, with my non-acceptance into the community; for it seemed to me that in spite of this exclusion an active fellow worker could not fail to find some nook or cranny in the framework of humanity" (SE v. 20 9).3 The nook in which Freud's work finally expands, the consulting room in which psychoanalysis is practised, is nonetheless shaped by anti-Semitism. Just as the structure of Salpetriere shaped the method and theory developed within, the limits placed on Freud's institutional access shaped the method and theory he developed. "Cheated Out of a Spectacle"4: Freud, Anti-Semitism and the Medical Museum For a Jew studying and working in Vienna at the turn of the century, there were only certain fields of medical practice open to Freud. Sander Gilman defines the boundaries of the fields available to Jewish students of medicine: "psychiatry (like dermatology/syphilology) had implicit police functions and a relatively low status [....] psychiatry and sexology [...] were medical specialities open to Jews, as was neurology, though only with great difficulty and as long as it remained on the level of laboratory science 112 rather than clinical practice" (Gilman, "Constructing the Image" 25). Freud was without the technical resources of photography, the material resources of a lecture hall and the authority to exercise control over patients' bodies on and off-stage. Freud was denied access to the institutional realm in which Charcot operated, as a result of the social restrictions placed on Jewish medical practitioners. Further, he was implicated as object within that institutional realm. Freud's reference to his "race" is an indication of his awareness of the increasingly popular tendency in anti-Semitic discourse of the turn of the nineteenth century to characterize Jewishness as a racial identity and a population whose degeneracy was visibly inscribed in their physical appearance.5 While Charcot reduced hysteria to its visible signs to fit the imperialist regime of the world as exhibition, Freud began to reduce hysteria to its linguistic signs, from which he derived a new understanding of the causes of hysteria and a new therapeutic practice. While neither decision could be said to be the exclusive product of Freud's response to anti-Semitism, both were informed by Freud's desire to reorder a political, social and medical paradigm in which he was at a disadvantage. Although Freud was already expressing doubts concerning the usefulness of hypnotism in the 1895 Studies on Hysteria (SE v.2 108-10), he does suggest, in this and in later work, that one of the appealing promises of hypnotism was the verbal power that it gave the hypnotist. Having reduced psychoanalysis to an "interchange of words," Freud "sets about restoring to words a part at least of their former magical power" (SE v.7 283). Hypnosis, in Freud's terms, allows the doctor or analyst to shape the patient's body and mind through the use of words: "the idea which the hypnotist had given to the subject by his words has produced in him precisely the mental-physical behaviour corresponding to the idea's content. This implies on the one hand obedience, but 113 on the other, an increase in the physical influence of an idea. Words have once more regained their magic" (SE v.7 295-96).6 At the beginning of his career, Freud embraced the very relationship of which Charcot was wary. The analyst's subjective power over the patient becomes an asset in Freud's practice, rather than a necessary repression.7 Hypnotism, in Freud's work, is quickly replaced with what he initially terms the "cathartic" method, in which the patient is not hypnotised but rather encouraged "to relax their critical faculty" (SE v. 2 111). Here, words continue to have power, but the patient's words become like inanimate objects out of which Freud draws meaning and in which Freud, like Charcot, sees what nobody else has seen before. Having asserted the power of the verbal exchange contained in the therapeutic practice of psychoanalysis, Freud still retains the problem of how to demonstrate his findings to the public when, "you cannot be present as an audience at a psychoanalytic treatment" (SE v.7 18). Unlike Charcot, he has no "museum of living pathology," no Salpetriere, in which to display the visual evidence of a pathology. To this end, Freud mobilizes a metaphor that suggests the legitimacy of psychoanalysis (and the 'gloire' of Freud's work), and transforms the material of psychoanalytic treatment metaphorically into substantive objects. Freud decides to leave the anatomical exigencies of neuropathology behind in order to recreate himself as an archaeologist of the psyche. He abandons Charcot's spectacular display of the hysterical body for a science of words. What is gained, in both shifts, is an increased field of action for the doctor bound by his social status as a Jew to examine only certain functions of the body, and restricted from operating on that body. 114 Having recast the object of his study, Freud begins to redefine the space of his work in terms of a previously unsuspected psychical depth: "[I am] working on the assumption that our psychical mechanism has come into being by a process of stratification: the material present in the form of memory-trace being subjected from time to time to a re-arrangement" (qtd. in Masson 207). Through an accumulation of descriptive details the terrain of the psyche appeared to be growing in size. Consciousness turned out to be nothing more than the tip of the iceberg, or to employ one of Freud's favourite metaphors, the surface of an as yet unexplored archaeological site. The analogy Freud drew between archaeology and psychoanalysis served to support his practice in a number of ways. It allowed him to increase the space in which he appeared to be operating, by extending its depth rather than its breadth. If the consulting room could not exceed its horizontal boundaries, then Freud would operate vertically, by investing in metaphorical basements and sub-basements at 19 Bergasse. Donald Kuspit makes the additional point that "the analogy associated an unpopular, suspect enterprise with a popular, respectable one" (133). The object that Freud recovers from this antique site provides him with a new currency: the case study and the dream. The hysterical patient's words in one of Freud's most infamous case studies become "Fragments." Freud's work becomes that of archaeological illumination: "I had no choice but to follow the example of those discoverers whose good fortune it is to bring to the light of day after their long burial the priceless though mutilated relics of antiquity" (SE v. 7, 12). In The Interpretation of Dreams Freud likewise casts his task as the excavation of archaic relics from the material of the patient's narrative: 115 We can guess how much to the point is Nietzsche's assertion that in dreams 'some primeval relic of humanity is at work which we can now scarcely reach any longer by a direct path'; and we may expect that the analysis of dreams wil l lead us to a knowledge of man's archaic heritage [....] Dreams and neuroses seem to have preserved more mental antiquities than we could have imagined possible. (SE v.5 548-49) Within the archaeological site of the psyche, Freud goes on to make two important corollary assertions: first, that everything within the psychic field is preserved in perpetuity and second, that he is the first to have discovered the field and illuminated the artefacts contained within it. Freud asserts repeatedly that "Not only some but all of what is essential from childhood [is] retained" (SE v. 12 148) and, in Civilization and Its Discontents, "that in mental life nothing which has once been formed can perish [... ] everything is somehow preserved and [in] suitable circumstances [...] it can once more be brought to light' (SE v.21 16). These assertions protect him from the accusation that he or his patients are simply making something out of nothing. While his patients' discourse may touch on the unreal— fantasies and dreams—within these fields, Freud establishes that there exist all the artefacts of psychic and historical events from the patients' lives. In his account of the origin of psychoanalytic practice, and dream interpretation in particular, it is also possible to see the extent to which Freud established the archaeological territory of psychoanalysis as both new and particularly his. Freud implies, in " A History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement," that he has discovered this field, as i f for the first time, and only later realised its prestigious origins: "the close connection between psycho-analytic 116 dream-interpretation and the art of interpreting dreams as practised and held in such high esteem in antiquity only became clear to me much later" (SE v. 14 19-20). In this statement he is also careful to distinguish between the two practices—the reversal of words indicates that while there may be shared territory there remains that which is exclusively his. As creator, or discoverer, of psychoanalysis, Freud's work invokes another fraught metaphor. In claiming to 'discover' psychoanalysis, he invokes the language of imperial exploration and conquest. Freud establishes himself as the first man on the ground of the psychoanalytic territory of the psyche: "nor need anyone wonder at the part I play in it. For psycho-analysis is my creation" (SE v. 14 7). Like the European explorers that preceded him, Freud must also label his territory terra incognita before he can claim to discover it. He elaborates the analogy to European exploration of the new world in a letter to Wilhelm Fliess: "I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador—an adventurer, i f you want it translated—with all the curiosity, daring, and tenacity characteristic of a man of this sort. Such people are customarily esteemed only i f they have been successful, have really discovered something; otherwise they are dropped by the wayside" (qtd. in Masson 398). In this sense Freud's patients are, like Charcot's, the fertile soil from which the legible signs of his intellectual-medical conquests may be reaped. This practice parallels trends in the archaeological field from which Freud gleans many of his metaphors. Edward Said has argued that, in the accounts and illustrations of archaeologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the ancient artefacts excavated and the cultures represented often obscured entirely the present-day cultures of the nations from which they were extracted (Orientalism 86). In the same way, Freud's 'discovery' of the methodology and topography of psychoanalysis often appears to be made at the expense of the heterogeneity of individual 117 experience and cultural contexts. The Oedipal complex has, for example, been criticised by Moustafa Safouan, Anne McClintock and Frantz Fanon for failing to account for individual and cultural distinctions.9 While Freud garnered esteem as the conquistador of new territory, that territory was only as large as the sum of the terrain of each individual psyche. Every analysis presented an opportunity for the delineation of new unconscious landscapes, new sites of excavation. From these innumerable excavations Freud accumulated countless dreams and fantasies. In addition to providing the substance of books and lectures, he acquired visible tokens of his archaeological digs. The patient known as the Wolf-Man records the process by which his own analysis came to be inscribed in Freud's consulting room: "Freud was of the opinion that at the end of treatment a gift from the patient could contribute, as a symbolic act, to lessening his feelings of gratitude [....] the gift I chose for him was a female Egyptian figure, with a mitre-shaped head-dress. Freud placed it on his desk" (149-50). Twenty years later, in a picture of Freud's consulting room, the Wolf-Man notes that his gift is still visible on Freud's desk among Freud's extensive collection of actual archaeological artefacts.10 Freud finds himself occupying two overpopulated working rooms. In the study are his books comprising, in his words, "more archaeology than psychology" (Freud qtd in Forrester 229). Added to these texts are the accumulating volumes of his own published works— collections of words and dreams. In the consulting room, surrounding the couch, armchair and desk, a collection of antiquities—the metonymic representatives of both psychoanalysis's origins and its present accumulated terrain. 118 Bourgeois Bearings: Hysteria, Heredity and Class The scene that Freud encountered at Salpetriere was a relatively familiar one. It was not, however, an entirely comfortable one for him. Freud's "rebellion," to use Gelfand's term, is attributable in part to the fact that he was implicated in Charcot's theory of hereditary degeneracy. Charcot's attribution of hereditary causes, for not only hysteria but syphilitic dementia and other neurological diseases is the focus of Freud's earliest and most explicit disagreement with Charcot. Gelfand points out that Charcot makes numerous references to the racial degeneracy of the "Juif," in both the Tuesday lectures which Freud translated and in his correspondence with Freud ("Charcot's Response" 304). Though by Freud's own account Charcot seems to have treated Freud as a promising young medical student, the overt racism embedded in the discourse of hereditary aetiology would have been clear to Freud through his reading of Charcot's work. In his translation of Charcot's lectures, Freud cannot help but subject Charcot's "pleasant dream" to some critical analysis. Gelfand notes that Freud adds footnoted commentary to his translation of the lectures, much of which takes up directly Charcot's theories of degeneracy ("Charcot's Response" 306-7). Charcot responds amicably enough to this critical commentary but nonetheless goes on to question Freud's conclusion and to suggest that he look more closely at his patients' family trees: "Well, take a look (the exploration is easy, especially in Jewish families)'' (original emphasis, "Mon Cher Docteur Freud" 574).11 In 1896, Freud published two short papers which responded at more length to Charcot and the theory of hereditary aetiology. Freud is explicit in these essays about whose theory 119 he is criticizing. In the opening sentence of "Heredity and the Aetiology of the Neuroses," Freud states: "I am addressing in particular the disciples of J.-M. Charcot, in order to put forward some objections to the aetiological theory of the neuroses which was handed on to us by our teacher" (SE v.3 143). Here, Freud concludes that Charcot's theory "draw[s] a sharp line between families which are clear of all nervous predisposition and families which are subject to them to an unlimited extent," and suggests rather that "there are transitions and degrees in nervous disposition and that no family escapes it altogether" (SE v.3 144). Freud attacks Charcot's theory on precisely the ground that the larger community is commonly subject to nervous or mental disorders and that clear boundaries ought not to be drawn between communities, between families or, implicitly, between 'races.' It is in this essay that the term "psycho-analysis" first appears (151). In this essay Freud also proposes a sexual aetiology for nervous or mental disorders. Unlike Charcot, he does not suggest that sexual promiscuity is itself caused by heredity, but rather that "some event in the subject's sexual life" produces a mental disorder. The event provides the cause, in this early version of Freud's theory, not the patient's genetic make-up.12 In his contributions to Studies on Hysteria, co-authored with Joseph Breuer, Freud again takes up the issue of the hereditary aetiology of hysteria. Here, Freud continues to cite Charcot and to employ his schematic map of the four stages of a hysterical attack, while providing an alternative cause for these attacks: "psychically acquired hysteria" (SE v.2 12-13). In his analysis of "Miss Lucy," Freud suggests that her case is "a model instance of one particular type of hysteria, namely the form of this illness which can be acquired even by a person of sound heredity, as a result of appropriate experiences" (122). By the time he writes his conclusion, Freud is even more confident in directing his readers to "keep free from the 120 theoretical prejudice that we are dealing with the abnormal brains of 'degeneres' and 'desequilibres'" and instead focus on "the existence of hidden unconscious motives" in the hysteric (original emphasis, 293-94). Freud's shifting emphasis in this work is also, in part, affected by the type of patient that he was treating at this time and the setting in which that treatment was taking place. Denied the level of institutional access that Charcot could claim at Salpetriere, Freud began a private practice with patients who were, of necessity, in an economic position to pay for his services. He also explicitly insists, in Studies on Hysteria, that his patients be intelligent and educated: "the procedure is not applicable at all below a certain level of intelligence, and it is made very much more difficult by any trace of feebleness of mind" (265). Education, in this context, would depend on not only the