Ross Truscott

Senior Lecturer and Researcher

Dr Ross Truscott’s research takes as its central problem the institutional inheritances of postcolonial societies to grapple with the “psychic life of power” that institutional discourses entail. He draws on, and seeks to elaborate, a mode of psychoanalytic reading in dialogue with feminist, critical, and postcolonial theory. The aim is not to apply psychoanalysis, but to rethink it, and its methods, as it is brought into new encounters with the legacies of colonialism. While working within and across different psychoanalytic traditions, Ross is particularly interested in the work of Jean Laplanche and Frantz Fanon.

Ross is currently working on three projects. “On Universities” aims to rethink the tension between academic freedom and responsibility in the neoliberal university. “Postal Colonialism” brings postal histories into an encounter with postcolonial theory. “The Order of Empathy” is a book project that aims to think about the emergence into recent history of the injunction to put oneself into the position of others. As the book asks: “Under what historical and epistemological conditions—and under what sociopolitical and socioeconomic forces, too—did it become possible, and, for some, necessary, to issue so many orders to empathise? When it is said that we ought to have empathy, to what, precisely, does this commit us, and of what sort of an “us” is this order constitutive?  How are race, class, gender, and sexuality inscribed in the developmental itineraries of empathy education? To what political ends has the injunction to empathise been set? How have these deployments changed? How has this order been responded to from the margins of empire?”

Ross’s publications can be accessed here:
The courses Ross has taught have focused on the following themes:
  • Global apartheid (through the lens of, but also beyond, biopolitics)
  • Gender and African history
  • Race, gender and sexuality (in art, science and popular culture)
  • Technology and subjectivity
  • Institutions and intersubjectivity
  • Critical university studies
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Critical social psychology.

Related News

Everything that was made was not destroyed…

CHR Artist in Residence Juan Orrantia will present his ongoing artistic work “Everything that was made was not destroyed, but also does not exist” at the South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar on 14 September 2021.

List of Articles (2016-present)

Staff and Fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research regularly publish articles and reviews in local and international journals, applying the centre’s intellectual inquiries across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

Kronos: Southern African Histories 46

The CHR is excited to announce the publication of Other Lives of the Image, a special issue of the journal Kronos: Southern African Histories.

Re-Centring Afro Asia Conference

The CHR presented a panel with the Centres’ Patricia Hayes, Luis Gimenez and Kiasha Naidoo, chaired by Ross Truscott discussing the possibilities and approaches to the invocation of the precolonial at the recently convened Afro-Asia Conference.

The Dream of the Royal Road: Psychoanalysis and the Post

The CHR is delighted to announce the latest publication from CHR Next Gen researcher, Ross Truscott, titled ‘The Dream of the Royal Road: Psychoanalysis and the Post’ published in Cultural Critique.

Global Apartheid: A Genealogy of Biopolitical Sovereignty

A seminar course on Global Apartheid co-taught by Professor Cesare Casarino and Dr. Ross Truscott will take place in the first semester of 2020.

Kronos 43: What is the university in Africa for?

2017 Special Issue edited by Ross Truscott and Maurits Van Bever Donker

A Nervous State by Nancy Rose Hunt: Book Launch

Duke University Press, Clarke’s Bookshop and the Centre for Humanities Research, UWC invite you to the launch of the new book by Nancy Rose Hunt (Professor of History & African Studies, University of Florida)