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Scenes of ProjectionRecasting the Enlightenment Subject$
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Jill H. Casid

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816646692

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816646692.001.0001

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Empire through the Magic Lantern

Empire through the Magic Lantern

(p.89) Chapter Two Empire through the Magic Lantern
Scenes of Projection

Jill H. Casid

University of Minnesota Press

Chapter two, “Empire through the Magic Lantern,” takes up the psychoanalytic concept of morbid projection to provide an account of the shaping of not just the fortress ego but its violent abjections as well as to show how it is possible to psychoanalyze colonialism in tandem with a decolonization of psychoanalysis. From Anne McClintock's own use of Julia Kristeva's notion of abjection as "something rejected from which one does not part" to Homi Bhabha's formulation in "Sly Civility" of the subject of colonial authority as never free of its "scapegoat fantasy" that makes "him" or the "master" not a fortified castle but a "frontier station of joint occupation," versions of the psychoanalytic concept of projection have provided some of the main tools for postcolonial criticism. I argue that the psychoanalytic concept of projection takes us not only to an important problematization of the binaries of "self" and "other." It also takes us to the very techniques, in a material sense, for their attempted production. Through its case studies the chapter elaborates the magic lantern as a ready theoretical vehicle and satiric trope for demonstrating the extent to which an "Asia," "Africa," or "America" failed to function as a blank screen that stayed safely “over there” because of the ways this device is so fused and infused with what it mediated.

Keywords:   magic lantern, European imperialism, Anne McClintock, geopolitical contests, otherness, gender inequality, racism, European enlightenment, comic inversion

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