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Freud Upside Down African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture by Badia Sahar Ahad

Freud Upside Down African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture

Part of the New Black Studies Series Series


Freud Upside Down African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture by Badia Sahar Ahad

This thought-provoking cultural history explores how psychoanalytic theories shaped the works of important African American literary figures. Badia Sahar Ahad details how Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Ralph Ellison, Adrienne Kennedy, and Danzy Senna employed psychoanalytic terms and conceptual models to challenge notions of race and racism in twentieth-century America. Freud Upside Down explores the relationship between these authors and intellectuals and the psychoanalytic movement emerging in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Examining how psychoanalysis has functioned as a cultural phenomenon within African American literary intellectual communities since the 1920s, Ahad lays out the historiography of the intersections between African American literature and psychoanalysis and considers the creative approaches of African American writers to psychological thought in their work and their personal lives.


Freud Upside Down showcases a theoretical sophistication that opens up exciting archives to a new take on literary and intellectual history. --Michael L. Cobb, author of God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence An innovative and meaningful addition to recent scholarship on race and psychoanalysis. Badia Sahar Ahad's work makes a significant historical and theoretical contribution to the study of race, psychoanalysis, African American literature, and American culture. --Gwen S. Bergner, author of Taboo Subjects: Sex and Psychoanalysis

About the Author

Badia Sahar Ahad is an assistant professor of English at Loyola University.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th October 2010


Badia Sahar Ahad

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University of Illinois Press


216 pages


Literary studies: from c 1900 -
Psychoanalytical theory (Freudian psychology)



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