Frantz Fanon stands as one of the most uncompromising critics of racism and colonialism. Translated into English by Daniel Nethery, this biography by Fanon's brother, Joby, is an intimate, passionate and very human account of one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century.
Frantz Fanon stands as one of the most uncompromising critics of racism and colonialism. Translated into English by Daniel Nethery, this biography by Fanon's brother, Joby, is an intimate, passionate and very human account of one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century.
The essays in Fanon and the Decolonization of Philosophy all trace different aspects of the mutually supporting histories of philosophical thought and colonial politics in order to suggest ways that we might decolonize our thinking. From psychology to education, to economic and legal structures, the contributors interrogate the interrelation of colonization and philosophy in order to articulate a Fanon-inspired vision of social justice. This project is endorsed by his daughter, Mireille Fanon-Mendès France, in the book's preface.
The recent Ebola virus disease outbreak in Western African countries has raised questions regarding the feasibility of adopting conventional trial designs such as randomized controlled trials for conducting experimental trials in the midst of a fatal epidemic. In the context of Ebola ça Suffit trial conducted in Guinea for testing the efficacy and effectiveness of rVSV–ZEBOV, a candidate vaccine, I argue that the trial design and the methodologies adopted for the trial have been rightly chosen for their ethical appropriateness and (...) social utilities rather than only epistemic advantages. In this paper, I propose and defend the view that in varying scientific research contexts, it is entirely legitimate that non-epistemic values may be prioritized over epistemic considerations. Two vital methodological choices scientists should make while designing a clinical trial are: the choice of appropriate control group and the choice of appropriate randomization. Given this background, I show that the choice of delayed vaccination arm as the control group over placebo control group and the choice of cluster randomization over individually controlled randomization for conducting Ebola ça Suffit trial are perfect instances of such a scenario where addressing social and ethical issues have been justifiably prioritized over epistemic values so that the research in a specific scientific context could be conducted in a socially relevant manner. (shrink)
As the first book to analyze the work of Fanon as an existential-phenomenological of human sciences and liberation philosopher, Gordon deploys Fanon's work to illuminate how the "bad faith" of European science and civilization have philosophically stymied the project of liberation. Fanon's body of work serves as a critique of European science and society, and shows the ways in which the project of "truth" is compromised by Eurocentric artificially narrowed scope of humanity--a circumstance to which he refers (...) as the crisis of European Man. In his examination of the roots of this crisis, Gordon explores the problems of historical salvation and the dynamics of oppression, the motivation behind contemporary European obstruction of the advancement of a racially just world, the forms of anonymity that pervade racist theorizing and contribute to "seen invisibility," and the reasons behind the impossibility of a nonviolent transition from colonialism and neocolonialism to post colonialism. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that at least in two phases of pharmaceutical research, especially while assessing the adequacy of the accumulated data and its interpretation, the influence of non-epistemic values is necessary. I examine a specific case from the domain of pharmaceutical research and demonstrate that there are multiple competing sets of values which may legitimately or illegitimately influence different phases of the inquiry. In such cases, the choice of the appropriate set of values—epistemic as well as non-epistemic—should be (...) made on the basis of the set’s viability to promote specific epistemic and social aims of the research, in the case at hand, rather than other competing aims. I put forth an account which addresses two philosophically significant and interrelated questions in the context of values in science debates: which aim should be prioritized when there are different stakeholders who try to achieve competing but, sometimes, conflicting goals; and what should be the criteria according to which the prioritization of a particular goal over other competing goals can be determined? I argue that both these questions can be addressed by invoking the principle of non-arbitrariness and the mere means principle and self-determination right. The philosophical import of raising and addressing these questions from an ethical perspective is that this approach leads to a better understanding of problems in today’s pharmaceutical research and guides us in efforts to alleviate these problems. (shrink)