patients mental abilities but also on their class standing, which would dictate the extent to which they would have access to education. In the case of "Fraulein Elisabeth Von R," Freud goes on at some length on the topic of his patient's physical and intellectual attributes in the context of a discussion of her hysterical symptoms, and follows with the assertion that "no appreciable hereditary taint [... ] could be traced on either side of her family" (166). Freud's attribution of intelligence to his patients acts to undermine the notion that their psychic maladies are indicative of a general weakness of mind and body. His descriptions also diverge from those of Charcot, in suggesting that his patients exist as more than simply the "medical specimens" or objects of an (imperialist) scientific gaze. In the "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis," Freud is still insistent that "the prospects of treatment are determined by the patient's social milieu and the cultural level of 121 his family" (SE v. 16 461). Here, Freud argues explicitly that the socialising effects of an education and family configuration, afforded by the middle-class, allows for the patient's susceptibility to both neuroses and cure. One of the tenets of Freud's theory of neuroses was that the process of 'civilization' consisted of the repression of sexual desire and the harnessing or redirecting of that desire in the work of building a civil society. In 1908 he writes, "generally speaking, our civilization is built up on the suppression of instinct," and goes on to argue that the sexual instinct "places extraordinarily large amounts of force at the disposal of civilized activity, and it does this in virtue of its especially marked characteristic of being able to displace its aim without materially diminishing in intensity" (SE v.9 186-87). Freud argues that the more the patient's social class subjects him or her to the civilizing processes of education, the more likely the patient is to develop a nervous illness. In "The Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis," he tells the allegorical story of two girls of different classes who live in the basement and first floor of the same building. The "proletarian" girl becomes openly sexual and views sexual activity as "natural and harmless," while the "higher moral and intellectual" education of the "landlord's daughter" demands that she repress her sexuality (SE v. 16 353-4). The proletarian is still represented as sexual, and subject to her physical desires. The bourgeois girl, however, is represented as subject to the same desires in childhood, repressing those desires only as a result of the socially constructed forces of education. Freud moves even farther from the theory of hereditary degeneracy as a source for class distinctions at the end of his career, although a non-degenerative notion of heredity plays an ongoing and important role in his construction of phylogeneses in relation to the Oedipal complex (SE v.2 240-41) and in his examination of "archaic heritage" in Moses and Monotheism (SE v. 23 98).1 3 In the "New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis," he makes a brief reference to Marx and posits his own theory of class: I do not know how I can shake off my lay opinion that the class structure of society goes back to the struggles which, from the beginning of history, took place between human hordes only slightly differing from each other. Social distinctions [... ] were originally distinctions between clans or races. Victory was decided by psychological factors, such as the amount of constitutional aggressiveness but also by the firmness of the organisation within the horde, and by material factors, such as the possession of superior weapons. (SE v.22 177) The mention of "constitutional aggressiveness" leaves open the possibility that there are some 'slight' hereditary differences between the classes that developed in the structure established by 'primitive' struggles. The focus oh the historic nature of those struggles also follows the archaeological habit of obscuring contemporary economic and cultural factors with a discussion of the distant past. Nonetheless, Freud emphasises the social and material factors at play in the development of class structures, and minimises the 'actual' differences between the groups in conflict. Another important shift here is the depiction of "constitutional" differences which are not visible. It is the aggressive rather than the attractive clan that has the edge in Freud's formulation. This distinction would continue to be important for Freud, not only in his work but in his personal life in the midst of the 123 proliferation of increasingly virulent anti-Semitic propaganda in Austria, much of which contained racialized depictions of purportedly visible Jewish physical characteristics.14 Freud's characterization of his patients' class standing, and of the role of class in general, emphasises the social forces of education and leisure in constructing arbitrary distinctions. In this, Freud's understanding of the relationship between class and mental illness clearly stands in opposition to Charcot's deterministic views. Freud is also consistent, here, in emphasising the initial similarities between patients of different classes, and even between patients and analysts. Just as Freud constructs an international scientific venue in which nationalist biases can be overcome, he constructs an analytic venue in which the traumatic events that cause mental illness can be overcome. Freud's representation of class, however, has come under scrutiny by postcolonial theorist Anne McClintock. In Imperial Leather, McClintock argues that Freud's concentration on patients whose class standing was the same as his own produced a problematic blind spot. McClintock suggests that his choice of decidedly bourgeois examples in his work was also the result of the perceived threat to white, male, bourgeois power represented by working class women. It is, she argues, the intersection of gender, sexuality and class in the body of the female domestic servant that threatens to disrupt the power relations outlined in Freud's theory of family dynamics—in which the father is the orienting point for sexual and psychological action and anxiety. In Totem and Taboo, as in Three Essays, Freud emphasises the primacy of the Oedipus complex in forming contemporary social practice and patterns of development: "I should like to insist that the beginnings of religion, morals, society and art converge in the 124 Oedipus complex" (SE v. 13 156). He goes on to imply that in this model it is the relationship to the father that is the most important element: "It seems to me a most surprising discovery that the problems of social psychology, too, should prove soluble on the basis of one single concrete point—man's relation to his father" (SE v. 13 157). In contrast, the role of the nursemaid is represented in peripheral terms. The figure of the wet nurse appears briefly in relation to Freud's depiction of the infant's experience of nursing in Leonardo Da Vinci, A Memory of His Childhood (SE v. 11 87) and in The Interpretation of Dreams (SE v.5 572, 577). In both instances the wet nurse is not a central character in the analysis, rather the male child's experience of nursing is emphasised. In Leonardo Da Vinci, Da Vinci's infantile erotic development is discussed, not in relation to the wet nurse, but in relation to his mother and to his (bourgeois) step-mother. McClintock argues that the domestic servant, in the person of the nursemaid, is erased from the Oedipal scene in Freud's published work. She points out, however, that in his letters his own nursemaid is characterised as his "prime originator" (qtd. in McClintock 87) and the source of his first sexual identification (91). McClintock argues that Freud elides the figure of the working-class woman from psychoanalysis in general, and from the Oedipal complex in particular, because "the power relations between working-class women and their young charges were not identical to the power relations between maids and their adult employers" (85). In other words, what young, bourgeois boys learned at the hands of autocratic nursemaids was exactly what they had to forget as they assumed positions in a power structure justified on the basis of their ability and right to exercise power in the domestic, local and international scene. 125 McClintock goes on to argue that it is precisely in making a less powerful place for the nursemaid that Freud returns to a phylogenetic theory of power relations in which the nursemaid becomes merely an accidental interloper—and not a defining agent: Indeed, it can be said that Freud's Oedipal theory is what remains once he elides the class divisions that structured the middle and upper-middle-class household. Subsequently, the nurse returns once more, only to be once more banished, when Freud argues that 'phylogenetically inherited schemata' are 'precipitates from the history of human civilization. The Oedipus complex [... ] is one of them.' For Freud, here, the Oedipus complex is an 'inherited schema which overrides the child's own historically variant experience: 'we are often able to see the schema triumphing over the experience of the individual [....] Wherever experiences fail to fit in with the hereditary schema, they become remodelled in the imagination.' Freud takes as an example of 'personal experience' overridden by the 'hereditary' Oedipus complex the process that 'is at work where a nurse comes to play the mother's part or where the two become fused together.' (88)15 McClintock reads Freud's aetiology of the Oedipus complex as supporting the power of the father by obscuring the power of the working-class woman over the bourgeois male child in the domestic scene. When Freud's attention shifts to the child, his work becomes more disruptive of those power relations. Freud's theory of the sexual and mental development of children (and by his own analogy 'primitive' or colonised peoples) challenged the social 126 order in which it was developed and provoked the greatest negative reaction on the part of his contemporary readers. Unnatural States: Civilization, Sexuality and Freud's Notion of the Primitive In his work on the sexual and psychical development of children, Freud makes the popular analogy between the development of children and the development of nations—both of which, he argues, are fundamentally concerned with sexual instincts and their repression and/or renunciation. For Freud, however, the 'underdeveloped' individual, the young child, is not wholly the representative of ignorance. Nor is the civilized individual wholly the representative of self-conscious enlightenment. Shortly after publishing his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1905 Freud develops an argument to which he would return throughout his later work, whose fundamental assumption is that "civilization is built on the suppression of instinct" (SE v.9 186). This suppression of instinct is, he writes, both the source of the work of the civilized or developed society and the source of its neuroses. It is a suppression that places "extraordinarily large amounts of force at the disposal of civilized activity" (SE v.9 187). It also places extraordinarily large amounts of strain on the competing components of the psyche involved in redirecting those instincts: "the many developments, repressions, sublimations and reaction formations, by means of which a child with a quite other innate endowment grows into what we call a normal man" also causes that individual to be "the bearer, and in part the victim, of the civilization that has been so painfully acquired" (SE v . l l 36).1 6 127 Freud argues that a greater self-consciousness on the part of developed or civilized adults, concerning their own repressed childhood instincts, should not be perceived as a threat to the process of civilizational development. A n individual's development should be shaped by an educated choice on the part of the child, rather than a repression brought on as the result of the child being made to feel a psychically unbearable level of shame.17 In a letter published in response to the public reception of his Three Essays, Freud argues for the place of sexual education in the institutions shaping the development of the ethical European citizen: I consider it the most significant advance in child education that in France the state should have introduced, in place of catechism, a primer which gives the child his first instruction in his position as a citizen and on the ethical duties which will later devolve on him. But such elementary instruction is seriously deficient, so long as it does not include the field of sexuality. Here is the gap which educators and reformers should set about filling. (SE v.9 139) The ethics of the citizen are explicitly linked here to the understanding that psychoanalysis brings to childhood sexuality. In the years that followed the publication of Three Essays, Freud continued to assert the importance of acknowledging the instinctual life of all children, going as far as to cite opposition to his work by the representatives of "German science" as a sign of German barbarism. The denial of instinctual behaviour, rather than its expression, becomes the measure of uncivilised behaviour: "But for the degree of arrogance which they displayed, for their conscienceless contempt of logic, and for the coarseness and bad taste of their attacks 128 there could be no excuses [....] Years later, during the World War, when a chorus of enemies were bringing against the German nation the charge of barbarism, a charge which sums up all I have written about [concerning critiques of his work], it none the less hurt deeply to feel that my own experience would not allow me to contradict it" (SE v.20 233). In his critique of his academic opponents Freud returns to some of the same justifications employed by Charcot in support of his work at Salpetriere—claiming the primacy of the scientific quest for objective knowledge and setting its enlightened project against a barbarous or, in Charcot's case, clerical ignorance. While Freud explicitly refuses to make "concessions to faintheartedness" (SE v. 18 88) on the subject of sexual instinct, he does suggest what might be at stake for his European, bourgeois opponents. They are the "victims" of the civilizing process that teaches them to feel shame in relation to their earliest childhood sexual instincts. In addition, the assertion at the centre of the Oedipal complex—that their sexual feelings for their mothers have provoked in them a desire to kil l their fathers—unsettles a picture of the domestic scene in which, as McClintock has argued, a great deal of national and imperial sentiment has been invested. In the "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis," Freud recounts an incident in which a medical officer in the German army, who was sympathetic to Freud's theories, encountered resistance from his fellow doctors in precisely the case of the Oedipal complex: " A l l went well for a while, but when he spoke to his audience about the Oedipal complex, one of his superiors rose, declared he did not believe it, [and] that it was a vile act on the part of the lecturer to speak of such things to them, honest men who were fighting for their 129 country and fathers of a family" (SE v. 16 330). Freud, however, remains resolute and goes on to argue that "it seems to me a bad thing, however, i f a German victory requires that science shall be 'organised' in this way, and German science will not respond well to organisation of such a kind" (330). Here, too, the civilizing process bears less than admirable results in Freud's estimation. The intellectual-scientific achievements of the wider European fatherland, of which he is so proud, are threatened by a weakness in the very civilising processes of education and acculturation that have produced, among other things, Charcot's Salpetriere and Freud's practice. It was precisely in the fight of good fathers for their specific fatherlands in World War I that Freud begins to collapse the distance between the developed adult (and the civilised nation) and the underdeveloped child (and uncivilised peoples)—though never to the point of identity. In an essay written at the beginning of the war, "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death," Freud argues specifically that the 'objective' aims of science have been corrupted by national interests: "science herself has lost her passionless impartiality; her deeply embittered servants seek for weapons from her with which to contribute towards the struggle with the enemy. Anthropologists feel driven to declare him inferior and degenerate, psychiatrists issue a diagnosis of his disease of mind or spirit" (SE v. 14 273). It should be said that the focus of the partial scientific attacks, the enemy, in Freud's depiction of the conflict, is not the colonised peoples of other continents but rather the "great world-dominating nations of the white race upon whom the leadership of the human species has fallen" (274). 