Frantz Fanon, Psychiatry and Politics

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Rowman & Littlefield, Sep 25, 2017 - Philosophy - 322 pages
The revolutionary and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon was a foundational figure in postcolonial and decolonial thought and practice, yet his psychiatric work still has only been studied peripherally. That is in part because most of his psychiatric writings have remained untranslated. With a focus on Fanon’s key psychiatry texts, Frantz Fanon: Psychiatry and Politics considers Fanon’s psychiatic writings as materials anticipating as well as accompanying Fanon’s better known work, written between 1952 and 1961 (Black Skin, White Masks, A Dying Colonialism, Toward the African Revolution, The Wretched of the Earth). Both clinical and political, they draw on another notion of psychiatry that intersects history, ethnology, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. The authors argue that Fanon’s work inaugurates a critical ethnopsychiatry based on a new concept of culture (anchored to historical events, particular situations, and lived experience) and on the relationship between the psychological and the cultural. Thus, Gibson and Beneduce contend that Fanon’s psychiatric writings also express Fanon’s wish, as he puts it in The Wretched of the Earth, to “develop a new way of thinking, not only for us but for humanity.”


Chapter One The Thoughts of a Young Psychiatrist on Race Madness and the Human Condition
Chapter Two The Political Phenomenology of the Body and Black Alienation
Chapter Three Colonial Psychiatry and the Birth of a Critical Ethnopsychiatry
A Semiotics of Colonial Experience
Sociotherapy Its Strengths and Weaknesses
Fanon Joins the FLN
Body and Mind in Context
Chapter Eight The Tunis Psychiatric Day Hospital
The Consequences of Colonial War
Chapter Ten From Colonial to Postcolonial Disorders or the Psychic Life of History
A Note on Translating Frantz Fanon

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About the author (2017)

Roberto Beneduce is Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Turin. He is the founding director of the Frantz Fanon Center in Turin. His recent publications include a collection of Fanon’s psychiatric writings in Italian, Decolonizzare la follia. Scritti sulla psichiatria coloniale (2011), and L'histoire au corps (Embodying History) (2016). In 2016 he edited a special issue of the journal Politique Africaine, "Mobilzer Fanon".

Nigel C. Gibson is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Studies at Emerson College. He is author of Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination (2003) and Fanonian Practices in South Africa (2014), and the editor of Rethinking Fanon (1999) and Living Fanon (2011). He is the editor of the Journal of Asian and African Studies.

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