Frantz Fanon Introduction Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Frantz Fanon Political Science

Introduction

Frantz Fanon

Born on the island of Martinique under French colonial rule, Frantz Omar Fanon (1925 – 1961) was one of the most important writers in black Atlantic theory in an age of anti-colonial liberation struggle. His work drew on a wide array of poetry, psychology, philosophy, and political theory, and its influence across the global South has been wide, deep, and enduring. In his lifetime, he published two key original works: Black Skin, White Masks (Peau noire, masques Blancs) in 1952 and The Wretched of the Earth (Les damnés de la terre) in 1961.

Political Idea

  • Fanon engaged the fundamental issues of his day: language, affect, sexuality, gender, race and racism, religion, social formation, time, and many others.
  • His impact was immediate upon arrival in Algeria, where in 1953 he was appointed to a position in psychiatry at Bilda-Joinville Hospital.
  • His participation in the Algerian revolutionary struggle shifted his thinking from theorizations of blackness to a wider, more ambitious theory of colonialism, anti-colonial struggle, and visions for a postcolonial culture and society.

The Problem of Blackness

  • In 1952, Fanon published his first major work Black Skin, White Masks. Though just 27 at the time of its publication, the work displays incredible literacy in major intellectual trends of the time.
  • Modest in length, the book is notable for its enormous ambition, seeking to understand the foundations of anti-Black racism in the deepest recesses of consciousness and the social world. The book is Fanon՚s major work on blackness.
  • In fact, his focus shifts in the years following the publication of Black Skin, White Masks, moving away from blackness as a problem — perhaps the problem — of the modern world and toward a wider theory of the oppressed, colonialism, and revolutionary resistance to the reach of coloniality as a system.

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