Psychoanalysis and Racism – Reading the Other Scene

I was asked by John Solomos to write a chapter for his ‘Blackwell Companion on Race and Ethnic Studies’ giving a critical survey of psychoanalytic theories  of race and racism. These theories were viewed with great suspicion, some of it justified, by the Anti Racist Left, although much of their dismissive attitude  was based on ignorance or misunderstanding. I wrote an essay which  introduced the main  theories of Freud and the post Freudians, as well as Kleinian and Lacanian concepts.… Read the rest

Yesterday’s Words, Tomorrow’s World: Issues in Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption was one of the most fraught and contest areas of social welfare policy in the 1990’s in Britain. In this essay commissioned for a book about  adoption policy I survey the history of the debate  about adoption  and about race, focussing on their critical points of intersection. The discussion deconstructs essentialised notions of ethnic identity and the official adoption story  as a teleological tale of bad beginnings leading to happy endings. … Read the rest

Playgrounds of Prejudice

This video is based on visual ethnography of a primary school playground in Docklands east London and centres of the fight between a Black and white working class boy, and its various interpretations by teachers, playground supervisors and  the children themselves.… Read the rest

Depicting the Gospel of Work: From Moralised Landscape to Mechanical Reproduction

Throughout the nineteeenth century, the association of heroic forms of masculinity with manual work was adumbrated less through political rhetoric than through biblical imagery and also in aesthetics of labour developed by the painters and photographers of the first industrial revolution. We will look briefly at each in turn.

View the full text here:  Phil Cohen Gospel

This gallery of 120 images in  Body Politics contains the following sections:   Elemental Labour-Mummers, miners and sweeps-Time and Motion Studies-Automata- Youth culture and extreme sport-physical culture and the dream of the collective body- masculinity and  manual labour in a post industrial world.It is designed to support ‘On the wrong Side of the Track?’ and  ‘Borderscapes’.… Read the rest

Front Lines Back Yards

This text explores the imagery of race, and nation that has historically been associated  with populist narratives of ‘Little Englandism’. It was originally given to a conference ‘Front lines, Backyards’  that I organised at the Institute of Education in  London in 1997 and published in a special issue of New Formations, co-edited with Bill Schwartz  the following year.

The full text is available here:  Front Lines Back Yards

This video presents highlights of the conference, with contributions from the main speakers, interviews with delegates, and presentations from some of the poets and artists who took part.… Read the rest