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Frantz Fanon


Call for Participants: Is Fanon Finished?

30-31 March 2012

The American University of Paris invites proposals for a two-day interdisciplinary conference that aims to gather critical and experimental ‘translations’ of Fanon’s ideas into the present.

This is a conference organized by the Master of Arts in Cultural Translation Program at AUP with the support of Academic Affairs, the Master of Arts in Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, the Master of Arts in Global Communications Program and the Master of Arts in International Affairs Program.

This year, the 50th anniversary of his death and of the publication of The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon’s life, work and contemporary relevance have been widely discussed. The proliferation of celebrations, conferences, exhibitions and publications in itself expresses an apparent necessity: we must understand where we stand on Fanon if we are to grasp our present. To some he constitutes the archetypal ‘Black Atlantic’ subject, one of the first to articulate the effects of colonialism and racism on occupied peoples; to others, he is an advocate of violence as the only means for those subjugated to gain psychical and territorial independence. To all, it appears he is a figure with whom we must reckon. Yet the modes of commemoration and tribute run the risk of monumentalizing Fanon’s contribution, packaging and parking it in a suspended moment in time.

What is it exactly that we want to hear Fanon say? How does his work resonate through contemporary events, objects or circumstances? Starting from the understanding that extensive work has been done recently to articulate and place his writing and practice as psychiatrist, black revolutionary and anti-colonial theorist, we would like to focus here on ‘testing’ his ideas against the present. What is translatable and what must be discarded? As a writer thoroughly ensconced in his own context, is there anything to actualize from his praxis? His multiple geographies (Martinique, France, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana), his anticipation of the problems faced by postcolonial states, and his configuration of a universal free subject, tend to speak more easily across the half century that divides him from us than do his normative views of sexuality or his conception of a future that could only come from a violent breaking with the past. But have we really finished following through his lines of thought?

In the spirit of his praxis as keen observer of and actor in the present, we would like to invite speakers to focus on a specific aspect of Fanon’s work that traverses their own work and context, be it academic, artistic, activist, or a mix of the three. How do Fanonian themes help clarify, or instead obscure, a sense of our own situatedness in the present?

We aim to organize this conference as a series of panels that open out onto discussion and debate amongst speakers, and with active participation from our graduate students here at AUP.

We invite speakers to address issues related, but not limited, to the following themes:

–       The Arab Revolutions and non-violence
–       Fanon as writer and witness: speaking for the other(s)
–       Imagining a non-Eurocentric universality
–       Rethinking African nation-states or a default panafricanism
–       Urban cities of the Global South: locating agency
–       France and Algeria: 50th anniversary of independence
–       Applying a Fanonian method to contemporary forms of cultural resistance
–       “Fortress France” or the metropolis occupied by the ex-colonies
–       Palestine as last colonized territory
–       The Occupy movements as inspired by a South to North circulation of ideas
–       The effectiveness of violence as an engine of political change
–       Why teach Fanon today?

Please send an abstract (350 words) and a short biography to no later than 1 February 2012. Registration is free.

Organizing Committee: Sousan Hammad, and Lisa Damon

For enquiries, contact:




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