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Frantz Fanon at the End of the World? Reading Fanon's Philosophy of History

  • Author / Creator
    Balcom, Christopher D
  • This project seeks to answer two pivotal questions: How does Frantz Fanon think about history, and how might we critically apply his philosophy of history today? In answering the former, I devote the first chapter to a close reading of Fanon’s work, arguing that Fanon offers a philosophy of history that is critically concerned with the possibility of establishing a universal human history. I illustrate that Fanon understands the violence and dehumanization of anti-Black racism and colonialism as barriers to this possibility, and as such he is concerned with establishing the material conditions where a move to the universal might be ponderable. However, I argue that while we can illustrate a certain dialectical consistency in Fanon’s approach to the situations he was confronting, it is worth drawing some critical distinctions between the problems of anti-Black racism and colonialism in Fanon’s work. I take this argument further in the second chapter, where I turn to three contemporary readings of Fanon: Ato Sekyi-Otu’s Fanon’s Dialectic of Experience, Glen Coulthard’s Red Skin, White Masks, and Frank Wilderson III’s Red, White & Black. I argue that while Sekyi-Otu and Coulthard bring important critical insight to bear on Fanon’s work, they focus on the form of his dialectic at the expense of disentangling his problematics. As a useful corrective to this move, I argue that Wilderson’s grounding of Fanon in the history and afterlife of enslavement offers a way of thinking about the more intractable problems of considering universal history in Fanon’s work.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2017-11:Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3XG9FR0Q
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Political Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kellogg, Catherine (Political Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Mookerjea, Sourayan (Sociology)
    • Smith, Malinda (Political Science)
    • Kellogg, Catherine (Political Science)