PINC Second Fridays – February

Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy

Leslie Bow, PhD, Discussants Christine Wai, PsyD and Grace Yan, PsyD, Moderator Reyna Cowan, PsyD, LCSW

Friday Feb 11, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

2nd Fridays: Psychoanalysis and Art and Culture

flyerHow is race a source of pleasure in the 21st century? This talk traces the ways in which Asian Americans and their nonhuman proxies serve as objects desire that cloak racial anxiety at the millennium. Conceptualizing these feelings as “racist love,” it explores how race is abstracted and projected onto Asianized objects: cartoon animals, home décor, cute tchotchkes, body parts. How is the fetishistic attraction to and pleasure taken in Asianized things symptomatic of racial fears? To illustrate, she examines a new iteration of racial kitsch, the anthropomorphic Asianized figurine, to explore the relationship between racial feeling and aesthetic form. Unlike ethnic Halloween costumes, American Indian sports mascots, and mammy cookie jars, mundane household items in the shape of Asian people—coin banks, handbags, and perfume bottles—appear to evade recognition as racist caricature through the Japanese aesthetic, kawaii, or cute-style. Using the poll function, the presentation will engage audience members in an interactive evaluation of “racist cute” imagery in order to interrogate the association between caricature and harm. As cute tchotchkes abstract racial meaning, they allow for the enjoyment of unequal relations of power that veil anxieties surrounding economic globalization and Asian status shift. How might the ambivalent affective responses evoked by cute things illuminate a theory of the psychological, affective, and symbolic dynamics of stereotyping and “racist love”? By outlining how attraction to Asian-ness cloaks racial resentment and fears of globalization, the talk offers a new means of understanding the ambivalence surrounding Asians in the United States.


Leslie Bow, Ph.D., is fourth generation Chinese American from the Bay Area; she earned a PhD at UCSC and a BA from Berkeley. Leslie is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of English and Asian American Studies and Dorothy Draheim Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of a number of academic books including Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy forthcoming with Duke University Press.

Christine Wai, PsyD., is staff and supervising psychologist working with adults, adolescents, and children at Richmond Area Multi-Services Inc. (RAMS), a community mental health clinic. She also has a private practice in the San Francisco area.

Grace Yan Psy,D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. Grace was a graduate of CIIS PsyD program and a staff and supervising psychologist at RAMS for about a decade. As an immigrant from China, Grace maintains a strong interest in exploring cultural diversity and immigration through the psychoanalytic lens.


CE Credits offered: 2

Course Objectives

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  1. List examples of how race is abstracted and projected onto Asianized objects: cartoon animals, home décor, cute tchotchkes, body parts.
  2. Discuss how the fetishistic attraction to and pleasure taken in Asianized things is symptomatic of racial fears.

pincsf.org/events – 415-288-4050 — 530 Bush St, Suite 700, SF CA USA — pincsf@gmail.com

The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PINC maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Visit pincsf.org/policies for policies and disclaimers.

When
February 11th, 2022 6:30 PM
Location
Online via Zoom (Pacific Time Zone)
CA
United States
Event Fee(s)
No fee $ 0.00
Suggested donation
General $ 20.00
Member $ 10.00
Student $ 5.00
CE Credits (2) $ 20.00