130 In "Thoughts for the Times on War and Death," Freud comes to the conclusion that the civilizing process—the process through which the European, bourgeois subject comes to adhere to the social and ethical demands of 'his' cultural milieu—is not an irreversible one. Progress, in the sense of individual development, can always be undone: [The] extraordinary plasticity of mental development is not unrestricted as regards direction; it may be described as a special capacity for involution—for regression—since it may well happen that a later and higher stage of development, once abandoned, cannot be reached again. But the primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. (SE v. 14 285-86) Freud is not, in this passage, unsettling the schema in which the primitive is equated with a lack of social, ethical and educational structure, and as a result with the amoral or instinctual behaviour he feels is exemplified in the violence of nations at war. He is, however, positing a more tenuous position for the European nations' right to assume the "leadership of the human species" (274). Freud asserts that the individual is imminently capable of falling or returning to a primitive state, and links that individual to the nation, which he defines as a collective of individuals. The collective is, by association, equally capable of returning to an uncivilised or primitive state: "having in this way once more come to understand our fellow-citizens who are now alienated from us, we shall much more easily endure the disappointment which the nations, the collective individuals of mankind, have caused us, for the demands we make upon these should be far more modest" (288). 131 Freud goes so far as to suggest that, as a collective, the state develops even more slowly than the individual and has, in fact, never reached the point of development of which an individual is capable: "Perhaps they are recapitulating the course of individual development, and to-day still represent very primitive phases in organisation and in the formation of higher unities. It is in agreement with this that the educative factor of an external compulsion towards morality, which we found was so effective in individuals, is as yet barely discernible in them" (288). In this context the primitive is that which is always already there in the child and in the adult. The primitive is not only that crisis to which the European nations have come in World War-I, but the fundamental quality of individuals and collectives which can never be lost—only, on occasion, repressed. The primitive instincts become like the relics of individuals' memories—perpetually preserved artefacts. In this context, the primitive artefact is the indestructible reminder of the nation's past and its potential future. It is necessary to return to a work published a few years earlier in order to explore the ways in which Freud represents the primitive, as applied to non-European individuals and groups: the 1913 book Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics. The subtitle of this work points to an additional association Freud makes with the primitive. In drawing comparisons between non-European "savages" and European neurotics, he is making a comparison between the adult "victims" of the civilizing process and peoples whom he characterizes as "a well-preserved picture of an earlier stage of our own development" (SE v. 13 1). In this sense, the notion of progress— from childhood to adulthood and from the primitive to the civilized-is rendered circular. Education and the suppression of instinct lead to a healthy maturity and the productive work 1 3 2 of civilization, but too much suppression—too much of the civilizing process—and the civilized adult is rendered childlike and his/her behaviour primitive. The behaviour of the child, the neurotic and the non-European is comparable in Freud's terms. The context in which that behaviour is presented renders it unhealthy. The orienting point of this work is still a notion of the normal as it relates to the European adult, and non-Europeans are not judged neurotic on the basis of their being 'naturally' like children. The non-Europeans whom Freud proposes to study in Totem and Taboo are produced, in any case, as examples that prove his theories concerning the development of Europeans. Freud begins Totem and Taboo with the assertion that non-European "savages" are the "direct heirs and representatives" of "prehistoric man" (SE v. 13 1). They are the living traces of the early stages of the development of human beings, and as such are comparable to the "inanimate monuments and implements" and other "relics of [prehistoric man's] mode of thought" (1). These living artefacts are not of interest in themselves, but rather "their mental life [has] a peculiar interest for us i f we are right in seeing in it a well-preserved picture of an earlier stage of our own development" (1). Freud does express concern about his choice of subject, and twice makes a qualification of his assertion of the identity of non-European peoples and "prehistoric man" in footnotes to this text. In the second of these two qualificatory passages he writes: It should not be forgotten that primitive races are not young races. There is no reason to suppose that, for the benefit of our information, they have retained their original ideas and institutions undeveloped and undistorted. On the contrary, it is certain that there have been profound changes in every direction among primitive races, so that it is never possible to decide without hesitation 133 how far their present-day conditions and opinions preserve the primeval past in a petrified form and how far they are distortions and modifications of it. (SEv.13 102-3) Freud's footnotes suggest a critical attitude towards anthropological observations about non-European peoples that is not as evident in the body of Totem and Taboo. In the text, he goes on to argue as if the comparison were accurate. Having suggested uncertainty, however, Freud adds that the arena in which "primitive men" are to be understood is one in which he has proven his own capacity for investigation and interpretation: "We misunderstand primitive men just as easily as we do children" (SE v.13 103). Freud's expression of his doubts concerning the picture presented by "primitive" examples can also be understood as further evidence of the extent to which he is interested in making an argument concerning the development of European individuals. They are the important subjects of the work and it is their behaviour that must be presented accurately. The discussion of non-European behaviour is, in this sense, always already an allegory for the behaviour of Europeans, in much the same way that the artefacts of ancient civilizations, in the hands of European archaeologists, do not represent Greece or Egypt as much as they represent contemporary English or French cultural aspirations. The "early stage of our own development" that the book focuses on is not so much the prehistoric as the pre-adult, and in this Totem and Taboo serves as a corollary to Three Essays. It acts as a defense of Freud's assertions about the sexual life of children by using examples drawn from the behaviours of non-European adults. The first example Freud develops in Totem and Taboo is his understanding of the Australian Aborigines' observance of the taboo against incestuous sexual relations. Freud concludes his discussion of the incest 134 prohibition of the Australian Aborigines by returning to his theory of its function in the development of the European child, and concomitant criticisms of his work: This revelation of the importance of incest in neuroses is naturally received with universal scepticism by adults and normal people [....] We are driven to believe that this rejection is principally a product of the distaste which human beings feel for their early incestuous wishes, now overtaken by repression. It is therefore of no small importance that we are able to show that these same incestuous wishes, which are later destined to become unconscious, are still regarded by savage peoples as immediate perils against which the most severe measures of defense must be enforced. (SE v. 13 17) Freud goes on to use non-European examples in support of the assertions that children give great power to the spoken word (SE v. 13 56), and that the neurotic and the child share a belief in the "omnipotence of [their] thoughts" (SE v. 13 85). He draws a comparison between the narcissistic stage of the child's psycho-sexual development—in which the object of the child's desires is himself—to the "over-valuation" that "primitive men and neurotics" place on their own thoughts and powers.19 Here again, Freud traces a circular path from child to adult, to neurotic, childlike adult, and from primitive and childlike societies to civilized, adult societies (which in turn are capable of neurotic or primitive or childlike behaviour in war). In Totem and Taboo the use of the term "primitive," and the definition of that term through the examples provided, has a great deal more to do with European peoples than with the Australian Aborigines, for example. To the extent that Freud "[lays himself] open to the 135 charge of endowing modern savages with a subtlety in their mental activities which exceeds all probability" (SE v. 13 99) he does so in an attempt to support his own work, which endows modern children with a subtlety in their mental activities which exceeds all probability. Indeed, Freud finishes this argument by averring that "it seems to me quite possible, however, that the same may be true of our attitude towards the psychology of those races that have remained at the animistic level as is true of our attitude towards the mental life of children, which we adults no longer understand and whose fullness and delicacy of feeling we have in consequence so greatly underestimated" (SE v. 13 99). In making the comparison between children and 'primitive peoples' Freud relies on a paternalistic discourse mobilized in support of the colonisation of those peoples. Moreover, this comparison supports the intersecting categories of the mentally i l l or incompetent, the child and the racialized non-European. In suggesting that his readers take both children and non-Europeans seriously, Freud's argument is supported by the ongoing and largely unspoken assumption that the individuals in question are men. It is not simply a case of using the masculine pronoun as the neutral case, but a tendency, beginning in the Three Essays, to normalize male psycho-sexual development as standard and to present female development as either identical to the male or as aberrant, and indeed as a racialized and unfathomable "dark continent" (SE v.20 212). Women's Words and Men's Actions: Gender, Race and Sexuality Freud's work displays an ongoing ambivalence concerning the biological basis for gendered behaviour. Two trends are evident over the course of his career. The first strain 136 comprises an assertion that individuals, while biologically male or female, were not essentially predisposed to masculinity or femininity, but rather were inherently bisexual in the sense that they were equally likely to display characteristics of either masculinity or femininity. This strain of thought is evident throughout his work, and can be seen particularly in Civilization and Its Discontents and "Female Sexuality." The second strain of thought concerning the nature of gendered identity in Freud's work ties activity, instinct and strength to the anatomically (and psychically) male and passivity, repression and weakness to the anatomically (and psychically) female. A great deal of compelling feminist work has been done in this area, and while I do not wish to rehash familiar arguments I will discuss this second, more deterministic trend in relation to Totem and Taboo and notions of race and class in general.21 In her remarkable critique of Freud's constructions of feminine sexuality, Luce Irigaray concludes that in Freud's work "the little girl is (only) a little boy" after all (25). Freud himself expresses as much in Three Essays: The auto-erotic activity of the erotogenic zones is, however, the same in both sexes, and owing to this uniformity their is no possibility of a distinction between the two sexes [in childhood] such as arises after puberty. So far as the auto-erotic and masturbatory manifestations of sexuality are concerned, we might lay it down that the sexuality of little girls is of a wholly masculine character. (SEv.7 219) While he goes on to suggest, in this passage, that he cannot give a "definite connotation to the concepts of 'masculine' and 'feminine,'" he does repeatedly associate activity with the 137 (culturally constructed) quality of masculinity and passivity with the (culturally constructed) quality of femininity.22 His assertion that "the libido is invariably and necessarily of a masculine nature" (219) relies on the definition of instinctual drives as active, and thus masculine by definition. The description of autoeroticism in Three Essays suggests a tendency, in Freud's earlier work, to blur the distinction between the characteristic of masculinity and the anatomical assignment 'male': "The preference for the hand [in masturbation] which is shown by boys is already evidence of the important contribution which the instinct for mastery is destined to make to sexual activity" (SE v.7 188). Here, activity in the form of 'masterful' behaviour is not simply a reflection of the child's individual nature but rather the direct product of the child's sex. Freud appears to be biologising instinctual passivity in women: "the development of the inhibitions of sexuality (shame, disgust, pity etc.) takes place in little girls earlier and in the face of less resistance than in boys; the tendency to sexual repression seems in general to be greater; and, where the component instincts of sexuality appear, they prefer the passive form" (SE v.7 219). Here Freud associates the active expression of instincts with the masculine (and sometimes anatomically male) and the lack of resistance to the civilizing process with the feminine or female. This division suggests a parallel between what is masculine, the child, and the 'primitive.' A l l three are characterised by the expression of instinct and by a lack of repression. In Freud's discussion of the fear of castration in Totem and Taboo these categories also appear to run together: 138 The illuminating instance interpreted by Ferenczi has shown us how a little boy took as his totem the beast that had pecked at his little penis. When our children come to hear of ritual circumcision, they equate it with castration [....] In primeval times and in primitive races, where circumcision is so frequent, it is performed at the age of initiation into manhood and it is at that age that its significance is to be found; it was only as a secondary development that it was shifted back to the early years of life. It is of very great interest to find that among primitive peoples circumcision is combined with cutting the hair and knocking out teeth or is replaced by them and that our children, who cannot possibly have any knowledge of this, in fact treat these two operations, in the anxiety with which they react to them, as equivalents of castration. (SEv.13 153) In this passage Freud compares the anatomically male child (and "his little penis") to the anatomically male children of "primitive races" (i.e. those with penises to be circumcised in the "initiation into manhood"). Out of this comparison he finds support for the theory of the castration complex (SE v.7 195) which is defined as universally applicable to all of "our children."23 In the 1915 essay "Instincts and Their Vicissitudes," Freud returns to the active-passive dualism and to the association of the primeval stages of social development with primitive, instinctive activity. While Freud argues that instincts can manifest themselves in both active and passive behaviours, he states nonetheless that "every instinct is a piece of activity; i f we speak loosely of passive instincts, we can only mean instincts whose aim is 139 passive" (SE v. 14 122). He supports his discussion of the vacillation of instincts between the active and passive (or instinctual "ambivalence") by citing the evidence presented by primeval behaviour, associated again with activity: "Marked instinctual ambivalence in a human being living at the present day may be regarded as an archaic inheritance, for we have reason to suppose that the part played in instinctual life by the active impulses in their unmodified form was greater in primeval times than it is on an average to-day" (SE v. 14 131). As Freud expands on the relationship of the instincts to the ego, he broadens his focus to include the "three polarities" which "our mental life as a whole is governed by," namely: "Subject (ego)--Object (external world), Pleasure—Unpleasure, and Active-Passive" (SE v.14 133). This last polarity is attached to the biological, with a qualification: "The antithesis active-passive coalesces later [in the child's development] with the antithesis masculine-feminine, which, until this has taken place, has no psychological meaning. The coupling of activity with masculinity and of