Iracema Dulley holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in social anthropology from the University of São Paulo and is a practicing psychoanalyst. She has been appointed Assistant Researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon. Her research considers processes of subject constitution from an interdisciplinary perspective. She has conducted fieldwork in and archival research on colonial and post-colonial Angola and her publications focus on ethnographic theorization, the case study, witchcraft, translation, naming practices, and processes of differentiation related to race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Research methodology is a central area of concern.

Dulley has held post-doctoral fellowships at ICI Berlin, the London School of Economics, and the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning. Before joining the ICI Berlin, she was Principal Investigator in a FAPESP grant project on subject constitution in African contexts at the Federal University of São Carlos, where she is Affiliated Professor. She is the author of Deus é feiticeiro (2010), Os nomes dos outros (2015), and On the Emic Gesture (2019). Recent publications include the articles ‘Naming Others: Translation and Subject Constitution in the Central Highlands of Angola (1926-1961)’ in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 64 , Issue 2 (April 2022), pp. 363-93 and ‘Chronicles of Bailundo: A Fragmentary Account in Umbundu of Life Before and After Portuguese Colonial Rule’ in Africa, Vol. 91 , Issue 5 (November 2021), pp. 713-41.

Subject Constitution, Ethnographic Theory, and the Case Study
Affiliated Project 2022-23

Dulley’s project addresses processes of subject constitution from the perspectives of anthropology and psychoanalysis through two methodological reductions: the case study and ethnographic theory. What does generalization based on singularities say about the affordances and limits of models? What kinds of subjects emerge in the practice of anthropology and psychoanalysis? How are units of analysis produced? What does the performativity of language (naming, stating, narrating) do to description? What kinds of transference are at play? Finally, to what extent can anthropology expand the psychoanalytical imaginary and vice-versa? 

Drawing on ethnographic and archival research on colonial and post-colonial Angola, on the one hand, and on the clinical practice of psychoanalysis by herself and others, on the other hand, Dulley explores and compares processes of subject constitution in three different settings: fieldwork, the analytical setting, and the archive. Topics to be explored include transference, the signifier, objects, and translation. This project expands the research carried out within her previous ICI project on the relationship between naming and subject constitution in colonial and post-colonial Angola through a dialogue with the current project on ‘Models’.

De(-)Signation: Naming Subjects in Angola
ICI Project 2020-22

The project considers the relation between naming and subject constitution through an interrogation of both reduction and complexification. If names are the reduction upon which designation and description depend (according to Saul Kripke’s theory of the name as ‘rigid’ designation), the performativity of naming retains a potential for dissemination, as Jacques Derrida has argued. How do the names attributed to oneself and others intertwine with changing contextual positionalities related to race, ethnicity, status, gender, region, and class?

This project proposes an ethnographic theorization of how the performativity of naming constitutes subjects via fixation and displacement. In analysing the iterative chain of signification through which subjects were constituted by state and vernacular naming in colonial and post-colonial Angola, aspects of interpellation related to reduction (fixation, designation, totalization, homogenization) and complexification (dissemination, transformation, displacement) shall be considered simultaneously.