Kristeva's Severed Head in Iraq: Antoon’s The Corpse Washer


  • Frances L. Restuccia Boston College



Kristeva, psychoanalysis, Antoon, Islam, Islamophobia


This paper offers a Kristevan reading of Antoon's The Corpse Washer. Although this text focuses specifically on Arab/Muslim culture, which cannot be translated into a racial category, this reading is meant to show the pertinence of Kristevan psychoanalytic theory in a non-Western context.  One might go about linking such psychoanalytic work on non-Western writing to “race” in two ways.  Insofar as The Corpse Washer demonstrates the validity of Kristevan psychoanalytic theory for non-Western art/artists, it implies the universality of that theory, despite ethnicity, race, religion, etc.  Or if we presuppose the universality of Kristevan psychoanalytic theory, we may think of such work as testing the assumption that psychoanalysis can traverse all such culturally constructed boundaries.