Frantz Fanon: an Introduction
Frantz Fanon—psychiatrist, political theorist, poet, and revolutionary—was one of the twentieth century’s foremost theorists of race, colonialism, and decolonization. His writings became a touchstone of the global anti-colonial struggle of the 1960s, and they continue to inspire scholars and activists to this day. To what extent do Fanon’s writings, produced largely during the 1950’s, continue to speak to our situation today? And if they remain relevant, what does this indicate about our general failure to effectively oppose both old and new versions of racism and imperialism in the years since?
Through a close reading of selections from Fanon’s two most influential books—Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth—we will consider the lasting importance of concepts like recognition, violence, intersubjectivity, and emancipation. We will place Fanon into conversation with a variety of theorists, including Hannah Arendt, Angela Davis, Jamaica Kincaid, and Kimberlé Crenshaw. Finally, connecting his writings to contemporary anti-racist and revolutionary struggles—in the United States and around the world—we will explore questions of political violence, nonviolence, and the problems and possibilities posed by international solidarity.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm ET
January 26 — February 16, 2021