Race Does Gender: Braiding Cultural Theory & Clinical Psychoanalysis


a clinical case study presented by Avgi Saketopoulou
with commentary by Tavia Nyong’o & Cleonie V. White

February 15, Tuesday
8 to 10 pm
Avgi Saketopoulou, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYU
Tavia Nyong’o, Performance Studies, NYU
Cleonie V. White, William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology
Psychoanalysis’s engagement with questions of racial difference has grown significantly in recent years. However, journeying even further into academic work on racialization and the power dynamics embedding it can deepen our understanding of — and clinical work — with racial embodiment. This forum brings together cultural theorists and clinical practitioners to think race, gender, and sexuality with – and against – psychoanalysis. The event is organized around a case study presentation by Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou, to be followed by commentary by Professor Tavia Nyong’o and Dr. Cleonie V. White. All three presenters are interested in what psychoanalysis might say to questions of racial and sexual difference and how gender and sexuality studies and critical race theory might speak back to clinical practice.
In her case study, Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou will present her work with DeShawn, a nine-year-old African-American transgendered inpatient. She will detail his daily life and treatment in order to track the progression of his therapy over the course of three years. The early part of his hospitalization focused mostly on his psychopathology and on his gender variance, which aroused significant unrest among clinicians and patient. This upset delayed a much-needed clinical engagement with race. As the work progressed, however, his blackness and the analyst’s own whiteness became central to the treatment, which enabled DeShawn to relate differently to his psychiatric illness and to come to a more fluid relationship to his complex gender. The entwinements of these discursive threads reverberated in the individual as well as in the milieu treatment, offering important lessons as to how race presses on gender and desire and underlining as well what is at stake when clinicians fail to adequately attend to racial trauma.
The different institutional and disciplinary locations of this forum’s three speakers promises a meaningful and lively exchange that crosses between race and gender as well as between the classroom and the clinic. There will be ample time for audience discussion after the formal presentations.
Lecture Room 102
13-19 University Place, 1st floor

between 8th Street and Waverly Place
Avgi Saketopoulou is an advanced psychoanalytic candidate at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is a contributing editor in Studies in Gender and Sexuality, assistant editor in Psychoanalytic Dialogues and an adjunct clinical supervisor at Long Island University. Avgi conducts asylum evaluations for LGBTQ individuals and serves as an expert consultant on trauma for the Bronx Mental Health Court. She teaches and writes on gender, race and sexualities and is especially interested on issues around consent. Avgi is in private practice in NYC.
Tavia Nyong’o is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The research interests of Tavia Nyong’o include the intersections of race and sexuality, visual art and performance, and cultural history. He teaches courses on black performance, the history of the body, and subcultural performance. His book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), investigates musical, aesthetic, and political practices that conjoined blackness and whiteness in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is the web editor of Social Text.
Cleonie White, Ph.D. is faculty and supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology, and the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. She sits on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychonalysis, and is an Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Dr. White’s interests include issues peertaining to race, culture, and politics, to psychoanalysis in culture and politics, and to the body as carrier and witness to, cultural and political trauma. She maintains a private practice in New York City.
Co-sponsored by the Counterpublic Collective; the Gender Studies Program at John Jay College/CUNY; the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, NYU; Pride in Practice, a student group of the NYU Silver School of Social Work; and Studies in Gender and Sexuality: Psychoanalysis, Cultural Studies, Treatment, Research
This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.  If you need sign language interpretation services or other accommodations, please let us know as soon as possible.
For more information, please call 212-992-9540 or email csgs(at)nyu.edu.