passivity with femininity meets us, indeed, as a biological fact; but it is by no means as invariably complete and exclusive as we are inclined to assume" (SE v. 14 134). Freud closes this essay in the same vein, with the unqualified assertion that "the essential feature in the vicissitudes undergone by instincts lies in the subjection of the instinctual impulses to the influences of the three great polarities that dominate mental life. Of these three polarities we might describe that of activity-passivity as the biological" (original emphasis, SE v. 14 140). In this context, masculinity and maleness are associated, for the most part, with activity. Both the masculine and the active are associated with the instinctual, which in turn 140 is associated with the primitive arid childlike. This chain of association sets itself against the more prevalent association of the childlike, primitive and instinctual with the female. Given, however, that Freud's work took both the life of the child and, tangentially, the mental life of the 'savage' as its subjects, it was in his interest to argue that the mental life of children and 'savages' were relevant to his academic audience. That audience was, with a few important exceptions, European and male. The universalising of the masculine as the neutral case, and the association of masculinity and the instinctual forces of the psyche with (masculine) activity, can be seen as an attempt to aid Freud in convincing the medical institutions of the period of the relevance of psychoanalysis to their lives, and perhaps, to their work by taking a tack opposite to that of Charcot—by implicating the European, male members of his audience in his presentation.24 While neuroses in Freud's male patients is by definition pathological, it is still configured as a characteristically masculine behaviour, in that it is represented as the product of activity and a desire for mastery. The exhibition or repression of sexual instincts may indicate a failure of the adult man to have developed, but the instincts themselves are not a symptom of pathology. In the Three Essays, the excessive display of sexual instincts in women is deemed perverse. That 'perversity' of activity is, in turn, framed through the discourse of class, recalling the example of the proletarian girl in the "Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis." Female libidinal activity is conflated with female economic activity: [I]n this respect children behave in the same kind of way as an average uncultivated woman in whom the same polymorphous perverse disposition persists. Under normal conditions she may remain normal sexually, but i f she 141 is led on by a clever seducer she will find every sort of perversion to her taste, and will retain them as part of her own sexual activities. Prostitutes exploit the same polymorphous, that is, infantile, disposition for the purposes of their profession; and, considering the immense number of women who are prostitutes or who must be supposed to have an aptitude for prostitution without becoming engaged in it, it becomes impossible not to recognise that this same disposition to perversion of every kind is a general and fundamental human characteristic. (SEv.7 191) Two strains of thought meet in this argument. He characterizes the woman's "perverse disposition" in relation to the disposition of the "clever" and presumably male seducer. The woman's disposition, while a "fundamental human characteristic," is defined in relation to male behaviour, just as the little girl's early impulses are defined in relation to the example of the little boy. The little girl can occupy, but not originate, the "masculine" or active position. The problem arises in as far as Freud seems to argue simultaneously that masculinity and femininity are simply descriptive terms and that those terms derive from an anatomical sex distinction. Unable to give up the notion that biology plays a role in producing gendered behaviour, Freud consigns this issue to the realm of obscurity. At the end of his career he writes, in "An Outline of Psychoanalysis" (1938): We are faced here by the great enigma of the biological fact of the duality of the sexes: it is an ultimate fact of our knowledge, it defies every attempt to trace it back to something else. Psychoanalysis has contributed nothing to 142 clearing up this problem, which clearly falls wholly within the province of biology. In mental life we only find reflections of this great antithesis [....] For distinguishing between male and female in mental life we make use of what is obviously an inadequate empirical and conventional equation: we call everything that is strong and active male, and everything that is weak and passive female. This fact of psychological bisexuality, too, embarrasses all our inquiries into the subject and makes them harder to describe. (SE v.23 188) The notion that the girl or woman only imitates the characteristic behaviours which define masculinity by watching the little boy allows Freud to recuperate this paradox to the extent that the quality of masculinity has its originating source in the anatomically male and that it is only acquired by the girl though exposure to, for example, the "clever seducer." The second strain of thought in the passage quoted from the Three Essays is perhaps even more potentially disturbing to Freud's European, bourgeois, male readers. The notion that there are a vast number of 'actively,' sexually perverse women lurking in the street and the home is threatening, not only to the domestic order which rests on the passive domestic work of middle class women, but in that these women seem to be exhibiting masculine behaviour which originates in their own "polymorphously perverse" disposition. This masculine sexual disposition in the anatomical female is, in Freud's later work, described explicitly as a threat to the social order and the work of civilization: Women soon come into opposition to civilization and display their retarding and restraining influence—those very women who, in the beginning, laid the 143 foundation of civilization by the claims of their love. The work of civilization has become increasingly the business of men, it confronts them with ever more difficult tasks and compels them to carry out instinctual sublimations of which women are little capable [....] Thus the woman finds herself forced into the background by the claims of civilization and she adopts a hostile attitude towards it. (SE v.21 95) Within this configuration, the claim that "the sexual life of adult women is a dark continent for psychology" (SE v.20 212) doesn't align female sexual instincts with the primitive as much as it places them entirely outside of the process of individual civilizational development. The darkness in which female sexuality is shrouded is both that which obscures the threat posed to the logic of psychoanalysis' constructions of gender, and that which obscures the threat of a force which cannot be productively harnessed toward the work of civilizational development. 144 Chapter Four: Lacan and the Return of French Psychoanalysis Introduction Lacan's work has come to be associated with a period of great social and political turmoil in France. Elisabeth Roudinesco has argued, nonetheless, that his personal involvement in the French-Algerian war of 1956-62 and the social protests of May 1968 was limited to that of an interested onlooker.1 Lacan's influence on the intellectual revolution taking place was far more central. According to Foucault, "the point of rupture came the day that Levi-Strauss for societies and Lacan for the unconscious showed us that 'meaning' was probably a mere surface effect, a shimmering froth, and that what traversed the depths, what came before us, what sustained us in time and space, was system" (qtd. in Roudinesco 376).2 Sherry Turkle also argues that Lacan's revision of psychoanalysis was particularly suited to the poststructuralist current of intellectual thought that came into prominence in France in the 1960s: [Psychoanalysis had long been associated with bourgeois thought but Lacan rehabilitated it for radicals. Lacan came to personify a conception of psychoanalysis not as a quasi-medical technique focused on cure but as a scientific discipline and individual research program that needs no further therapeutic justification. This therapeutic indifference goes hand in hand with a radical critique of the psychoanalytic institution. (248-49) 145 As Turkle points out, Freud's work in particular had established the psychoanalytic practice of analysis as one which took place between a bourgeois analyst and a bourgeois analysand, in a room in a bourgeois house, located in a bourgeois neighbourhood. Seventy years after Charcot's death, Lacan influenced an intellectual movement that would return the gaze of psychoanalysis to the working-class—this time with an entirely different aim and a different audience in view. In the revised Marxist intellectual milieu of France in the 1960s, the object of psychoanalytic theory became, at least in the abstract, the working class. This time, however, those for whom Lacan had "rehabilitated" psychoanalysis felt themselves to be, i f not part of the working class, at least sympathetic to the interests of that class.4 Their work was not the maintenance and support of an imperialist and paternalist political discourse but the dismantling of the claims of that discourse. The poststructuralist movement, influenced by Lacan, was very much engaged in political and academic institutional reforms. In Lacan's work, however, the link between material and intellectual practice is rarely made. The important exception to this rule is Lacan's interest in psychoanalytic institutions and the process of analysis itself. Although Lacan did not discuss the specific analysands whom he treated in his private practice, he was certainly interested in the "therapeutic justification" of psychoanalysis. With the caveat that Lacan's decidedly opaque style of writing suggests that it is rarely possible to 'take him at his word,' he does state in a lecture delivered in 1964 that "the aim of my teaching has been and still is the training of analysts" (The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis 230). For Lacan, the material applications of his theoretical work is limited to the training of analysts and the practice of analysis! As is the case for 146 Charcot and Freud, institutional interests shaped Lacan's theoretical model. The desire to establish and maintain his own psychoanalytic institution, the Ecole freudienne, affected Lacan's presentation of his own doctrine of psychoanalysis. Lacan refers repeatedly to the limits of analytic practice in the realm of the social and political. In the 1936 essay "The Mirror Stage," he claims a broad territory for psychoanalysis but reminds his reader that the practice of psychoanalysis is limited in its powers of social transformation by the therapeutic situation in which individuals, not social bodies, are treated: "in the recourse of subject to subject that we preserve, psychoanalysis may accompany the patient to the ecstatic limits of the 'Thou art that' in which is revealed to him the cipher of his moral destiny, but it is not in our mere power as practitioners to bring him to that point where the real journey begins" (Ecrits 7). In his seminars on the ethics of psychoanalysis, Lacan again states that "the ethical limits of psychoanalysis coincide with the limits of its practice. Its practice is only a preliminary to moral action as such—the so-called action being the one through which we enter the real" (The Seminars of Jacques Lacan. Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis: 1959-1960 21-22)5 With these parameters in mind, I will discuss work less explicitly engaged with the social and the political and will concentrate, here as elsewhere, on the extent to which particular disciplinary and institutional interests shape the models and discourses appropriated by Lacan in his work, and his model of ethics. 147 Desire Is Interpretation Itself: Lacan and Linguistics Lacan is perhaps best known for his repeated claims to represent an accurate interpretation of Freud's work. He does, however, make one other claim to intellectual patronage, although even in this he follows Freud. In one of his earliest published essays, the 1948 "Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis," Lacan, like Freud, cites a classical precursor to the practice of psychoanalysis. In this case it is the Greek Socratic dialogue, rather than the art of dream interpretation, to which Lacan refers his readers. Here Lacan, in Freud's name, claims that psychoanalysis has not merely inherited a practice from the birthplace of Western civilization, but improved on it in a particularly unique way: From Socrates onwards philosophy has always placed its hope in the triumph of reason. And yet ever since Thrasymachus made his stormy exit at the beginning of The Republic, verbal dialectic has all too often proved a failure, f l have emphasised that the analyst cured even the most serious cases of madness through dialogue; what virtue, then did Freud add to it? TThe rule proposed to the patient in analysis allows him to advance in a blind intentionality that has no other purpose than to free him from an illness or an ignorance whose very limits he is unaware of. (Ecrits 12)6 Seventeen years later, in a passage added to "The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis" in 1966, Lacan states that while he rejects the illusion of "so-called analytic neutrality, this does not mean that we have nothing to learn from the elasticity of the Socratic maieutics, or 'art of midwifery,' or even from the fascinating technical procedure by which Plato presents it to us" (Ecrits 80). 148 In addition to Socrates and Plato, Lacan lays claim to a number of other European philosophical predecessors. In Seminar VII he asserts that "one never goes beyond Descartes, Kant, Marx, Hegel and a few others because they mark a line of inquiry, a true orientation. One never goes beyond Freud either" (206). That said, there are several points in his work in which Lacan does go, i f not beyond, at least against the grain of the majority of his avowed intellectual patrons. Nonetheless, with these philosophical citations Lacan provides not only himself but psychoanalysis with antecedents whose intellectual 'gloire' was not lost on the academic audience of his seminars. Freud's early training within the institutions of medicine led him, in part, to make his claims of discovery within a specifically medical territory. In his role as medical and intellectual conquistador, the adoption of the fields of anthropology and archaeology allowed psychoanalysis to exploit the social benefits of these associations with popular and relatively well-established fields and to extend the applications of psychoanalytic practice beyond individual, medical treatment. While Lacan's early training took place in medicine as well, his interest in psychoanalysis came at a time when Freud had claimed that field as very much his own. As Lacan began to make a name for himself in the 1950s, he did so by simultaneously claiming to follow the 'master' of psychoanalysis precisely, and by reorienting the disciplinary affiliations of psychoanalysis towards linguistics.7 This new and, in Lacan's terms, essential connection is legitimated through the claim that, like the Freudian unconscious, it was there all along waiting to be found by someone who knew where to look. Indeed, Lacan seems almost to be paraphrasing Charcot's claim that one must "know to seek for it where it is to be found" (Diseases of the Nervous System 13) and Freud's assertion that he is "by temperament nothing but a conquistador" (qtd. in Masson 398) when he avers: 149 "Personally, I have never regarded myself as a researcher. As Picasso once said, to the shocked surprise of those around him—I do not seek, I find" (The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis 7). What Lacan finds in Freud's wake is a new artefact, a new form of evidence, and a new science of words. In recasting Freud as someone whose "discovery merits comparison with Champollion's," Lacan reorients Freud's disciplinary affiliation (Ecrits 81). Champollion was, after all, the Frenchman who deciphered the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone and, as such, the 'father' of comparative linguistics. In Lacan's intellectual genealogy, Freud becomes an interpreter of language rather than an interpreter of narratives.8 He frames his analysis of Freud's theory of the unconscious in linguistic terms. The specific form of linguistics drawn on by Lacan is the one elaborated by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Perhaps not coincidentally, Saussure himself was interested in establishing clear disciplinary boundaries around the field of linguistics and in shoring up its claims to a scientific method. The first three sections of the lectures published as A Course In General Linguistics are taken up with "The History of Linguistics" (1-5), "The Subject Matter and Scope of Linguistics; Its Relationship with Other Sciences" (6-7), and "The Object of