This paper revisits Fanon’s relationship with psychoanalysis, specifically Lacanian psychoanalysis, via a close reading of his rhetorics of childhood – primarily as mobilized by the ‘Look, a Negro!’ scenario from Black Skin, White Masks, the traumatogenic scene which installs the black man’s sense of alienation from his own body and his inferiority. While this scene has been much discussed, the role accorded the child in this has attracted little attention. This paper focuses on the role and positioning of the (...) child to reconsider Fanon’s ideas, in relation to his contribution to the social constitution of subjectivity, arguing that reading Fanon alongside both his citations of Lacan and some aspects of Lacanian theory opens up further interpretive possibilities in teasing out tensions in Fanon’s writing around models of subjectivity. Finally, it is argued that it is where Fanon retains an indeterminacy surrounding the child that he is most politically fruitful. (shrink)
In this chapter, I explore the role of violence in colonial rule and its role in decolonization struggle by posing the question, “what is alive in Fanon’s thought?” What can Fanon tell us about white settler state power and Fourth World decolonization struggles? I explore the relevance of Fanon’s account to the ongoing colonial situation on the northern part of Anówara Kawennote (Turtle Island), occupied by Canada. In this analysis, I am informed by Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) political philosopher (...) Taiaiake Alfred. I juxtapose Alfred’s theory of “nonviolent militancy” with Fanon’s concept of “violence in action.” I perform a reading of Fanon and Alfred to glean an understanding of the phenomenality of colonial state power. (shrink)
One of the signal developments in contemporary criticism over the past several years has been the ascendancy of the colonial paradigm. In conjunction with this new turn, Frantz Fanon has now been reinstated as a global theorist, and not simply by those engaged in Third World or subaltern studies. In a recent collection centered on British romanticism, Jerome McGann opens a discussion of William Blake and Ezra Pound with an extended invocation of Fanon. Donald Pease has used (...) class='Hi'>Fanon to open an attack on Stephen Greenblatt’s reading of the Henriad and the interdisciplinary practices of the new historicism. And Fanon, and published interpretations of Fanon, have become regularly cited in the rereading of the Renaissance that have emerged from places like Sussex, Essex, and Birmingham.1My intent is not to offer a reading of Fanon to supplant these others, but to read, even if summarily, some of these readings of Fanon. By focusing on successive appropriations of this figure, as both totem and text, I think we can chart out an itinerary through contemporary colonial discourse theory. I want to stress, then, that my ambitions here are extremely limited: what follows may be a prelude to a reading of Fanon, but does not even begin that task itself.2 1. See Jerome McGann, “The Third World of Criticism,” in Rethinking Historicism: Critical Readings in Romantic History, ed. Marjorie Levinson et al., pp. 85-107, and Donald Pease, “Toward a Sociology of Literary Knowledge: Greenblatt, Colonialism, and the New Historicism,” in Consequences of Theory, ed. Barbara Johnson and Jonathan Arac.2. A properly contextualized reading of Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, the text to which I most frequently recur, should situate it in respect to such germinal works as Jean-Paul Sartre’s Réflexions sur la question Juive, Dominique O. Mannoni’s Psychologie de la colonisation, Germaine Guex’s La Névrose d’abandon, as well as many lesser known works. But this is only to begin to sketch out the challenge of rehistoricizing Fanon. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is coeditor of Transition, a quarterly review, and the author of Figures in Black and The Signifying Monkey, which received an American Book Award. (shrink)
Fanon: life in a revolution -- Influences and engagements -- Colonialism, race and the native psyche. Race, colonialism and identity -- The black man's inferiority complex and race -- The dependency complex -- "Mental disorders" and colonial psychiatry -- Colonialism, gender, sexuality. Colonialism and its sexual economy -- Colonialism and sexual violence -- Women, the anti-colonial struggle and the veil -- On violence I: the destruction of selfhood. Colonial violence -- Territory, geography and the violence of space -- Embodied (...) violence and the alienation of the self -- Hegemony, violence and cultural trauma -- On violence II: the reconstruction of selfhood. Anti-colonial struggles and instrumental violence -- Absolute violence, self-realization and humanism -- Decolonization. Black consciousness, negritude and national cultures -- Negritude -- National culture -- Intellectuals, poets and the peasantry -- The intellectual and the masses -- The peasantry, the masses and political organization -- Nationalism and its pitfalls. In the name of the nation -- Fanon's critique of negritude -- A new humanism? The "problem" of humanism -- The liberated postcolonial -- The ethics of recognition -- Collective ethics -- Beyond national consciousness, towards universalism -- After Fanon. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon: Conflicts and Feminisms represents a bold examination of previous feminist criticisms of Fanon and argues that Fanon's writings on women and resistance provide the formative kernels of a liberating praxis for women existing under colonial and neocolonial oppression. Sharpley-Whiting skillfully brings together approaches from a broad range of academic fields, including critical race theory, literary and cultural criticism, and psychoanalysis as she assesses the relevance of Fanon's theories of oppression to a feminist politics of (...) resistance. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon was an enthusiastic reader of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason and in this essay I focus on what can be gleaned from The Wretched of the Earth about how he read it. I argue that the reputation among Sartre's critics of the Critique as a failure on the grounds that it was left incomplete should take into account its presence in Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth . Their shared perspectives on the systemic character of racism (...) and colonialism, on the genesis and fragility of groups, and on parties indicates the vitality of the ideas set out in the Critique . However, these similarities between the two thinkers are offset by their differences on national consciousness and on the rural masses. I end by speculating about a certain defence on Sartre's part toward Fanon's concrete experience. (shrink)
Violence is a necessary factor in Frantz Fanon's concept of anti-colonial freedom. What does Fanon mean by violence? Why does he think violence is necessary or good? Is he correct? This article defends the opening statement through an exegesis of primary and secondary literature on Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, violence, and freedom. Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth is the central text under analysis. References to Black Skin, White Masks and A Dying Colonialism receive critical scrutiny only (...) in relation to Fanon's overall theory of violence and freedom. I argue that Fanon views violence as intrinsically valuable in the anti-colonial struggle for freedom. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon offers a lucid account of his entrance into the white world where the weightiness of the ‘white gaze’ nearly crushed him. In chapter five of Black Skins, White Masks, he develops his historico-racial and epidermal racial schemata as correctives to Merleau-Ponty’s overly inclusive corporeal schema. Experientially aware of the reality of socially constructed (racialized) subjectivities, Fanon uses his schemata to explain the creation, maintenance, and eventual rigidification of white-scripted ‘blackness’. Through a re-telling of his own experiences (...) of racism, Fanon is able to show how a black person in a racialized context eventually internalizes the ‘white gaze’. In this essay I bring Fanon’s insights into conversation with Foucault’s discussion of panoptic surveillance. Although the internalization of the white narrative creates a situation in which external constraints are no longer needed, Fanon highlights both the historical contingency of ‘blackness’ and the ways in which the oppressed can re-narrate their subjectivities. Lastly, I discuss Fanon’s historically attuned ‘new humanism’, once again engaging Fanon and Foucault as dialogue partners. (shrink)
The most important component of Fanon’s political psychology is the notion of emancipatory political will. In the context of Algeria’s national liberation struggle, Fanon develops an account of the militant ‘will of the people’ that warrants analysis in terms drawn from the legacies of Rousseau, Lenin and Mao.
This article examines the different ways in which torture can be seen to have shaped the political and theoretical outlook of Frantz Fanon and that of his enthusiastic reader, the former Auschwitz prisoner Jean Améry. Building on the latter’s suggestion that torture was the essence of the Third Reich, the reader is asked to apply that insight to an unconventional interpretation of the routinization of torture in contemporary statecraft.
Originally delivered to mark the fiftieth anniversary of both Frantz Fanon’s death and the publication of his seminal discourse on decolonization, The Wretched of the Earth, these remarks seek to offer a preliminary outline of Fanon’s continuing relevance to the present. Conceptually spanning such touchstone elements of Fanon’s thought as sociogeny, race, violence, the human, and the relation between decolonial ethics and decolonial politics, the authors turn our attention to diagnosing the neoliberal face of contemporary coloniality/modernity and (...) contributing to movements from the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement, from Philadelphia’s “flash mobs” to the new Latin American Left. (shrink)
Gratitude, a significant Christian value, is regarded as a duty among Indians. The present study examines the role played by spiritual development in gratitude among the Indian population. The participants were emerging Indian male adults, aged between 18 and 30 years. The first sample is from 495 Catholic Indian seminarians with intensive spiritual training, and the second is from 504 Catholic Indian nonseminarians. We use the Gratitude Questionnaire-6 and the Spiritual Assessment Inventory in the study. The results show that the (...) factors of SAI, Awareness and Realistic Experience, had medium-size correlations with gratitude in both samples. Awareness predicted gratitude in both samples and Realistic Acceptance predicted gratitude only in seminarians. The study shows that individuals with an awareness of God's presence tend to be highly grateful. Spiritually mature individuals who undergo spiritual training were also more grateful. (shrink)
What goods are produced by affective labor? And at what cost—are there uniquely affective costs to this sort of production? If we assume that, like any variety of labor, affective labor has the potential for exploitation, we should ask what risks of exploitation are unique to it. Are these dangers of paid, commodified affective labor only? How should we understand the political economy organized around the production and circulation of affects and the racialization and gendering of affective labor?In this article, (...) I suggest that in order to understand the risks of exploitation indigenous to affective labor, we must consider the way in which the production of affects functions according to a logic of transmission... (shrink)
This paper examines the different aspects of meaning in life from a theoretical perspective of philosophy and psychology. It deals mainly with the dynamism ofmeaning in life on the basis of contextual perspectives and its emergence from different sources. In this regard, religion plays an important role in the formation of meaning in life, especially in relation to its competence. Moreover, the praxis of meaning in life is processoriented and is different from the purpose of life. It also remains as (...) a connector between the existential vacuum and the reality of life, promoting stability in life. The expression of meaning in life can be based on both low and high levels. Above all, meaning in life can be seen from two different aspects of presence of meaning and search for meaning, specifically from the empirical and Indian contexts. (shrink)
This paper considers the implications of Hannah Arendt's criticisms of Frantz Fanon and the theories of violence and politics associated with his influence for our understanding of the relationship between those two phenomena. Fanon argues that violence is a means necessary to political action, and also is an organic force or energy. Arendt argues that violence is inherently unpredictable, which means that end reasoning is in any case anti-political, and that it is a profound error to naturalize violence. (...) We evaluate their respective arguments concluding that in her well-founded rejection of the naturalization of violence, Arendt's understanding of the embodied nature of violence is less insightful than Fanon's. (shrink)
This article addresses a tendency within postcolonial studies to place the work of Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon in opposition. This has obscured the real, and potentially very productive, similarities between them. The most important of these links has to do with their shared critique of the sovereign subject of humanism: for Fanon and Foucault, this critique of the traditional humanist subject provides a way of opposing what they both see as the dangerous nostalgia for a lost moment (...) of origin. Furthermore, Fanon and Foucault both end in a moment of ethics, but it is an ethics without the sort of stable subjects assumed by humanism. I offer a consideration of some of the links that can be found in several texts by Fanon and Foucault. I then attempt to define the term I will be using to describe their shared strategy of an ethics without subjects: the “humanism effect.” I conclude by trying to suggest some of the strategic possibilities of an ethics without subjects in the postcolonial context. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon, Psychiatry and Politics affords a much-needed and long-awaited addition to the literature on Frantz Fanon, an exhaustive study of the least-known aspect of his short but remarkable life, his psychiatric practice and publications. The monograph is co-authored by Nigel C. Gibson and Roberto Beneduce, with a foreword by Alice Cherki and translations by Lisa Damon. Gibson is a leading Fanon scholar, jointly responsible for the appropriation of Fanon’s oeuvre by postcolonial studies in the nineteen (...) nineties, and Beneduce is the founding director of Il Frantz Fanon Centro, a counselling and psychotherapy centre for immigrants, refugees, and victims of torture in Turin. Cherki is one of Fanon’s few surviving colleagues and the publication reunites the team that worked on Decolonizing Madness: The Psychiatric Writings of Frantz Fanon, the first translation of Fanon’s collected psychiatric publications into English. Decolonizing Madness was scheduled for release by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014, but is now due in 2019 and Gibson and Beneduce make a somewhat cryptic allusion to production problems in their introduction, stating: ‘We were naïve, as Fanon would have put it, to think that there would be no other interests at play’ (p.22). (shrink)
This article explores Fanon's thought on dance, beginning with his explicit treatment of it in Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. It then broadens to consider his theorization of Black embodiment in racist and colonized societies, considering how these analyses can be reformulated as a phenomenology of dance. This will suggest possibilities for fruitful encounters between the two domains in which (a) dance can be valorized while (b) opening up sites of resignification and resistance for (...) Black persons and communities-including a revalorization of Black embodiment as a kind of empowering danced experience. (shrink)
Nearly forty years after his death, social philosopher Frantz Fanon remains a towering intellectual figure. Born in Guadeloupe and trained as a psychologist in France, Fanon rejected his French citizenship to join the Algerian liberation movement in the 1950s. A brilliant scholar who developed the theory that some neuroses are socially generated, Fanon's revolutionary works—The Wretched of the Earth, Toward the African Revolution, and Black Skin, White Masks—spurred an African intellectual awakening. The rebirth of Fanonism today in (...) universities and the English-speaking world is a testament to his relevance. Edited by distinguished African-studies professor Nigel C. Gibson, Rethinking Fanon opens with an authoritative biography which corrects fallacious assertions about Fanon's life, situating him in Marxism, Negritude, Pan-Africanism, and the historical context of postwar decolonization, specifically the Algerian revolution. Section one is highlighted by extended discussions of Marx, Fanon's theories on sophisticated forms of cultural racism, and "true liberation." The next section examines Fanon's humanist philosophy, his philosophical and geographical journeys, and his attitude toward the necessity of revolution. Also included is Homi Bhabha's well-known essay "Remembering Fanon," which contemplates the seeming rejection of Fanon in Britain in the 1970s, in contrast to his major following in America and the influence of Fanon on South African writer Steven Biko. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Edward Said discuss the importance of the 1980s' and 1990s' cultural and literary debates on Fanon. Gates notes that Fanon has been reinstated -not as a global theorist of "third world" revolution, but instead as a critic of English writers and British romanticists. Benita Parry reexamines African nationalism and liberation, and sheds new light on Fanon's questions of identity and agency. This excellent collection reflects the continuing impact of Fanon's thought on African-American and African studies, feminism, postcolonialism, and cultural studies. (shrink)
The wide range of disciplines represented here enables the volume to stand as a contextualizing work in Fanon studies. It contains new original essays on Africana philosophy, the human sciences, dialectical humanism, women of color studies, neocolonial and postcolonial studies, violence, and tragedy.
In recent critical studies, according to Gibson, a sustained and profound critique of Fanon has been launched by feminist and postcolonialist theorists over the past decade, focusing on ‘Algeria Unveiled’. By and large, this critique explores what Fanon calls the ‘historical dynamism of the veil’: the ways in which women strategically donned or removed the veil to subvert French colonialism, and the role women played in the Algerian War. Some theorists criticize Fanon for eulogizing the retrograde tradition (...) of the veil and for ‘normalizing gender inequality’. Others reproach him for his Orientalizing views. A number of critics confuse his pronouncements on the impact of the war which revolutionized the Algerian society and gender relation with the reactionary policies implemented in post-independent Algeria. To fathom the political and ethical concerns raised by Fanon, concerns which such criticism eschews, I propose to read Fanon’s ‘Algeria Unveiled’ in tandem with Bourdieu’s Algeria 1960 against the physical and symbolic violence to which Algerian women were subjected as they were coerced to remove their veil. (shrink)
The scholarship on Frantz Fanon’s theorization of violence is crowded with interpretations that follow the Arendtian paradigm of violence. These interpretations often discuss whether violence is instrumental or non-instrumental in Fanon’s work. This reading, I believe, is the result of approaching Fanon through Hannah Arendt’s framing of violence, i.e. through a binary paradigm of instrumental versus non-instrumental violence. Even some Fanon scholars who question Arendt’s reading of Fanon, do so by employing a similar binary logic, (...) hence repeating the same either/or paradigm of instrumental versus non-instrumental violence. I aim to challenge such interpretations of Fanon by demonstrating that in the context of anticolonial armed struggle in which Fanon writes, the either/or framework of the instrumental/non-instrumental binary of violence cannot fully capture his perspective. Violence can indeed be conceived as having both constructive and instrumental aspects. My argument is supported by Fanon’s corpus, including his 1960 Accra speech, “Why We Use Violence” in Alienation and Freedom. This piece, I suggest, together with Fanon’s other writings, poses a direct challenge to the Arendtian binary of violence. My analysis resists positioning the difference between Arendt and Fanon through the instrumental/non-instrumental binary. By using Judith Butler’s notion of “frame” I complicate their difference and argue Arendt’s framing of violence prevents her from apprehending Fanon and – more importantly – interpretations of Fanon based on this Arendtian frame of violence inevitably lead to misinterpretations. (shrink)
The death of Frantz Fanon at the age of thirty-six robbed the African revolution of its leading intellectual and moral force. His death also cut short one of the most extraordinary intellectual careers in contemporary political thought. Fanon was a political psychologist whose approach to revolutionary theory was grounded in his psychiatric practice. During his years in Algeria he published clinical studies on the behaviour of violent patients, the role of culture in the development of illness and the (...) function of the psychiatric hospital as a social milieu. These papers illuminate Fanon's political theory, expose weaknesses in his concept of political consciousness and liberation, and contain a 'secret history' explaining the tide of revolutionary movements in the Third World. (shrink)
In the first part of this essay, in order to grasp the complex and ambivalent relation of Fanon with negritude, I will recover the context from which emerged the ideology of negritude by focusing on the views of Léopold Senghor and the ways in which these views determined Sartre's interpretation of the movement. I will also examine Sartre's Black Orpheus and the influence it had on Fanon, especially on his Black Skin, White Masks. In the second part, I (...) will adumbrate Fanon's critique of the advocates of negritude, whom he refers to as 'men of culture', who fell back on archaic cultural practices far removed from the political realities of their colonized societies. In the third section, I will turn to Memmi's critique of Fanon with a view to establishing two points: first, Memmi misreads Fanon's rejection of negritude as a failure on the part of Fanon to 'return to self'; second, far from being an oppositional post-modern figure whose work is rife with contradiction, I will argue that the political project of Fanon is consistently Sartrean, despite his disagreement with Sartre on some issues. (shrink)
The Principle of common cause has its significance in providing explanations of phenomena in terms of causal theories. Though the principle has its own epistemological advantages, there can be certain situations where the principle might fail. In the first part of the paper, I offer a preliminary assessment of the PCC and then I turn to make an attempt to illustrate those scenarios where the PCC might misguide us in providing explanation of phenomena in terms of common cause.
This paper examines the case of Ebola, ça Suffit trial which was conducted in Guinea during Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2015. I demonstrate that various non-epistemic considerations may legitimately influence the criteria for evaluating the efficacy and effectiveness of a candidate vaccine. Such non-epistemic considerations, which are social, ethical, and pragmatic, can be better placed and addressed in scientific research by appealing to non-epistemic values. I consider two significant features any newly developed vaccine should possess; the duration of immunity (...) the vaccine provides; and safety with respect to the side effects of the vaccine. Then, I argue that social and ethical values are relevant and desirable in setting the parameters for evaluating these two features of vaccines. The parameters that are employed for setting up the criteria for assessing the features might have far-reaching implications on the well-being of society in general, and the health conditions of several thousand people in particular. The reason is that these features can play a decisive role during the evaluation of the efficacy and effectiveness of the vaccine. I conclude by showing why it is necessary to reject the concept of epistemic priority, at least when scientists engage in policy-oriented research. (shrink)