Fanon Frantz


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Fanon Frantz

(1925-1961) Martinique-born psychiatrist and anti-colonial revolutionary writer whose critique of COLONIALISM and support for Algerian nationalism and revolutionary armed struggle was expressed in the influential works Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961) profoundly influenced radical movements in the 1960s. Born into a middle-class family in the French colony, Fanon volunteered to fight with the Free French in World War II, and remained in France after the war to study medicine and psychiatry Informed by his upbringing on a colonized island and his later experience as a black intellectual in France, Black Skin, White Masks exposes how the colonizer/colonized relationship both degrades the indigenous culture and imposes an alternative set of social and cultural values upon the colonized through education and language. Conceiving himself from within French culture, Fanon was able to see how the colonized subject is produced as lacking in relation to the dominant cultural group. This has the negative psychological effect of suppressing black consciousness as a way of promoting the dominant ideological position. In response to this condition Fanon saw resistance as revolutionary action. While actively involved in Algerian nationalist politics he developed his later work Studies in a Dying Colonialism (1959) and Toward the African Revolution (1964) where he formulated a revolutionary political manifesto aimed at overthrowing colonial rule. In his final work, The Wretched of the Earth, he argues for total revolution in order that the constraints of the past can be overturned and replaced by a new emancipated world. This, according to Fanon, can only be achieved by the peasantry or those under the most extreme oppression. His ideas have been widely adopted within POSTCOLONIAL THEORY.
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