Becoming Serpent, 2014-2016

Becoming serpent: Mapping coils of paranoia in a neocolonial security state.

In an effort to understand the paranoia of disturbing expressions of white supremacy within present-day US, my PhD entered enter a transnational program of research to pre-empt psychosis. With interviews, participant observation, scientific artifacts, reflexive journaling, and public art, I put forth what I term psycurity – an abstract machine that channels paranoia, itself emerging out of a colonial desire-to-know entangled with a fear of ‘regressing’. I map how, within psycurity assemblages, this dis-ease of white supremacy is able to hide as reasonable suspicion, predict the future, brand threatening bodies, and grow through fear, thereby making up the undulating coils of a neocolonial security state. Recognizing that this itself is a ‘paranoid reading’ of the present moment, I then reclaim my own response/ability as a critical scholar by also doing a ‘reparative reading’ of psycurity. I join with decolonial and feminist scholarship to ‘re-turn’ paranoia’s more-than-human roots, ultimately arguing that making spaces of and for participation, listening, and mystery could transform the paranoia of psycurity into yearning, a sense of other possible worlds, here-now. At once critical and creative, paranoid and reparative, representational and non-representational, this research unsettles the coloniality of not only psycurity, but psy inquiry too.

This project became the basis for a monograph that came out with Routledge in 2019.