Dreaming in Dark Times
Six Exercises in Political Thought
Sharon Sliwinski explores how the disclosure of dream-life represents a form of unconscious thinking that can serve as a potent brand of political intervention and a means for resisting sovereign power. She defends the idea that dream-life matters—that attending to this thought-landscape is vital to the life of the individual but also vital to our shared social and political worlds. 2017, University of Minnesota Press.
Photography and the Optical Unconscious
Photography is one of the principal filters through which we engage the world. The contributors to this volume focus on Walter Benjamin's concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency. In essays that range from examinations of Benjamin's and Sigmund Freud's writings to the work of Kara Walker and Roland Barthes's famous Winter Garden photograph, the contributors explore what photography can teach us about the nature of the unconscious. They attend to side perceptions, develop latent images, discover things hidden in plain sight, focus on the disavowed, and perceive the slow. Of particular note are the ways race and colonialism have informed photography from its beginning. The volume also contains photographic portfolios by Zoe Leonard, Kelly Wood, and Kristan Horton, whose work speaks to the optical unconscious while demonstrating how photographs communicate on their own terms. The essays and portfolios in Photography and the Optical Unconscious create a collective and sustained assessment of Benjamin's influential concept, opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche. 2017, Duke University Press.
Mandela’s Dark Years
A Political Theory of Dreaming
Inspired by one of Nelson Mandela’s recurring nightmares, Mandela’s Dark Years offers a political reading of dream-life. Sharon Sliwinski guides the reader through the psychology of apartheid, recasting dreaming as a vital form of resistance to political violence, away from a rational binary of thinking. This short, provocative study blends political theory with clinical psychoanalysis, opening up a new space to consider the politics of reverie. 2016, University of Minnesota Press.
Human Rights in Camera
From the fundamental rights proclaimed in the American and French declarations of independence to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Hannah Arendt’s furious critiques, the definition of what it means to be human has been hotly debated. But the history of human rights—and their abuses—is also a richly illustrated one. Following this picture trail, Human Rights In Camera takes an innovative approach by examining the visual images that have accompanied human rights struggles and the passionate responses people have had to them. 2011, University of Chicago Press.