Linguistics" (7-17). Here Saussure sets out to examine "the lines of demarcation" between linguistics and other sciences (6), to lay claim to "the importance of linguistics to general culture" (7), and to point to past misrepresentations of the field in order to establish his as the canonical one: "there is no other field in which so many absurd notions, prejudices, mirages, and fictions have sprung up[....] the task of the linguist is, above all else, to condemn them and dispel them as best he can" (7). Lacan borrows the framework of his argumentative structure as much from Saussure as from Freud. Saussure's representations of past ignorance 150 and his own present enlightenment are, in fact, better suited to Lacan's project, because neither Saussure nor Lacan could make Freud's claim to have discovered an entirely new discipline. In directing his audience through the Freudian museum, "taking the necessary tour with Freud (turn at the statute [sic] of Champollion, says the guide)," Lacan discovers in the linguistic signifier and signified a new set of artefacts (Ecrits 160).9 Lacan explicitly replaces Freud's dream narratives with these artefacts: [A] return to Freud's text shows on the contrary the absolute coherence between his technique and his discovery, and at the same time this coherence allows us to put all his procedures in their proper place. UThat i s why any rectification of psychoanalysis must inevitably involve a return to the truth of that discovery, which, taken in its original moment, is impossible to obscure. TJFor in the analysis of dreams, Freud intends to give us the laws of the unconscious in their most general extension [... which are] defined by the algorithm: S/s [Signifier/signified]. (Ecrits 163)10 The mathematical reference in this discussion of linguistics is also no accident. Lacan's use of both linguistics and mathematics is contextualised by a radical critique of empiricism—that is to say, a critique of the possibility of locating meaning in the linguistic signifier and rationality in mathematical "exactitude." However, i f Lacan asserts that "our physics is simply a mental fabrication whose instrument is the mathematical symbol" (Ecrits 74), he is nonetheless interested in borrowing that instrument in an effort to re-establish a "scientific basis" for psychoanalytic theory and technique "by formalising in an 151 adequate fashion the essential dimensions of its experience" (Ecrits 77). On this point critic Alexandre Leupin writes, "Lacan therefore renews Freud's ambition of scientificity, but at the same time he radically transforms the modalities of legitimation of this rationality: we know well enough that Freud drew on medicine and biology to ensure the scientific consistency of his ideas. These two fields are replaced, in Lacan, by mathematics and topology" (2). I would argue that the second field is linguistics rather than topology, but concur with Leupin's concluding assertion that Lacan attempted to "separate psychoanalysis from the biological sciences by insisting on what counts in the realm of the psyche: the materiality of language" (2). I would add that in his configuration of the materiality of language, Lacan retains a European, scientific notion of the observable object through his treatment of linguistic terms. In adopting some of the terms and structures of Saussurian linguistics, Lacan takes a step further Saussure's assertion that the relationship of the signifier to the signified is arbitrary. Lacan argues that there is ultimately simply a chain of signifiers, of words or symbols, which never refer to anything other than another signifier—that is to say, they never bear any relationship to an 'objective' reality or signified: "The system of language, at whatever point you take hold of it, never results in an index finger directly indicating a point of reality; it's the whole of reality that is covered by the entire network of language" (Seminar III 32). In this Lacan's conclusions do indeed reduce scientific endeavour to a "mental fabrication." A fabrication, however, is still a linguistic object, and in Seminar III Lacan fits the whole of scientific endeavour neatly into the field of linguistics: "Even for what we call objectivity, the world objectified by science, discourse is essential, for the 152 world of science—one always loses sight of this—is above all communicable, it's embodied in scientific reports" (63). Lacan's linguistic field denies recourse to the observable in nature, but is itself, at its intersection with psychoanalysis, regulated by apparently observable laws. In a lecture delivered in 1957, Lacan concludes, regarding the linguistic map of psychical functions, that " i f the symptom is a metaphor it is not a metaphor to say so, any more than to say that man's desire is a metonymy. For the symptom is a metaphor whether one likes it or not, as desire is a metonymy, however funny people may find the idea" (Ecrits 175). In a 1958 lecture, Lacan argues in a similar vein that "a material operates in [the unconscious] according to certain laws, which are the same laws as those discovered in the study of actual languages, languages that are or were actually spoken" (Ecrits 234). In this sense, the linguistic structure of the psyche remains discernible and observable, as do the tenets of psychoanalytic practice. To return to Turkle's assertion that Lacan's "therapeutic indifference goes hand in hand with a radical critique of the psychoanalytic institution" (248-49), I would say rather that it is Lacan's interest in both the practice of analysis and the institutional training of analysts which motivates his insistence on the consistent nature of linguistic structures, and hence of the structures of the psyche. Without a certain structural stability, as Lacan points out, "the experience [of psychoanalytic treatment] would completely disintegrate" (Seminar III 14). If this were to happen then there would be no stable discipline in which to train analysts. "But," Lacan concludes, "psychoanalytic concepts quite simply do exist, and it is because of them that psychoanalysis endures" (Seminar III 14). 153 Sex and Signification: Flesh, Truth and the Veil Freud's interest in anthropology allowed him to locate the evidence of psychoanalytic realities in the "primeval," and in those whom he characterised as the "primitive" relics of that period. Lacan, on the contrary, asserts that "the unconscious is neither primordial nor instinctual; what it knows about the elementary is no more than the elements of the signifier" (Ecrits 170). In his insistence on the centrality of linguistic units, Lacan invokes another form of signification, one that calls to mind the material world of physical sensation even more emphatically than the spoken or written word. In place of Freud's primitive examples "the flesh" appears in Lacan's work as a material metaphor. In the 1957 lecture "The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious," Lacan distinguishes his definition of the structure of a metaphor from Aristotle's: "the creative spark of the metaphor does not spring from the presentation of two images, that is, of two signifiers equally actualised. It flashes between two signifiers one of which has taken the place of the other in the signifying chain, the occulted signifier remaining present through its (metonymic) connection with the rest of the chain" (Ecrits 157). The meaning of Lacan's metaphor of the flesh flashes between two signifieds—between an irreducible, corporeal substance and a linguistic expression or sign. In his lecture on "The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis," Lacan's work displays a continued sympathy with the Surrealists' notion of hysteria as a form of communication (Roudinesco 7). In this lecture, hysterical behaviour or symptoms are represented as a language that finds expression in the material of the body: "The symptom is here the signifier of a signified repressed from the consciousness of the subject. A symbol written in the sand of the flesh" (Ecrits 69).1 1 This "hieroglyphics of hysteria"(69) is a metaphor consistent with the references to Freud as Champollion. It also retains, implicitly, a trace of Charcot's science of the visible, in which the flesh furnishes the interested onlooker and scientist with demonstrable proof of the nature of a disease and its aetiology, (which in turn implies a kind of 'proof concerning the 'true nature' of the patient-object). In Lacan's formulation of the mirror stage, the body is an image which individuals have of themselves.12 It is separate from individuals' experiences of living in their own flesh. Lacan, in his use of the flesh metaphor, does not seem to be interested in analysands conveying to him the symptom that appears in the reflected image that they possess of their own bodies. It is rather the body of the patient, observed empirically, that offers up to the analyst the "letters of suffering" inscribed in its flesh (Ecrits 92). These symptoms are presented as structurally similar to the analysand's speech, or rather as speech in a different format. This material-metaphorical flesh appears in Lacan's work at precisely the same theoretical point at which Freud presents the-primitive-as-evidence in Totem and Taboo. This time "the flesh" functions, not as evidence of hysterical communication, but as evidence of the truth of an "essential dramatisation" (Seminar III 215). It is not language per se that flesh represents, in this instance, but language's orienting point—one might almost say its "true orientation": the Oedipal complex. Lacan, in Seminar III, emphasises the central place that the relations embodied in Freud's theory still hold in the structures of the psyche: 155 By what path does the dimension of truth enter in a living way into life, into the economy of man? Freud's answer is that it's mediated by the ultimate meaning of the idea of the father. TJThe father belongs to a reality that is sacred in itself, more spiritual than any other, since ultimately nothing in lived reality strictly speaking points to his function, his presence, his dominance. How does the truth of the father, how does this truth that Freud calls spiritual come to be placed in the foreground? The thing is thinkable only by means of this ahistorical drama, inscribed in the very flesh of men at the origin of all history—the death, the murder of the father. (214-15) Just as linguistic structures take on a materiality that makes evident the stability and universality of psychic structures, the murdered flesh of Oedipus's father returns as corporeal evidence of the truth of the inter-subjective relations embodied in the Oedipus complex. There is, as Lacan goes on to say, "something veiled here" (Seminar III 215). What is veiled here, and in his discussion of that other guarantor of meaning (not the name-of-the-father but the signification-of-the-phallus), is the anatomical body. It is this anatomical body, and its concomitant chromosomal distinctions, that have the most disturbing implications for Lacan's discussion of ethics, and for the use of his work in the ethical contexts of postcolonial theory. Lacan's return to the observable, and particularly to a form of evidence inscribed on the individual's body, is disturbing in that it shares the assumption (with Western European discourses of racism, sexism and homophobia) that something significant can be known of the individual by looking at that individual's body. This is not to 156 say that his work explicitly advocates these discourses, but rather that it is not, in this specific instance, free of the cultural and institutional heritage of Salpetriere. It is certainly true that Lacan avers quite the opposite of what I have suggested concerning the role of the anatomical in his work. In the seminars delivered in 1963-1964, Lacan follows Freud in asserting that "in the psyche, there is nothing by which the subject may situate himself as a male or female being. In his psyche the subject situates only equivalents of the function of reproduction—activity and passivity, which by no means represent it in an exhaustive way" (The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis 204). In an earlier lecture, Lacan is more specific in stating that, while Freud's theory of the castration complex (in men) and of penis envy (in women) appears to suggest that psychical structures are influenced by anatomical distinctions, this "aporia" in Freud's work "is insoluble by any reduction to biological givens" (Ecrits 282). What Lacan goes on to demonstrate, however, is at the very least another sort of metaphorical flashing, in which the "phallus" vacillates between its fleshy representative and its role in the symbolic order. In "The Signification of the Phallus," the phallus is the symbol of the sexual instinct or libido. It is also the locus of a desire for the mother's (missing) penis and a desire, in Lacan's linguistic terms, for the elusive response to the subject's speech and the elusive signified implied by the signifier.13 The choice of what would appear to be a rather anatomically evocative term, for an apparently universal psychical function, is, in Lacan's own terms, self-evident. Suggestively, Lacan slips into the passive voice at the point at which the anatomical is, after all, introduced: 157 The phallus is the privileged signifier of that mark in which the role of the logos is joined with the advent of desire, f^lt can be said that this signifier is chosen because it is the most tangible element in the real of sexual copulation, and also the most symbolic in the literal (typographical) sense of the term, since it is equivalent there to the (logical) copula. It might also be said that, by virtue of its turgidity, it is the image of the vital flow as it is transmitted in generation. |^A11 these propositions merely conceal the fact that it can play its role only when veiled, that is to say, as itself a sign of the latency with which any signifiable is struck, when it is raised (aufgehoben) to the function of signifier. (Ecrits 287-88)14 In spite of the veiled dance which Lacan, like a psychoanalytic King Herod, bids the phallus to perform, it would appear that seeing is the logic of believing. What is to be believed here, and in similar remarks in Seminar IL is that "the male sexual organ" is the locus of libidinal activity. In broader terms, it is also the locus of signification—it is the point from which meaning, or at least the desire for meaning, emanates. One of the consequences of the (albeit) veiled relation of the term "phallus" to the anatomically male is that it implies that Lacan's theory of subjectivity, his elaboration of the relation of the subject to meaning and of the subject to "the Other," is not universal at all, but specifically male.1 5 Indeed, the analytic dialogue would turn out to be, in these terms, a strictly homoerotic activity. Helene Cixous, an erstwhile student of Lacan's, is particularly compelling on the peripheral relation that women come to occupy in Lacan's formulation of the (male) • subject's relation to meaning and desire: 158 For Freud/Lacan, woman is said to be 'outside the Symbolic': outside the Symbolic, that is outside language, the place of the Law, excluded from any possible relationship with culture and the cultural order. And she is outside the symbolic because she lacks any relation to the phallus, because she does not enjoy what orders masculinity—the castration complex. Woman does not have the advantage of the castration complex—it's reserved solely for the little boy. The phallus, in Lacanian parlance also called the 'transcendental signifier,' transcendental precisely as primary organiser of the structure of subjectivity, is what, for psychoanalysis, inscribes its effects, the effects of castration and resistance to castration and hence to the very organisation of language, as unconscious relations, and so its is the phallus that is said to constitute the a priori condition of all symbolic functioning. ("Castration or Decapitation?" 45-46) Cixous goes on to argue that one of the consequences of women lacking the anatomical relation to the phallus-as-transcendental-signified is that they are outside the realm in which gendered attributes (of masculinity) are formed, "and so, supposedly, she misses the great lack, so that without man she would be indefinite, indefinable, nonsexed, unable to recognise herself ("Castration or Decapitation?" 