Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Cry of the Self as a Call from the Other: The Paradoxical Loving Subjectivity of Frantz Fanon

by Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Listening: Journal of Religion & Culture, 2001

Frantz Fanon has achieved the status of an icon in the academy. In contrast to the late 1960's and the early 1970's, today his books and essays tend to be more in the hands of what Kierkegaard disparagingly called “assistant professors” than in study groups of radical political movements. The moments appear long gone when people approached Fanon’s texts as a recipe for immediate political action. Now, with the academy taking for many the privileged locus of significant political activity, Fanon’s texts have moved from the ghettos into the classrooms. This move is not by itself a negative one, since, even though this has not been entirely the case so far, it invites Fanon’s readers to focus on his thought and ideas, and no longer to reduce his work to his biography or to a preconceived political agenda on his commentators’ parts. It also brings the opportunity to study the philosophical and political implications of what arguably constitutes one of the darkest sides of “our” ordinary existence—precisely the opposition between ghettos and classrooms.

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