Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans Paperback – February 15, 2019 by David L. Eng , Shinhee Han


[232 pages]

PUB: February 15, 2019


Out of stock



Author: Eng David L.

Brand: Duke University Press Books

Package Dimensions: 22x226x320

Number Of Pages: 232

Release Date: 11-01-2019

Details: Product Description

Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation critic David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han draw on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought, they develop the concepts of racial melancholia and racial dissociation to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. These case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans deal with a range of difficulties, from depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out to broader issues of the model minority stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the United States, and the rise of Asia under globalization. Throughout, Eng and Han link psychoanalysis to larger structural and historical phenomena, illuminating how the study of psychic processes of individuals can inform investigations of race, sexuality, and immigration while creating a more sustained conversation about the social lives of Asian Americans and Asians in the diaspora.


“Intentionally answering the call for interdisciplinary scholarship, this innovative work will be valuable for clinicians as well as scholars of race. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.”
— J. deGuzman ―
Choice Published On: 2019-08-01

“One of the most striking aspects of Eng and Han’s book is the relative ease with which it toggles back and forth between psychoanalytic case studies of people in various stages of suffering and characters in novels who were created to embody themes of beauty and triumph, suffering and fracture. . . . There’s a power in being able to recognize our struggles as the result of paradoxes we live within rather than seeing them as purely private failings. It’s a step toward imagining lives that we might be the authors of, with endings that we write ourselves.”
— Hua Hsu ―
The New Yorker Published On: 2019-07-17

“Accessibly written and powerfully argued,
Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation is an excellent resource for any scholar thinking about race and psychoanalysis and, specifically, who are thinking critically about the use of psychoanalytic paradigms like mourning, loss, melancholia, infantile development, reparation, or transitional objects in relation to questions of the lived experiences of racial oppression.”
— Christopher Bennett ―
Journal of Critical Race Inquiry Published On: 2020-01-01

“Eng and Han—a literature professor and a psychotherapist, respectively—demonstrate how to understand the entanglements of history, culture, and psychoanalysis for Asian Americans. . . . This is an unusual social justice project, for it imagines a collective politics that is grounded in the intimate—and highly individualized—work of therapeutic repair.”
— Amy R. Wong ―
Public Books Published On: 2020-06-09

“Eng and Han’s work provides a critical vocabulary for articulating the slippery and insidious ways multicultural violence operates in the contemporary era…. Eng and Han contribute an invaluable perspective on Asian Americans’ racial and psychic processes that will be of interest to scholars across disciplines….”
— Corinne Mitsuye Sugino ―
Journal of Asian American Studies Published On: 2021-06-01

“A most illuminating and productive dialogue about the dark side of the model minority stereotype, where theory meets practice, the social meets the personal, and the material meets the psychic. David L. Eng and Shinhee Han have given us new ways to think about the problems facing Asian American students, including their disturbing rate of suicide on college campuses.”
— Mae Ngai, Columbia University
About the Author

David L. Eng is Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at th

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