46). Cixous dubs this (feminine) state of affairs the 'lack of the lack'—the woman lacks a penis and hence lacks the sense of loss. As a result, she fails to experience, or understand, the subject's relation to meaning. Meaning, like the penis, is that which is grasped at the moment in which one realises that it can be lost, cut off, or worse yet—with a glance at the little girl—never have existed at all. 1 5 9 Like Cixous, Jane Gallop has pointed out that in Lacan's model masculine and feminine subjects do not have the same relationship to desire. Gallop focuses on Lacan's assertion that "desire is a metonymy" (Ecrits 175). Lacan tends to use metonymy to refer to the substitution of a part for a whole. This is not, strictly speaking, an exhaustive definition of metonymy, which can also refer to the substitution of a part for a part. Gallop comments that Lacan's erasure of the alternative definitions of metonymy is itself a taking of a 'part' of a definition, in the place of the 'whole' definition. She makes the point that Lacan's partial definition is structured by an anatomical model: "Lacan ends "The Signification of the Phallus" by insisting, contrary to our sense of fair play, that desire, the Freudian libido, is masculine. Metonymy is a phallic conceit, the part [the penis] standing for the whole [the phallus], standing for the hole [the vagina]. The substitution of the phallus (one sexual part) for the whole of sexuality is an example of metonymy, not what it should be (metonymy properly should have a varied definition with many sorts of relations), but what it stubbornly insists upon being (continually misconstrued as the part for the whole)" (20). Like Cixous, Gallop goes on to argue that Lacan establishes a hierarchy of desire within what he terms the symbolic order: "So the man is 'castrated' by not being total, just as the woman is 'castrated' by not being a man" (22). In this "staggering of positions" the woman's relation to desire is as anatomical as it is symbolic. She ascertains her lack of totality in relation to male anatomy, he does so in relation to the structure of signification. Cixous and Gallop tend to characterise Lacan's depiction of the relation of the anatomical body to the symbolic order as an ambiguous one. I would assert, however, that Lacan reinserts it, at the molecular level, in his own elaboration of the problem of the lack of the lack, in the 1958 presentation "Guiding Remarks for a Congress on Feminine Sexuality": 160 Feminine sexuality appears as the effort of a jouissance [...] to be realised in the envy of desire, which castration releases in the male by giving him its signifier in the phallus. ^JCould it be this privileging of the signifier that Freud is getting at when he suggests that there is perhaps only one libido and that it is marked with the male sign? Should some chemical configuration confirm this further, why not see this as the exalting conjunction of the molecular dissymmetry employed by the living construction?" (97). Elizabeth Grosz points to a passage from an earlier work, in which Lacan is equally explicit in asserting the primacy of the penis, not just the phallus, in shaping desire in both sexes. In the 1953 essay "Some Reflections on the Ego," Lacan states: "the fact that the penis is dominant in the shaping of the body-image is evidence of [an autonomous, non-biological imaginary anatomy]. Though this may shock the champions of the autonomy of female sexuality, such dominance is a fact and one moreover which cannot be put down to cultural influences alone" (qtd. in Grosz 123, parenthetic remarks in Grosz). As a result of the passage above, and the previously cited essays on "The Signification of the Phallus" and "Guiding Remarks," Grosz concludes: the phallic signifier is not a neutral 'third' term against which both sexes are analogously or symmetrically positioned. The relation between the penis and phallus is not arbitrary, but socially and politically motivated. The two sexes come to occupy the positive and negative positions not for arbitrary reasons, or with arbitrary effects. It is motivated by the already existing structure of patriarchal power, and its effects guarantee the reproduction of this particular form of social organisation and no other. (124) 161 Lacan argues, in the 1955-56 Seminar III, that the acquisition of gendered attributes and heterosexual desires takes place in "the domain of the symbolic" (177). Nonetheless, I would concur with Cixous, Gallop and Grosz, in concluding that women, designated anatomically and socially, continue to be placed outside of the structure Lacan elaborates. In Seminar HI, Lacan outlines the 'problem' women pose to his symbolic system of signification and desire: "The metaphysics of the woman's position is the detour imposed on her subjective realisation. Her position is essentially problematic, and up to a certain point it's unassimilable" (178). In this discussion of what Lacan terms "the hysteric's question," (the question being: "what is a woman?"), it is only as the woman's body is configured by the symptoms of hysteria that she becomes legible within his system. Lacan follows the previously cited remark with the addendum: "But once the woman is locked into hysteria it must also be said that her position presents an unusual stability by virtue of its structural simplicity" (Seminar III 178). This brings to mind Lacan's assertion, intended as a critique of his audience, that "you only read what you already know by heart. This is what makes it possible for what forms the basis of so-called scientific literature to be singularly relativised, at least in our domain. One often gets the impression that what orientates, fundamentally, the point of a discourse is perhaps nothing other than to stay exactly within the limits of what has already been said" (Seminar III 207). If the hysteric's flesh proclaims what has already been said by Freud, then it is no wonder that Lacan finds 'woman' all the more legible as the pathologised object of psychoanalytic, scientific advances. As fleshy template, the hysterical woman functions much like the linguistic unit within the discipline of psychoanalysis that Lacan has formulated—the more 'stability' she retains, the more stability she lends to the 162 text of the discipline and, as a result, to Lacan's institution for training analysts: the Ecole freudienne. In this sense, the hysteric is already an object of academic exchange in Lacanian psychoanalysis and in this she takes on a role for which Lacan has prepared her. As early as 1951, Lacan refers to Freud's "Dora" case as one involving "a subtle circulation of precious gifts" in which Dora is not the giver but the gift ("Intervention on Transference" 66). A few years later, in the seminars of 1954-1955, he generalises the role that woman plays as an object circulating within the realm of (male) intersubjective relations. Although he retains the occasional qualification—suggesting that it just happens that it is man who gives and receives woman-as-object—he never suggests that the orienting point of these social relations is anything other than the phallus, to which men, by virtue of their anatomy, have a privileged relation: At bottom, the woman is introduced into the symbolic pact of marriage as the object of exchange between—I wouldn't say 'men,' although it is men who effectively are supports for it—between lineages, fundamentally androcentric lineages. To understand the various elementary structures is to understand how these objects of exchanges, the women, circulate between these lineages. Judging from experience, this can only happen within an androcentric and patriarchal framework, even when the structure is secondarily caught up in matrilineal ancestries. ^The fact that the woman is thus bound up in an order of exchange in which she is object is really what accounts for the fundamentally conflictual character, I wouldn't say without remedy, of her 163 position—the symbolic order literally subdues her, transcends her. (Seminar II 262)1 6 This situation, for Lacan, is not without remedy. Women are not to be condemned to be "slaves" precisely (262). The (heterosexual) couple is not doomed to play out the roles of master and slave because there will always be a third party to upset the balance of power: "for the couple to keep to a human level, there has to be a god there. Love flows towards the universal man, towards the veiled man" (263). This remedy, however, puts the man and the woman right back where they started—the man may not be absolute master but he continues to bear a privileged relation to the 'veiled man,' while the woman lacks even this relation (of lack). Lacan's invocation of the terms master and slave are not intended literally here, although to suggest that women function as objects and as units of exchange would certainly appear to imply slavery of a more literal kind. Lacan borrows the terms, rather loosely, from Hegel and employs them in a manner which he distinguishes from that of the German philosopher. True and False Goods: Lacan on Hegel, Sade and Psychoanalytic Ethics Hegel remains one of Lacan's orienting points, but over the course of his career, and particularly in his seminars on the ethics of psychoanalysis, Lacan increasingly points to Hegel in order to indicate his ability to resist the wiles of his dialectic, in response to the "thoroughly irresponsible individual [who] wrote a short time ago that I am powerless to resist the seductions of the Hegelian dialectic" (Seminar VII 249). Madan Sarup provides a remarkably clear summary of the version of Hegel's work, mediated by the lectures of 164 Alexandre Kojeve, from which Lacan worked. Sarup elaborates the relationship of master and slave which, in Hegel's terms, structures subjectivity within relations of power: The Master is not the only one to consider himself Master. The Slave also considers him as such. Hence, he is recognized in his human reality and dignity. But this recognition is one-sided, for he does not recognise in turn the Slave's reality and dignity. Hence, he is recognized by someone whom he does not recognise. And this is what is tragic in his situation. (33) To reduce this formulation to that of a different Marx, the master wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member. For Lacan, there is no master in the realm of the individual, although he invokes the term often enough in reference to Freud. In Lacan's formulation of subjectivity everyone is a slave because everyone desires, and because "man's desire finds its meaning in the desire of the other, not so much because the other holds the key to the object desired, as because the first object of desire is to be recognized by the other" (Ecrits 58). The individual's desire for recognition is formed by the dialogic structure of language, in which to speak is to desire a reply-a recognition that one has spoken. That recognition is sought in specific relationships with individual (small 'o') others. The general locus of the desire for a response, for meaning, is dubbed by Lacan the (big 'O') "Other," or the "witness to the Truth" (Ecrits 305). That "Other" provides the master to the subject's slave: "The Other as previous site of the pure subject of the signifier holds the master position, even before coming into existence, to use Hegel's term against him, as absolute Master" (Ecrits 305).17 165 Lacan, nonetheless, concludes that "we analysts have to deal with slaves who think they are masters, and who find in a language whose mission is universal the support of their servitude, and the bonds of its ambiguity" (Ecrits 81). Keeping in mind the privileged role that the phallus plays in the relationship of the (male) individual to language, it begins to appear that Lacan's avowal that women are not slaves is itself bound in ambiguity. They are not slaves in the sense that they are not bound and sold—thanks to "the great period of the women's rights movement" (Seminar II 263)--but nor are they slaves in the sense of possessing the same immediate relation to desire which men possess (via the castration complex). They are not even slaves. This sexed dissymmetry in Lacan's revision of Hegel again makes problematic any claims to its universal applicability. If Lacan does not precisely anticipate this particular limit, he does point to the limits of psychoanalytic interpretations of Hegel, in his discussion of psychoanalytic ethics. For Lacan the difficulty lies not in the limits of the (male) individual at the centre of his theory of subjectivity, but in the application of that theory of the individual to the collective: I am concerned with the ethics of psychoanalysis, and I can't at the same time discuss Hegelian ethics. But I do want to point out that they are not the same. At the end of a certain phenomenology, the opposition between the individual and the city, between the individual and the state, is obvious [....] A l l of that is related to a problematic that is not at all Freudian. The sick individual whom Freud is concerned with reveals another dimension than that of the disorders of the state and of hierarchical disturbances. Freud addresses the sick individual as such, the neurotic, the psychotic; he addresses directly the 166 powers of life insofar as they open onto the powers of death; he addresses directly the powers that derive from the knowledge of good and evil. (Seminar VII106) 1 8 In doing this, Freud, oriented by Lacan, addresses the question of ethics wrought on an individual level. What Lacan's Freudian individual knows of good is that it does not exist as such: The good as such—something that has been the eternal object of the philosophical quest in the sphere of ethics, the philosopher's stone of all moralists—the good is radically denied by Freud. It is rejected at the beginning of his thought in the very notion of the pleasure principle as the rule of the deepest instinct, the realm of the drives. (Seminar VII96) For Lacan, the pleasure principle is an unalterable fact of the individual's constitution. The pleasure principle motivates actions and the question of ethics in this context is "to discern not true pleasures from false, for such a distinction is impossible to make, but the true from the false goods that pleasure points to" (Seminar VII221). In this invocation of the pleasure principle Lacan retains the Freudian association of pleasure with repetition and of repetition with the attempt to achieve mastery. In Seminar VII Lacan poses the question of ethics in terms of a metaphysical problem. For him there are, on one hand, the drives towards pleasure and towards death within the individual, and, on the other hand, the thing in the external world which becomes the focus or object of those drives.19 In ethical terms, the thing is that which is prohibited by, for example, a biblical commandment (82). The thing is also the prohibition itself, in as far 167 as Lacan argues that to prohibit something, or to deem something good or evil, is to call it into existence. To prohibit something is to give it form and meaning through the law concerning it: "I would not have had the idea to covet [the thing] i f the law hadn't said: 'Thou shalt not covet it.' But the Thing finds a way by producing in me all kinds of covetousness thanks to the commandment, for without the Law the Thing is dead" (83). Lacan's thing, here, is also like his signified. It can only be referred to, never 'captured' by the signifier, or the prohibition concerning it. In more explicitly psychoanalytic terms, the prohibition against incest (the punishment of which, according to Lacan, is castration) places at the centre of the boy's drives the penis/phallus. The penis/phallus is both that which can be lost (as penis) and that which is brought into being (as phallus) through its prohibition. The thing in question, again, takes on a recognisably male silhouette. In this vein, it is Lacan's use of Sade, rather than Kant, that inflects his discussion of ethics with the most explicitly sexed dissymmetry. Sade's law, in Lacan's version, is not a prohibition of an evil but an imperative to seek pleasure in the (female) object with the (male) thing: "Let us take as the universal maxim of our conduct the right to enjoy any other person whatsoever as the instrument of our pleasure" (Seminar VII 79). While Lacan suggests that in Sade "everyone is invited" (79) to follow this maxim, in practice it would appear that Sadean ethical activity contains a specifically male drive to mastery or will to power. Male pleasure is liberated through the mastery of the (female) object. The (female) object, in turn, calls into being the (male) thing. However, the woman is liberated in the moment in which she is no longer obliged to simulate desire or pleasure in her "conjugal relations": 168 Sade demonstrates with great consistency that, once universalised, this law, although it gives libertines complete power over all women indifferently, whether they like it or not, conversely also liberates those same women from all the duties that civilized society imposes on them in their conjugal, matrimonial and other relations. This conception opens wide the flood gates that in imagination he proposes as the horizon of our desire; everyone is invited to pursue to the limit the demands of his lust, and to realise them. (79) It is in their liberation from the masquerade of a pleasure which they don't seem to have— "like it or not"—and in being acted on, that women find their place in the ethics of the symbolic order. That place is, after all, the same place that they have occupied all along: that of object exchanged between men in a circulation of male desire, oriented by the transcendental signified of the phallus.20 There is here a return of a kind of Hegelian master/slave dialectic. Although Lacan deems half of humanity slaves (in as far as they eternally seek the recognition of the Other, to whom their speech and desire is directed), he privileges those slaves to the extent that there