This product is not currently available
This is a virtual event, accessible online. Access instructions will be provided after registration.


Course Overview: 

This lecture will be based on Dr. Eng's recently published book of the same title, co-authored with psychotherapist Shinhee Han, LCSW, Ph.D. Dr. Eng will draw on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought and clinical practice, he will develop the concepts of “racial melancholia” and “racial dissociation” to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. Case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans will be presented that deal with a range of difficulties, including depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out, as well as broader issues of the “model minority” stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the U.S., and Asia’s rise under globalization. Throughout, Dr. Eng will link psychoanalysis to larger structural and historical phenomena, illuminating how the study of psychic processes of individuals can inform investigations of race, sexuality, and immigration while creating a more sustained conversation about the social lives of Asian Americans and Asians in the diaspora.


Course Objectives: 

At the conclusion of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Describe a number of critical approaches to psychoanalysis and race.
  2. Describe the history of the (racial) subject in relation to the subject of (racial) history. That is, to understand how law and psychoanalysis frame race relations--indeed, race as relation.
  3. Detail the specific histories of loss, immigration, assimilation, and racialization that underpin the formation of Asian American subjectivity.
  4. Describe the social and psychic histories and dynamics of model minorities, transnational adoptees, parachute kids, suicide, and coming out in a colorblind age.
  5. Explain how different psychic paradigms--including racial melancholia and racial dissociation--construct Asian American subjectivity.
  6. Discuss race relations outside polarities of white and black, victim and perpetrator; explore "good enough" theories of race; and understand Asian Americans as triangulating the polarities of race.


Empirical Reference: 

  1. Racist Experiences, Openness to Discussing Racism, and Attitudes Toward Ethnic Heritage Activities: Adoptee–Parent Discrepancies by Kimberly J. Langrehr, Sydney K. Morgan, Jessica Ross, Monica Oh, and Wen Wen Chong, June 2019
  2. Model Minority of a Different Kind? Academic Competence and Behavioral Health of Chinese Children Adopted Into White American Families by Tony Xing Tan, September 2018
  3. Microaggressions and Self-Esteem in Emerging Asian American Adults: The Moderating Role of Racial Socialization by Christina J. Thai, Heather Z. Lyons, Matthew R. Lee, and Michiko Iwasaki, June 2017
  4. "You're Asian; You're Supposed to be Smart": Adolescents' Experiences With the Model Minority Stereotype and Longitudinal Links With Identity by Taylor L. Thompson, Lisa Kiang, and Melissa R. Witkow, June 2016
  5. Measurement Invariance of the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) Across Asian American Ethnic, Nativity, and Gender Groups by Yun Lu, Alvin N. Alvarez,and Matthew J. Miller, March 2019
  6. Dozen original case histories of Asian American patients and students composed by Shinhee Han (Ph.D.) and David L. Eng (Ph.D).
  7. Byun, Boonsoon. “South Korean High School Parachute Kids in Southern Cali- fornia: Academic, Psychological Adjustment and Identity Formation.” PhD diss., University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, 2010.
  8. Cheng, Anne Anlin. “American Racial Grief, a Reprisal.” Huffington Post, March 16, 2016. Accessed June 3, 2016. -cheng/american-racial-grief-a-r_b_9467348.html.


Commitment to Equity:

NCSPP is aware that historically psychoanalysis has either excluded or pathologized groups outside of the dominant population in terms of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and size. As an organization, we are committed to bringing awareness to matters of anti-oppression, inequity, inequality, diversity, and inclusion as they pertain to our educational offerings, our theoretical orientation, our community, and the broader world we all inhabit.

Presenters Response:

The need to bring together critical race theory with psychoanalysis--and, more specifically, the need to study and understand better our understudied if not outright ignored Asian American students and patients--drives the entire organization of this course. As a gay Asian professor in the humanities who has devoted his scholarly career to investigating law, psychoanalysis, and racial and sexual formation under long histories of racial capitalism, I plan to examine at length how the space of the class and clinic both inflect and reflect the larger social issues and problems of the world around us.



David L. Eng, Ph.D., is a Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an author of three books, most recently Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans (co-authored with Shinhee Han, LCSW, Ph.D.), as well as co-editor of numerous collections. Dr. Eng is an honorary member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR).


Target Audience & Level: 

This intermediate level event is intended for graduate students and faculty in the humanities, social science, and in ethnic studies; all mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic trainees, psychotherapists, psychologists; social workers); community activists; and racial justice activists.


Program Committee


Jeremy Mintz, Psy.D., Chair

Danni Biondini, MA
Jessica Brown, LMFT
Geetali Chitre
Justine Leichtling, Psy.D.

Continuing Education

6.0 CE
Production Date: