Welcome to the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness!


 The New School for Analytical Psychology and The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness invite you to attend our Spring seminar: 

Violence, Trauma And The Making Of Racial Identity 

with Dr. Sheldon George

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

10:00 AM – 12:15PM PDT



The tone of collective discourse has rapidly degenerated, damaging the forms and rituals that give coherence to our lives, cultures and professional disciplines contributing to a sense of communal and global unrest. In these intimate Saturday morning seminars our desire is to nourish a spirit of reflection rather than repeating the sounds of panic and alarm, or pretend hopes. Stepping back from the present situation, we will reflect on the current moment through trans-disciplinary lenses including philosophy, theology, history, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, and anthropology. Together we will seek new perspectives that may help us move into an open future.  

In a historical moment when the news media has repeatedly displayed the wanton killing of black men and women, the connection between African American identity and trauma seems especially salient. This talk will work through Lacanian psychoanalytic notions of subjectivity to ground an understanding of African American identity as mediated by social trauma. It will address, in particular, the 2012 Florida shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn, a white male whose excessive response to the loud rap music played by Davis and his friends demonstrates a Lacanian understanding of jouissance, or the other’s mode of enjoyment, as a root-source of notions of racial alterity. Moving through a series of Lacanian concepts relevant to race and racism (from hainamoration, to aggressivity, invidia and Atè), the talk will discuss how this jouissance, bound to fantasies of race, often structures both racism and racial identity around acts of violence and trauma, inducing African Americans to embrace willfully the very racial identities against which this violence is directed.


Registration Instructions 

 Please go to the following link and follow the registration instructions there:  


Sheldon George is Professor of English and Chair of the English department at Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts.  His scholarship centers most directly on Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and applies cultural and literary theory to analyses of American and African-American literature and culture.  He is author of Trauma and Race:  A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity and co-editor, with Jean Wyatt, of Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers: Race, Ethics, Narrative Form.  He is currently completing a collection, co-edited with Derek Hook for Routledge press, that is titled Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity and Psychoanalytic Theory.


Continuing education credits will be provided. 

2 CEU hours provided for Licensed Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Social Workers 

CEU Learning Objectives (2 CEUs offered – including ethics): 

  • To increase critical thinking skills in order to apply interdisciplinary knowledge into clinical work and practice.
  • To increase understanding of the dynamics of historical foundations behind racialized thinking and current forms of political violence.
  • To better understand how we as clinicians can identify how race and racism may serve as tools that produce psychic pleasure for clients and how that function relates to contemporary manifestations of discontent, social suffering, and ethical dilemmas.


About the New School for Analytical Psychology

Our School embraces education as a never-ending dialogical process that does not hold fast to a single theory or ideology. Our approach to knowledge is one that honors the ancient yet emphasizes our embeddedness in a contemporary cultural context. An ethical obligation to the ‘other’ is a prime concern. 

Our profession faces complex conditions of suffering and evolution, and each journey has a unique destiny that cannot be known in advance. The inherent ambiguity of our field creates anxiety in its practitioners, and there is a tendency to withdraw into defensive bastions of theory and practice. The New School group shares a deep concern about the fundamentalist tendencies in all analytic schools. We value the scholarship and clinical approaches of multiple traditions with their unique perspectives on our ever-fascinating, ever-evolving field of reflective endeavor. 

Our Community 

 Anthropology of Consciousness is an interdisciplinary association of anthropologists, psychologists, and like minded scholars united by a common interest in the study of consciousness from an anthropological perspective. Our research interests range from the cross cultural study of consciousness as understood within shamanistic, yogic and magical traditions to contemporary studies of neuroplasticity, human potential and human/technology interaction. 

Consciousness, like most words, is polysemic having a range of meanings. Because of this, we remain open to a range of human understandings of consciousness from the spiritual to the materialist, from the sacred to the secular. We embrace the “Ontological Turn” in anthropology wherein we’ve come to understand the necessity to question our own academic and theoretical frameworks in order to more accurately learn from and represent other people’s lifeworlds. Furthermore, we embrace a radically empirical approach to consciousness whereby we take all phenomena of consciousness as worthy of study and exploration.  

In our exploration of consciousness, we are committed to the anthropological principles of cross cultural, holistic, comparative study rooted in an ethnographic approach to research. We are committed to scholarly rigor and embrace the “Scholar-Practitioner” model where the researcher who actively tries to share in the experiences of the people he or she writes about will create more accurate, empathetic and rigorous ethnographic accounts. Finally, we are committed to exploring how findings from the anthropological study of consciousness can be applied to improving the condition of life on earth seen both from a human and non human perspective.


We hope you enjoy our site and look forward to sharing this amazing learning journey with you!


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