Recent book publications from FIMS faculty members

Dreaming in Dark Times: Six Exercises in Political Thought

Dreaming in Dark Times book coverAuthored by Sharon Sliwinski (Published March 2017)

Description from publisher (University of Minnesota Press): A political theory of dream-life. Sharon Sliwinski explores how the disclosure of dream-life represents a form of unconscious thinking that can serve as a potent brand of political intervention and a means for resisting sovereign power. She defends the idea that dream-life matters—that attending to this thought-landscape is vital to the life of the individual but also vital to our shared social and political worlds.

Addressing the political by the unusual means of the textual analysis of dreams, Dreaming in Dark Times is an innovative and productive entanglement of literary and historical-political analysis that enables us to approach the currently important question of political subjectivity, a seeming oxymoron. Not a psychoanalysis of the dreamer, the book offers a subtle deployment of the insights of psychoanalysis and dream theory for our current and worsening crises. A vitally important book.  —Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds 

Photography and the Optical Unconscious

Photography and the optical unconscious book coverCo-edited by Sharon Sliwinski (Published May 2017)

Description from publisher (Duke University Press): Photography is one of the principal filters through which we engage the world. The contributors to this volume focus on Walter Benjamin's concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency. In essays that range from examinations of Benjamin's and Sigmund Freud's writings to the work of Kara Walker and Roland Barthes's famous Winter Garden photograph, the contributors explore what photography can teach us about the nature of the unconscious. They attend to side perceptions, develop latent images, discover things hidden in plain sight, focus on the disavowed, and perceive the slow. Of particular note are the ways race and colonialism have informed photography from its beginning. The volume also contains photographic portfolios by Zoe Leonard, Kelly Wood, and Kristan Horton, whose work speaks to the optical unconscious while demonstrating how photographs communicate on their own terms. The essays and portfolios in Photography and the Optical Unconscious create a collective and sustained assessment of Benjamin's influential concept, opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.

Contributors. Mary Bergstein, Jonathan Fardy, Kristan Horton, Terri Kapsalis, Sarah Kofman, Elisabeth Lebovici, Zoe Leonard, Gabrielle Moser, Mignon Nixon, Thy Phu, Mark Reinhardt, Shawn Michelle Smith, Sharon Sliwinski, Laura Wexler, Kelly Wood, Andrés Mario Zervigón