POLS 355 Critical Fanonism

Franz Fanon, one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, is a canonical figure in critical theory, broadly, and Black studies, postcolonial theory, political theory, critical race theory, continental philosophy and Africana philosophy, specifically. A francophone scholar, Fanon identified as black and was concerned with articulating the modern problem of white supremacy and the conditions for liberation for all people.

This course is organized around a single book he wrote, Black Skin, White Masks.  To understand what Fanon is up to in this text, we will also consider this book’s relationship to the philosophical traditions of psychoanalysis and phenomenology.  To this end, we will read texts by Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Lacan, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.  Throughout the course we will switch between two distinct but related enterprises.  On the one hand, we will try to understand how Fanon uses the specific set of psychic problems black people face and his articulation of the lived experience of the black in a white world to articulate his account of white supremacy and liberation.  And on the other hand, we will seek to understand what his psychoanalytic and phenomenological counterparts are up to in their text to discern the significance of Fanon’s work in relation to the concerns within these philosophical traditions.


4 units

Cross Listed Courses

BLST 355


POLS 101