This essay establishes points of contact between Sigmund Freud’s research on the anal-sadistic stage of infantile sexuality in the first decade of the twentieth century and the Irishman Roger Casement’s contemporaneous sexual practices in Peru while he investigated a colonial rubber enterprise for its gruesomely violent punitive practices against colonized peoples. The pairing of Freud and Casement elucidates a theory of colonial archivization evinced in Casement’s notorious Black Diaries and in Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality and “Wolf Man” case history. The author argues for a retooling of psychoanalysis as a hermeneutic for archival work on queer pasts by sidestepping the familiar terrain of melancholic loss in favor of the ambivalent, defiant function of anal sexuality and its peculiar encryption strategy.
Anality in the Colonial Archive: Sigmund Freud and Roger Casement
andrew ragni is a postdoctoral fellow teaching at New York University, where he completed his doctoral work in the Department of Comparative Literature. He researches colonial modernist literature, travel writing, and queer/psychoanalytic theory.
Andrew Ragni; Anality in the Colonial Archive: Sigmund Freud and Roger Casement. differences 1 September 2020; 31 (2): 86–114. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-8662188
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