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Skin, stain and lamella: Fanon, Lacan, and inter-racializing the gaze

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Abstract

In Black Skin, White Masks, the psychiatrist Frantz Fanon (1952/1967) explicitly referenced Jacques Lacan’s early theories on the mirror stage as informing his account of the facticity of blackness—the black subject’s destabilizing, self-conscious perception of his or her own epidermal corporeality. Through a close reading of passages from Fanon’s work and Lacan’s The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (1998), I argue that inter-racial scenes of encounter revolve around two pairs of objects central to Fanon and Lacan: the look and the gaze; and the skin and the lamella. Read together, they allow for a greater understanding of the subtle distinction between seeing blackness as other and otherwise; that is, differentiating the desire for difference, on the one hand, from the drive toward a more inter-corporeal experience of the subject’s relationship to self, other, and world.

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Stephens, M. Skin, stain and lamella: Fanon, Lacan, and inter-racializing the gaze. Psychoanal Cult Soc 23, 310–329 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-018-0104-1

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