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Wits University Press

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“In the Hands of Lewis Gordon, What Fanon Said Becomes what Frantz Fanon Says to Us Today” – Ngugi wa Thiong’o

What Fanon SaidWits Press is proud to present an important new book by Lewis Gordon, What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to his Life and Thought:

Antiblack racism avows reason is white while emotion, and thus supposedly unreason, is black. Challenging academic adherence to this notion, Lewis R Gordon offers a portrait of Martinican-turned-Algerian revolutionary psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon as an exemplar of “living thought” against forms of reason marked by colonialism and racism.

Fanon was a political radical concerned with the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization. He is best known for his books The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks. Working from his own translations of the original French texts, Gordon critically engages everything in Fanon from dialectics, ethics, existentialism, and humanism to philosophical anthropology, phenomenology, and political theory as well as psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

Gordon takes into account scholars from across the Global South to address controversies around Fanon’s writings on gender and sexuality as well as political violence and the social underclass. In doing so, he confronts the replication of a colonial and racist geography of reason, allowing theorists from the Global South to emerge as interlocutors alongside northern ones in a move that exemplifies what, Gordon argues, Fanon represented in his plea to establish newer and healthier human relationships beyond colonial paradigms.

“In the hands of Lewis Gordon, What Fanon Said becomes what Frantz Fanon says to us today. The book brings alive the revolutionary thought and practice of Fanon into the continuing struggles for structural economic, political, social and psychic transformations of our world. The struggle against anti-black racism is an integral part of it and Gordon’s Fanon is the many-sided thinker who saw it all and gave it words of fire.” — Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Author of Wizard of the Crow

“Gordon allows us to read Fanon in new and different ways, contextualizing his thought in a wide arc of knowledge—from St. Augustine and traditional Akan philosophy to contemporaries such as De Beauvoir, Sartre, and Senghor, to more recent continental philosophers. Along the way, Gordon incorporates relevant debates from contemporary theoretical movements such as critical race theory. What Fanon Said is a provocative and illuminating study.” — Abdul R Jan Mohamed, University of California

Contents

Preface, with Acknowledgments
Foreword by Sonia Dayan-Hezbrun
Introduction On What a Great Thinker Said
Chapter 1 “I Am from Martinique”
Chapter 2 Writing through the Zone of Nonbeing
Chapter 3 Living Experience
Chapter 4 Revolutionary Therapy
Chapter 5 Counseling the Damned
Conclusion Requiem for the Messenger
Afterword by Drucilla Cornell

About the author

Lewis R Gordon is Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs; European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France; and Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa. His books include Existentia Africana; Disciplinary Decadence; An Introduction to Africana Philosophy; and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age.

Book details

 

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