April 13, 2021

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Crazy anti-Israel academic paper of the day: "The Transnational Palestinian Self: Toward Decolonizing Psychoanalytic Thought"


Since the “Sokal Squared” hoax of nonsensical academic papers being published in respected journals in the social sciences, I’ve been looking up papers about Israel and Palestinians in similar journals to see how the subject matter is treated. I wrote about one last week, but there are so, so many more.

If you think media bias is bad, academia is a hundred times worse.

Here is the abstract for a paper entitled “The Transnational Palestinian Self: Toward Decolonizing Psychoanalytic Thought,” by Stephen Sheehi, the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies at the College of William and Mary, in the journal Psychoanalytic Perspectives.

This discussion considers Palestinian subjectivity in a perpetual state of doubleness, commuting between a number of transnational political and cultural contexts and positions. Engaging Lama Khouri’s “Through Trump’s Looking Glass into Alice’s Wonderland: On Meeting the House Palestinian,” this paper reveals how, on one hand, Zionism is intricately and inextricably linked with and haunted by a Palestinian identity, which it fundamentally works to negate; on the other hand, it also engages the ideological aspects of Palestinian Arab identity when it is transplanted to the United States, interpolating all identities through its racialized social and class hierarchy. In examining the structures of these binary identity systems, I gesture toward a decolonializing psychoanalysis that adopts psychoanalytic tools to understand how alienating two-ness can become a productive mode of confronting and dismantling Zionist objectification and radicalized othering.

No, Stephen, Zionism isn’t linked to Palestinian identity. It is utterly indifferent to Palestinian identity, which didn’t exist in any serious way until Zionism was at least 70 years old. It is Palestinianism that is deeply engaged in negating Jewish nationalism and to deny the right to Jewish self-determination.

But Sheehi has come up with a way to use “decolonializing psychoanalysis” to dismantle “Zionist objectification and radicalized othering,” which really sounds evil – and to the readers of these journals. it clearly is.

The paper he refers to, “Through Trump’s Looking Glass into Alice’s Wonderland: On Meeting the House Palestinian,” by Lama Z. Khouri, was published in the same issue, and doesn’t even pretend to be scholarly:

In this article, I explore—as a woman of color, a theorist, and a clinician—what it means to be a subject with conscious and unconscious relations to power and domination. To do so, I limn a psychic space I encountered through the Trump looking glass, where my understanding of the world around me was turned on its head and where newly found sociopolitical realities and discourse feel bizarre and nonsensical. There, like Alice in Wonderland, I realized that I did not know who I was and felt my identity morphing into different shapes and sizes: Through Trump’s rhetoric I became viscerally aware of multiple interpellated selves (interpellation is described in the paper), within which a hidden traumatic narrative led me to enact such interpellations. I use earlier clinical and personal experiences to demarcate these selves and identities, which I did not know I knew, by revisiting a talk I gave at a conference on immigration 3 years prior to Trump’s inauguration. I also attempt to uncover how my identities came to be by studying those sociopolitical and cultural factors, I believe led to such interpellations. I propose that such experiences are probably universal.

I don’t understand what traumatic experiences she had in the wake of Trump’s election “as a woman of color, a theorist, and a clinician” but why bother doing research to see if her experiences are universal – just propose it! It saves a great deal of time to make up theories than it does to test them. Science and the scientific method is all part of the patriarchy, after all.

(Khouri also wrote a paper about how her own psychoanalysis with a therapist who is the child of Holocaust survivors didn’t work out because, apparently, she was trying to equate the “Nakba” with the Holocaust and the shrink couldn’t deal with someone with such a tenuous grip on reality.)

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