remains another group excluded from participating as subjects in that desirous dialogue. Moreover, the Lacanian slave is marked by a pleasure in mastery, suggesting that while he is a slave relative to the Other he retains mastery over the not-even-slave that is the woman. This abstracted, though anatomically correct, woman-not-even-slave brings to mind, in perhaps more concrete terms, the subaltern subject to which Spivak refers in her well known question: "Can the Subaltern Speak?". In her essay, the subaltern subject, like the Lacanian woman, is outside of the discourse of power, politics and the state—excluded even 169 from the unsatisfactory position of the racially othered colonial (male) subject. For Spivak, subalterns are a tragic problematic of colonial power relations, as those relations have been enacted in a specific location over a specific period of time. In Lacan, the woman-not-even-slave is at best that which escapes the homoerotics of the symbolic order, and at worst an essential object in the system in which (male) subjectivity is wrought. This dissymetry reinscribes the logic of seeing (la chose genitale) as believing. At the same time, it positions the woman in the same way that the world-as-exhibition positioned the colonial subject: as the object of the ordering male gaze. Ironically, while male anatomy arguably provides the latent support to Lacan's theory of signification, it is the female subject that always seems to be weighed down by her body and its lack. The male subject, by virtue of his privileged relation to the phallus, is able to occupy the position of disembodied psyche/eye, able to see the symbolic order as it really is. Psychoanalytic Postscript: The Father is Dead—Long Live the Father The heterosexual, two-parent-plus-child family remains an important model for understanding power relations and the location of authority. Without naturalising the primacy of that relation, as Freud and Lacan do, I would like to point out that there is a tendency in psychoanalytic pedagogy to garner authority for one's work by first producing a predecessor as master-father and, following the often quite literal death of that master, to take that role for oneself. This seems to be particularly true for Freud (vis a vis Charcot), and for Lacan (vis a vis Freud), although Pinel and Napoleon play an important role in Charcot's presentation of 170 his public persona. Both Freud and Lacan elaborate theories which, on occasion, radically contradict the work of their predecessor, and both do so in the name of that predecessor, producing a kind of textual death of the intellectual father figure. Freud, for example, cites Charcot's assertion that in the case of psychic illness it is always a question of "la chose genitale" (qtd. in Freud SE v. 14 14). For Charcot, it seems fairly clear that by this he intends the physical parts of the body—the examination of the ovaries of hysterical women and the application of, variously, magnets, pieces of silver, and electric current to the ovarian region. Freud rewrites "la chose genitale" as sexuality, the sexual instinct or the libido—all of which, ostensibly, have more to do with the psychic than with the anatomical body. Following Freud at least in this, Lacan rewrites Freud's interest in interpreting the contents and symbols of narratives as an interest in linguistics. These Oedipal impulses do not seem to me to be proof of the 'reality' of the Oedipal structure of individual and family relations but, on the contrary, the product of the patriarchal social context in which Charcot, Freud and Lacan felt compelled to represent authority (and the power to utilised it) as something which succeeding generations of (European, bourgeois) men took, one from the other. While this is far from a unilateral tradition within even the limits of nineteenth and twentieth century Europe—as the details of Freud's life will attest— it persists in intellectual practice today. Moreover, within postcolonial theory it continues to structure the appropriate of figures such as Frantz Fanon, not least by myself. The question of intellectual precedent cannot, of course, be limited to a patriarchal model. It is, nonetheless, a crucial area of concern in both psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory. Who analyses the first analyst? Who inaugurates the new field? How far will the work of colonial and postcolonial predecessors 'travel,' and what kind of baggage do they carry? 171 Chapter Five: Fanon and Co. Introduction The category of postcolonial theory did not exist as such prior to the 1980s. Nonetheless, postcolonial theorists have claimed and anthologised certain intellectual predecessors as uniquely theirs. One of the central figures in this field is Frantz Fanon. Born in 1925, in the then French colony of Martinique, Fanon trained as a psychologist in France in the early 1950s, and worked in a psychiatric hospital in Algeria after completing his training. His experience of racism in France, and encounter with the effects of colonial rule in Algeria, led to his involvement in the Algerian war of independence. His work is centrally concerned with the structures and effects of colonial rule: first in Martinique and later in Algeria. I will examine the specific models of psychoanalytic thought which Fanon employed in his evaluation of the colonial settings in which he lived, and those of which he was critical. Fanon's work anticipates some of the current discussions occurring within postcolonial theory. He attends to both material and psychic forces in explaining the ways in which colonial power functions. Like Amilcar Cabral and others, he argues for the importance of the field of culture in preserving and disrupting colonial power relations. Fanon's work is not itself without precedent. Like Lacan's and Freud's, Fanon's work was influenced by a mentor—in his case the Martiniquan intellectual, poet and politician Aime Cesaire. Although Fanon ultimately came to adopt a different intellectual and political position from that of Cesaire, Cesaire was nonetheless an influence on Fanon's work. Cesaire is perhaps best known for elaborating a vision of African consciousness which he, and Leopold Senghor, termed "negritude." Cesaire's interest in the uses of 172 psychoanalysis is less direct than Fanon's. He does, however, characterize his early work— Return to My Native Land—as one.influenced by the surrealist movement. In a 1967 interview with Rene Depestre, Cesaire specifically notes the influence that psychoanalysis had on the surrealist movement. Influenced by Freud, the Surrealists felt that the artist's unconscious could be 'liberated' through specific techniques of writing and painting. They sought to override the 'civilizing' forces of a socialised consciousness, in order to express the drives and desires of the unconscious in an unmediated form, in writing and painting. Cesaire characterizes Surrealist principles and practices as "more a confirmation than a revelation" of his own interest in "explod[ing] the French language" and Cartesian rationality, through his writing practice ("Interview" 67-68). The Surrealist vision of the unconscious was one Cesaire adopted and revised in his discussion of the nature of colonial subjectivity. Like the early French Surrealists, Cesaire felt that it was important to access the colonised artist's unconscious, in order to escape what Freud would term the 'civilizing' influence of the social. In Freudian psychoanalysis, the individual's desires are subjected to a civilizing process, the terms of which are generated by a collectivity of individuals ostensibly like themselves. For Cesaire the social sphere was not a collectivity of other individuals like himself. As an individual the colonised was subject to the 'civilizing' discourse of the coloniser. Moreover, in Freudian psychoanalysis the civilizing process redirects the energy of the individual's drives towards the production of economic, scientific and aesthetic gains that ultimately benefit the individual. For Cesaire, the colonised individual is subjected to the demands of a social collective for the benefit of that collective, of which the colonised is not a part. The colonised individual does not subvert his/her drives for social goods benefiting him/herself. 173 In Cesaire's terms, when colonised individuals reject the civilizing processes of socialisation in the colonial scene they reject the demands of the coloniser. In reconnecting to the drives and desires of the unsocialised unconscious, they reconnect to a part of their psyche that is not influenced by the European colonial social sphere. Cesaire argues that some part of the unconscious of the colonised individual remains untouched by the 'civilizing' force of the coloniser. This unconscious is, for Cesaire, the source of a more positive and authentic identity. In a 1967 interview, Cesaire describes a distinctive notion of an African identity at the core of the unconscious psyche of the diasporic African subject: [I]f I apply the surrealist approach to my particular situation, I can summon up these unconscious forces. This, for me, was a call to Africa. I said to myself: it's true that superficially we are French, we bear the marks of French customs; we have been branded by Cartesian philosophy, by French rhetoric; but i f we break with all that, i f we plumb the depths, then what we will find is fundamentally black. ("Interview" 68) This notion of the unconscious allows Cesaire to understand his coming-to-consciousness as both a growing political awareness of the historical, cultural, and ideological power relations that supported colonialism, and as a psychic coming-to-consciousness of "a profound [African] being, over whom all sorts of ancestral layers and alluviums had been deposited" (68). In this context, Cesaire's term "negritude" suggests the recovery and renewal of cultural and social relations between the populations of the African diaspora and contemporary African peoples, and the recovery of an internal psychic African affinity. 174 Like Fanon, Cesaire is influenced by Marxism as well as by psychoanalysis. For Cesaire both Marxism and psychoanalysis are only useful in as far as they are inflected with more specific attention to the histories of colonial oppression. In his words: "Marx is all right, but we need to complete Marx. I felt that the emancipation of the Negro consisted of more than just a political emancipation" (70). Further, without a political component psychoanalysis is equally incomplete. In his 1955 Discourses on Colonialism, Cesaire takes up a specific example of the use of psychoanalysis in a colonial context. He excoriates the work of Octavio Mannoni on the psychological functioning of the colonised peoples of Madagascar. In this instance, Cesaire follows Fanon's critique of Mannoni in Fanon's 1952 Black Skin, White Masks. Like Fanon, Cesaire rejects Mannoni's suggestion that the Madagascans suffer from an Adlerian psychic inferiority complex which leads them to desire "neither personal autonomy nor free responsibility" (Mannoni qtd. in Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism 41). Cesaire points to the extent to which Mannoni's application of psychology erases real political struggles-"the Madagascans have nevertheless revolted several times since the French Occupation"-or reads those political actions as the result of unconscious psychic drives rather than self-conscious political action (Discourse on Colonialism 41). Mannoni defines the unconscious as something acting on colonised subjects, undermining their ability to voluntarily resist colonisation. In describing the colonised individual as subject to the forces of the unconscious, Mannoni reinscribes the paternalism of colonial discourse. Mannoni's colonised subjects are moved by forces beyond their control. Cesaire goes on to argue that Mannoni's version of psychoanalysis also renders colonised peoples as children, in as far as it describes them as being caught in a perpetual state of psychic underdevelopment. Cesaire points out the extent to which this dovetails with the 175 racist colonialist rhetoric of paternalism: "Don't let the subtleties of vocabulary, the new terminology, frighten you! You know the old refrain: 'The-Negroes-are-big-children"'(Discourse on Colonialism 40). Against the paternalism of psychoanalytic models of development, Cesaire later posits the notion of an internal psychic striation. For him, the psychoanalytic notion of the unconscious is only liberating in as far as that unconscious is defined as an accessible psychic core in which an originary identity is preserved. The unconscious is useful to Cesaire, i f it is conceived of as something that is accessible and can be put to use in a psychic coming-to-consciousness that corresponds with a political coming-to-consciousness. The archaeological metaphors of fragmentation, burial and recovery—which are also prominent in Freud's work—provide Cesaire with a more emancipatory vision of psychic functioning than Mannoni's Adlerian developmental theories. This version of psychoanalysis is, in turn, paired with a revised Marxism that attends to the vicissitudes of economic exploitation and racial subjection. Cesaire is never as interested as his student Frantz Fanon in the uses of psychoanalysis to understand the effects and nature of colonial subjection. In his brief explorations of psychoanalysis, however, he shares some of Fanon's criticisms of psychoanalysis and anticipates Fanon in his call to link psychoanalytic discourse to a material struggle for political, cultural and economic independence. Colonial Baggage: Leaving France with Frantz Fanon When Frantz Fanon left France in 1953 to take up a post at the psychiatric hospital in Blida-Joinville, he was already well aware of the uneven history of the psychiatric training 176 that he brought with him to Algeria. The aggressivity hidden in altruism which Lacan remarks on is, in Fanon's terms, less a matter of psychic struggle than a matter of the uses of European philosophy, culture and technology to justify the material exploitation of the non-European. He writes in Black Skin, White Masks: " i f philosophy and intelligence are invoked to proclaim the equality of men, they have also been employed to justify the extermination of men" (29). Moreover, the institution to which Fanon came in Algeria was itself,,as critic Francoise Verges points out, an integral component in the justification of the French right to subject its colonies to its aggressive altruism: "European trained psychiatrists, up to Fanon's time, were agents of French colonisation. The discourse of colonial psychiatry, which chose to ignore the historical conditions of its formation, posited a fundamental difference between the psyches of Europeans and non-Europeans" ("To Cure and To Free" 86). Fanon nonetheless brought to his work a sincere enthusiasm for the possibilities of institutional psychiatric treatment and a desire to reform the institution in which he worked. Verges notes that this particular enthusiasm was, in part, due to the specific context of his training as a psychiatrist: Fanon was enthusiastic about institutional therapy, whose goals answered his vision of social transformation. When he was completing his psychiatric training in France in the early 1950s, he encountered the leaders of institutional therapy whose goal was to 'restructure and transform the psychiatric hospital so that real psychotherapies could be practised,' and to 177 'allow a therapeutic organisation of social life in the hospital, based on group therapy.' (86-87) Critic Hussein Bulhan describes Fanon's encounter with socio-therapy at the hospital in Normandy where he trained in 1952 with Francois Tosquelles. Tosquelles was a proponent of "milieu therapy and the notion of a therapeutic community" (209). Bulhan observes that while socio-therapy was practised elsewhere, "what was special with Tosquelles was his methodical, rigorous application of such an intervention at Saint Albans. The spontaneous, everyday experiences of patients within the institution were used therapeutically. Efforts were made to recreate ordinary experiences as they are lived in society" (209). When Fanon was appointed chef de service at the hospital in Blida-Joinville, he attempted to initiate some of the same methods there. In this sense, Fanon's psychiatric-academic orientation had already directed his work towards a social or group psychology and away from the domestic scene of psychoanalysis's one-on-one practice. For him, even more than for Freud and Lacan, theoretical models of psychic relations were inseparable from institutional practice and material context. Fanon attempted to engage the patients at- Blida-Joinville in social activities-such as the production of a newspaper, plays and discussion groups. As Verges and Bulhan both note, Fanon's own cultural blind spots led to the initial failure of some of these projects, particularly with his Islamic Algerian patients. He eventually organised activities more closely resembling the social life which these patients led outside the hospital, in their own communities. Fanon and his colleague Azoulay summarise the results of their