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Thursday, May 20 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
“Let America Be American Again”: Exploring the Relationship between Psychological Ambivalence and Social Oppression

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Strictly defined, ambivalence refers to the simultaneous existence of contradictory feelings and attitudes toward a person, object, event, situation or the self. From a psychological perspective, unresolved ambivalence can result in crucial elements of the self being relegated indefinitely to the status of unheard through ongoing cognitive, emotional, and spiritual repression. On a larger scale, the struggles of ideological ambivalence and social oppression echo these psychological conflicts.  
This workshop offers a reading of Langston Hughes 1936 poem, “Let America Be America Again” as a framework through which the relationship between social and psychological ambivalence can be explored. By understanding the unheard in Hughes’s poem as parenthetical voices rather than conflicting ideological evaluations, we can allow space for the unheard to exist as both individual psychological manifestations and collective social manifestations. Within this framework, not only are we able to draw connections between microcosmic and macrocosmic occurrences of ambivalence, but begin to understand these more universally - not as isolated instances of cognitive and social conflict, but rather as individual and communal bodies sharing experiences of ongoing oppression within systems of neurological and political power.  
 Learning Objectives  
  • Examine modern psychological definitions of ambivalence  
  • Consider ambivalence as oppression of the unheard rather than the conflict of opposites.  
  • Recognize that ambivalence as oppression exists in both psychological and social bodies.  
  • Establish a therapeutic framework that addresses the psychological, spiritual, and social aspects of ambivalence.  
  • Provide resources for further learning on Liberation Psychology, oppression, and systems of power.  


Thursday May 20, 2021 3:30pm - 5:00pm PDT
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