White Psychosis and the Wake

You can watch a free screening of Eugene Nulman’s documentary, The Psychosis of Whiteness

here: The Psychosis of Whiteness. The film is free to watch and they are collecting donations with 50% going to the Black Visions Collective.

The documentary is based on Kehinde Andrew’s paper The Psychosis of Whiteness and narrated by the author.

The film sheds light on society’s perceptions of race and racism by exploring cinematic representations of the slave trade. This documentary takes an in-depth look at big budget films that focus on the transatlantic slave trade and, using a wealth of sources and interviews, it argues that these depictions are metaphoric hallucinations about race. Rather than blaming the powerful institutions that are responsible for slavery, these films rewrite history by praising those same institutions for abolishing the slave trade. Christina Sharpe states that ‘to be in the wake is to occupy and to be occupied by the continuous and changing present of slavery’s as yet unresolved unfolding’. This unresolved unfolding alongside metaphoric hallucinations about race continue to be neglected in our field and our practice as a whole.

You will find a range of resources below relating to the event that took place in Feb 2020.

The panelists:

Foluke Taylor – Counsellor/Psychotherapist and Writer

Dr Gail Lewis – Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Sociologist, previous Programme Director of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck.

Robert Downes – TRS Chair, Psychotherapist.

Date: 16th Feb 2020.    Time: 2-5.30pm
Venue: Stillpoint Spaces London  23 Clerkenwell Close  EC1R 0AA

Reserving a place: please contact Jane at therelationalschool@gmail.com to reserve your place and to access instructions for making payment. £45 TRS members, BAATN members, IARTA members. £50 non-members. £35 students of counselling and psychotherapy.

There will be refreshments and some snacks.

Links to the pre-reading and videos are below.

Open Access version of  Kehinde Andrews article The Psychosis of Whiteness: the celluloid hallucinations of Amazing Graze and Belle (published in the Journal of Black Studies in 2016). The article inspired the making of the documentary.

Chapter of Christina Sharpe’s In The Wake On Blackness and Being. This first chapter describes the notion of the wake.

Christina Sharpe reading an excerpt from In The Wake No.1.

Christina Sharpe reading an excerpt from In The Wake No.2

African American philosopher, George Yancy, breaks down what is required of whiteness to unravel from the psychosis of whiteness.


You can listen to an audio recording of a performance of  Zong! written by M. NourbeSe Philip and performed via a Collective Reading with LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Sean D. Henry-Smith, Erica Hunt, and Rosamond S. King – click HERE for the link. The poets use word, song, and bodies to interpret the book, the text of which is based entirely on historical documents relating to a 1781 massacre of 150 Africans on the slave ship Zong which we meet in The Psychosis of Whiteness documentary.