efforts in their 1954 article, "La Socialtherapie dans un service d'hommes musilmans, difficultes 178 methodologiques." Fanon and Azoulay admit their failure to account for the distinct social milieu of their Islamic Algerian male patients: "a leap had to be made, a conversion of values had to be carried out [... ] a sociotherapy could only be possible to the extent one accounted for the social morphology and the forms of sociality" (qtd. in Belhan 217). The problems arising from Fanon's application of socio-therapy in Blida-Joinville were not merely related to his failure to attend to the particulars of the social activities familiar to his patients. Verges points out that Fanon concluded that the social milieu, into which colonised Algerian men were being re-integrated, was not in itself a healthy one: "Colonialism and its violence, its disruption of traditional life, of family life, of economic organisation, was responsible, Fanon said, for the majority of mental troubles" ("Chains of Madness," Verges 59). The social was the cause and could not, in its present form, be the cure. Fanon's early practice of psychoanalysis points to some recurrent problems in his attempts to integrate psychoanalytic and socio-economic frameworks. This integration is no easy task, as Robert Young points out, because at their most extreme Marxism and psychoanalytic theory "both provide mutually exclusive causal explanations—that is, economics and class versus sexuality and the unconscious" ("Psychoanalysis and Political Literary Theories" 144). In reinterpreting psychoanalytic notions of identity formation to include external, socio-economic factors, Fanon's work breaks away from some of the central tenets of Freudian psychoanalysis. His use and reformations of psychoanalytic precepts and structures are recounted in each of his three book-length works: Black Skin, White Masks, A Dying Colonialism, and The Wretched of the Earth.1 179 In its attention to material, social relations Fanon's work provides a radical contrast to the abstraction embedded in that of the psychoanalytic writing of Lacan and others, encountered as a student of psychology in Lyon. In Lacan's work, individual subjects are defined by their relation to the universal linguistic structures of signification and dialogic desire. Beyond this definition, Lacan adds very few markers of the subject's specificity. This level of abstraction is in itself problematic, in that it implies, through the absence of specificity, the European subject of the philosophers whom Lacan cites in his work. As the avatar for the Enlightenment notions of rationality and objectivity, this abstract subject has been the object of postcolonial criticism. Critics such as Robert Young and Lisa Lowe have argued that the apparent abstraction of the subject of the Enlightenment philosophy masked the extent to which it was a position reserved for a very few (European, male) people. In opposition to this level of abstraction, Fanon confronts Lacan, and psychoanalysis more generally, with an assertion of the necessity for understanding psychoanalytic or philosophical subjects in their geographic, cultural and political specificity. Fanon begins his first book length work, Black Skin, White Masks, by asserting both the uses of psychoanalysis and its limits in attempting to understand the racialized power relations involved in the construction of black and white identities, particularly in the Martiniquan context of his childhood and adolescence. He argues that because Freudian psychoanalysis posits the formation of an identity as "an individual question" it leaves out the "sociogenic" factors at work in the alienation of the black, male subject with whom Fanon is specifically concerned (Black Skin, White Masks 11). As Lewis R. Gordon comments: "Psychoanalysis cannot therefore understand the black man and the black woman psychoanalytically [... because] their alienation is not neurotic. It is the historical reality of a 180 phobogenic complex" (80).2 The need to take into account the socio-political factors at work in colonial relations—the material and social subjection of racialized, colonial subjects—is essential for Fanon. These factors are an important component in understanding the process of racialized identity formation, and for him, as for Cesaire, to ignore them is to risk falling into a racist and paternalist attitude towards the colonised subject. As Verges points out, the history of colonial psychoanalysis is one in which the purported inferiority of the colonial subject was naturalised, through the discourse of hereditary mental degeneracy ("To Cure and To Free," 88). In spite of its ostensible attempt to break with this imperialist tradition, Octavio Mannoni's Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonisation retains, in Fanon's opinion, a tendency to ascribe a fatal psychological weakness to the colonised peoples of Madagascar whom it analyzes. Like Cesaire, Fanon is extremely critical of Mannoni's work. One of Fanon's criticisms is that, among other things, "he [tries] to make the inferiority complex [of the Malagasi people] something that antedates colonisation" (Black Skin, White Masks 85). This antedating is characteristic of a colonial psychiatry, which would ascribe the behaviour of colonised peoples to a constitutional weakness and not to the experience of subjection at the hands of the colonial settlers, administrators and their institutions. Mannoni's thesis concerning the inferiority complex of the Malagasi also carries a strain of determinism inherent in Freudian psychoanalysis, according to which the individual can only become conscious of some of the psychical manifestations of the pressures of the civilizing-socialising process, and must attempt to adapt to them in healthy rather than in neurotic ways. Fanon suggests that in Mannoni's psychoanalytic reading of the Malagasi 181 there is no room left for social change, only individual psychological adaptation to existing circumstances: "he leaves the Malagasi no choice save between inferiority and dependence. These two solutions excepted, there is no salvation" (Black Skin, White Masks 93). This conclusion is unacceptable to Fanon. Indeed, Fanon's critique of this strain of determinism signals one of the key conflicts in subsequent postcolonial treatments of psychoanalysis. The commitment to ethical and political goals underwriting a great deal of postcolonial theory assumes the potential for change. The desire to envision the reformation of colonial (and neo-colonial) institutions and social relations requires a revision of the determinism evident in some components of psychoanalytic writing. For Fanon, the socio-economic must be a factor in his examination of the process of identity formation, precisely because "society, unlike biochemical processes, cannot escape human influences. Man is what brings society into being. The prognosis is in the hands of those who are willing to get rid of the worm-eaten roots of the structure" (11). The human influence, for Fanon and subsequent postcolonial theorists, is the site of both past colonial practices and future anti-colonial reform. Fanon never abandoned his psychiatric practice. While living in exile in Tunisia from 1957-61, he continued to work as a psychiatrist. He published articles on his work there and opened one of the first facilities for the day treatment of mental patients (Bulhan 240-49). In spite of his critical differences with Lacanian psychoanalysis, Fanon continued to insist that the psychiatric had something to contribute to the understanding of racialized identity formation and colonial power relations writ large. If psychoanalysis is not the locus of the cause or the cure, it is perhaps the locus of a potential understanding of the structure of the 182 present state of the problem. Fanon goes so far as to state: "I believe that only a psychoanalytic interpretation of the black problem can lay bare the anomalies of affect that are responsible for the structure of the complex" (Black Skin, White Masks 10). He argues that this was as true for the position of the coloniser as for the position of the colonised. It is in the psychical forces at work in the coloniser that Fanon finds a point of agreement with Mannoni. While the racist behaviour of the coloniser is, in one sense, caused by the imperatives of economic exploitation, its expression can also be understood in psychoanalytic terms: "I can subscribe to that part of M . Mannoni's work that tends to present the pathology of the conflict—that is, to show that the white colonial is motivated only by his desire to put an end to a feeling of unsatisfaction, on the level of Adlerian overcompensation" (84). Adler's theory, in Fanon's reading of it, is one in which identity is formed through the relationship of the subject to the other who returns the subject's image to him/her: "His line of orientation runs through the other. It is always a question of the subject; one never even thinks of the object. I try to read admiration in the eyes of the other, and if, unluckily, those eyes show me an unpleasant reflection I find that mirror flawed" (212). In these terms, the colonial administrator looks for admiration and gratitude in the eyes of the colonised and, failing to find it, condemns the colonised as inferior, and incapable of reflecting accurately the true value of the coloniser. In suggesting that the coloniser is equally subject to the psychic effects of colonial relations, Fanon anticipates Bhabha's argument concerning the need to read the effects of colonial power relations in both the coloniser and the colonised. 183 Fanon goes on to argue, in Black Skin, White Masks, that Adler's theory might also be adapted in order to describe the process that occurs within the colonised social group in French colonial Martinique: The Martinicans [sic] are greedy for security. They want to compel the acceptance of their fiction. They want to be recognized in their quest for manhood. They want to make an appearance [....] Each one of them wants to be, to emerge. Everything that an Antillean does is done for The Other [sic]. Not because The Other is the ultimate objective of his action in the sense of communication between people that Adler describes, but, more primitively, because it is The Other who corroborates him in his search for self-validation. (Black Skins, White Masks 213) Adler is useful to Fanon in as far as the pattern of identity formation he describes reflects the pattern of social relations between black Martiniquan men, in which each searches for a positive image of himself in the eyes of an other black man. Adler's formulation breaks down for Fanon because it fails to encompass a third term: the "governing fiction" which is the "social" (215). In other words, it is the social environment of racialized power relations "that has shaped him (but that he has not shaped)" that drives the need, in the colonised individual, to seek out positive reflections in the other men around him (216). The behaviour of the individual can be described psychoanalytically but the cause of that behaviour is located in the social. The term "The Other" in Black Skin, White Masks is not precisely the same as that of Adler, or of Lacan. Fanon comments directly on Lacan's theory of the mirror stage (161-64) 184 and his discussion of the relationship of the black man to language begins with the rather Lacanian suggestion that "to speak is to exist absolutely for the other" (17). In both cases, Fanon's discussion of "The Other" breaks from these psychoanalytic models at the point at which they cannot account for the dissymmetry in the experiences of the coloniser and the racialized colonial subject. For Lacan, the Other is not an actual person. Individuals may come to represent the 'Other,' or stand in for the 'Other,' but Lacan argues that the 'Other' is a (non-existent) reference point for the subject's speech, thoughts and desires. Fanon argues that the racialized subject—primarily the black Martiniquan man in this work—lives in a social reality structured by a psychic phenomenon in which: The real Other for the white man is and will continue to be the black man. And conversely. Only for the white man The Other is perceived on the level of the body image, absolutely as the not-self—that is, the unidentifiable, the unassimilable. For the black man, as we have shown, historical and economic realities come into the picture. (161) In describing self and other in terms of "historical and economic realities," Fanon insists on a literalisation and a materialisation of those terms. Fanon goes on to argue, in relation to Lacan's theory of the mirror stage, that 'whiteness' is the term by which the body image of the black man is oriented. He states that only the white man can find in his mirror image "the mental oneness which is inherent in him" (Lacan qtd. in Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks 161). For the black Martiniquan man, "the mirror hallucination is always neutral" (162), or rather oriented by "white terms" (163). As a result, the Martiniquan describes himself either as a "rosy-cheeked Parisian," or in 185 terms of relative distances from whiteness (162-63). The relationship of the self to the other is structurally distinct in the white coloniser and in the black colonised. This distinction is the effect not of a biological or psychic difference but of the social context in which these two groups have developed. Fanon's approach to language and its effects in the process of identity formation is equally distinct from that of Lacan. Here again, Fanon rejects the level of abstraction at which Lacan's discussion occurs. For Fanon, the question of language is not one of the dialogic structure of speech (in any language), but of the nuances of diction in the utterances of a particular language. He argues that the range of accents in the utterance of the language of the coloniser is equated in the colonial scene with the range of racial attributes oriented by the coloniser's whiteness. To master a language—that is, to pronounce it as it is pronounced in the imperial metropole—is to identify with "the world expressed and implied by that language" (18). Fanon adds that "the colonised is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country's cultural standards. He becomes whiter as he renounces his blackness, his jungle [and his accent]" (18). When Fanon quotes Paul Valery's pronouncement that language is "the god gone astray in the flesh" (18), it is to draw attention to a correspondence between the "epidermalization" of the Martiniquan's flesh and the vocal racialisation of "the R-eating man from Martinique" (21). Here, as in his re-estimation of the mirror stage, the other for whom the racialized subject exists in speaking is not only "his fellows" but also "the white man" (17). Ultimately, both of these others, against whom the black Martiniquan man measures himself, are oriented by "the white term"—that is, by representations emanating from the imperial 186 metropole. The other, in Fanon's discussion of speech and subjectivity, gains its power in its specificity—in its existence as an actual population and an actual site to which the colonial subject can make a pilgrimage.3 Fanon's linguistic other is never the abstract promise of meaning or signification that it is in Lacan. Although for both the other does function as an unfulfilled promise of recognition—of an impossible response to the subject's speech—the site of that response is very clearly oriented by concrete representations of the colonising culture in Fanon's work. In their respective discussions of the desire for recognition involved in identity formation, both Lacan and Fanon refer to Hegel. Hegel's master-slave dialectic is one of the sources for Lacan's and Fanon's notions of the self-other relationship. As previously discussed, the model of the master-slave dialectic adopted by Lacan is one in which the slave desires recognition of his/her humanity-of his/her self-hood-from the master. The master likewise requires recognition of his/her self-hood from the slave. When the master refuses to recognise the humanity of the slave he/she eliminates his/her own opportunity for recognition by another subject. This dialectic, and Lacan's and Fanon's revisions of it, have subsequently influenced the work of postcolonial theorists such as Bhabha and Said, as I will argue in more detail later. For Lacan all subjects are, in a sense, slaves—endlessly seeking recognition from the abstracted or capital ' O ' Other. The Lacanian individual is always subject to the structuring force of psychic and linguistic systems. The Other is the subject's 'master,' in that the Other is the place from which the self seeks recognition. For Fanon, the fundamental dissymmetry in material colonial power relations means that the roles of master and slave are powerfully 187 located in the concrete experience of the colonial. The master and the slave are not abstract points of a dialectic, but concrete positions occupied by specific individuals. Fanon does represent colonial relations in terms of a dialectical structure. He argues, like Lacan, that the individual self desires to be "reco