When Racialized Ghosts Refuse to Become Ancestors: Tasting the “Blood of Recognition” in Racial Melancholia and Mixed-Race Identities
December 15, 2023 at 12:50 PM to 1:50 PM Eastern
Free Virtual Grand Rounds with Dhwani Shah, MD.
Experiences of feeling haunted and of being in the presence of ghosts are prominent in narratives of patients/people of color in the United States and of mixed-race identity. A creative reading of Hans Loewald’s evocative statement on therapeutic action, the process of transforming “ghosts into ancestors,” is used to explore a way of being with and healing patients with mixed-race identities who are imprisoned in melancholic states. An extended case vignette of an Indian American psychoanalyst working with a patient with a mixed racial identity highlights racialized components of melancholia and illuminates specific countertransference states and enactments that can both impede and allow for the gradual and partial witnessing of racialized ghosts and their transformation into ancestors.