07.12.18 | The War On Imagination Book Launch

Psychologists, activists, artists, and friends are invited to an evening of reflection about our responsibility during times of intensifying white supremacy and breathlessness.

The War on Imagination

A book launch for Psycurity: Colonialism, Paranoia, and the War on Imagination by Dr Rachel Jane Liebert

Friday 7th December, 2018

6pm – 7pm: Reception & Exhibition

7pm – 8pm: Performances & Readings

8pm onwards: Conversations

FREE @ Stour Space, 7 Roach Rd, London E3 2PA


About the book: Explanations for white supremacist attacks typically direct attention toward an unreasonable, paranoid state of mind and away from the neocolonial security state that made them. In response, Liebert reads paranoia as a ‘dis-ease’ of coloniality by following its circulation through the ultimate place of reason, indeed a key arbitrator of it: Psychology.

With participant observation and interview material, Liebert traces the spinning cogs and affective coils of the prodromal movement – a program of research that, capturing potential psychosis, illustrates the serpentine workings of a contemporary control society. She argues that, within a context of ‘psycurity’, paranoia is able to hide as reasonable suspicion, predict the future, brand threatening bodies, and grow through fear, thereby seeping into the cracks of white supremacy, stabilizing it. Recognizing this itself as a paranoid reading, Liebert then engages Coatlicue – a goddess of the serpent – to show how paranoia may contain a decolonizing potential: imagination. With this ‘otherworldly correspondence’ detained at the gates of psycurity, she undertakes a creative apprenticeship to learn how to re-turn paranoia’s roots and breathe new life into a suffocating milieu. Demanding both servitude to decolonizing movements and a ‘weaponless’ praxis, the tactic that emerges offers to revive the psykhe – breath – of psychologies, too.

In calling for psychologies to leave Psychology’s comfort zone and make space for imagination, Liebert’s own spiraling, reflexive process attempts the same. Pushed by the genocidal legacy of her settler and intellectual ancestry, she takes guidance from decolonizing scholarship, feminist science studies, and visual art – as well as her own activist experiences – to experiment with response-ability in times of intensifying white supremacy, of breathlessness.

Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, Rachel Jane Liebert is a Lecturer in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of East London. She has a PhD in Critical Psychology from the City University of New York and collaborates with various activists and artists on projects toward racial, gender, and mad justice.

For more information: r.liebert@uel.ac.uk

Routledge * UEL Mental Health and Social Change Research Group * Outsider Gallery London

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