Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Postcolonial environmentalisms and psychoanalysis : the ecologies of skin
Author: Hemsley, Frances Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 1531
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 May 2023
Access from Institution:
What have dams, toxic industries, oceans, and nature reserves got to do with psychic life? What are the psychic economies of colonial and postcolonial environmental relations? What, moreover, does psychoanalysis have to do with postcolonial environmentalisms? This thesis will advance a psychoanalysis that is materialist – attending to both the materiality of the body and the materiality of the environment. It is my contention that the usefulness of postcolonial “uses” of psychoanalysis lies in future engagements with critical medical theory and the biological sciences. Through these fields we are increasingly aware of the “environmental” constitution of the subject. I reach beyond the human-centered environment typical of psychoanalysis and conceptualise a material basis for psychic life. The chapters in this thesis reveal the subject as always-already immersed in and interpellated by ecological materialisms (pollution, disease, epigenetic acquisitions, extinction). In this thesis, I use the term “ecologies of skin” to allude to the material and psychic “skin” as an environmental category: a substrate for our environmental relations. I situate the skin of the subject within new biomedical ecologies (the microbiome) and the ecologies of the colonial environment (its nexus of forced labour migrations, its uneven distributions of disease and environmental “sanitation”, and its production of materially deprived environments). I work across a range of colonial and postcolonial contexts in which environmental relations are inflected by the politics of skin. These contexts include: rural and urban reserves and the politics of water reservoirs in Zimbabwe, immigrant labour and environmental sanitation in Canada, socio-spatial assignments in apartheid South Africa, and land rationalisation and the racial politics of the nature reserve in post-genocide Rwanda. I show how colonial environmental racism – which I further refine as epidemiological racism – forms a constitutive nexus for psychic life. Ultimately, I contend that the postcolonial co-implicates our psychic proclivities with our ecological situation and that this co-implication is the wider resonance and continuing lesson of the postcolonial beyond its initial purview.
Supervisor: Brendon, Nicholls Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available