Josephine Baker: Psychoanalysis and the colonial fetish

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This paper traces an intricate path connecting racial fantasy, aesthetic judgment, and the larger cultural problem of intersubejctive recognition. In particular, the author examines the theme of fetishism, both sexual and racial, in a Western historical, colonial context, in order to unravel a set of disturbances that cohere around the racial fetish then and now. Taking the figure of an entertainment icon of the 1920s, Josephine Baker, as a case study, the author shows how the imagination of the colonizing white male was both articulated and disrupted by Baker as a ready-made representation of the cultural, racial, and sexual other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-129
Number of pages35
JournalPsychoanalytic Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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