Frantz Fanon's Corporeal Malediction Revisited (Panel)


Global Anglophone / French and Francophone

Sarah Orsak (Rutgers University-New Brunswick)

Within Frantz Fanon's landmark text, Peau Noire, Masques Blancs [Black Skin, White Masks] (1952), one finds one of the most quoted and discussed chapters of his oeuvre: 'L’Experience vecue de l’homme noir’ [The Fact of Blackness]. A pinnacle of postcolonial critique, Fanon took up the mantle of W.E.B. Du Bois and his notion of double-consciousness and reinterpreted in the post-Freudian age. Therein Fanon discussed how black subjectivity is determined from without by a white majority that defines their blackness for them, and the psychological impact of such a condition, thus coining the term 'corporeal malediction'. While a groundbreaking text, Fanon's argument that the black man cannot exist, ontologically, separate from whiteness, was subsequently critiqued for ignoring the possibility of self-determination from within the black community as well as for ignoring the struggle of black women entirely.


This panel seeks to re-examine Fanon's concept through readings that are informed by the current sociocultural climate. Some questions that the panel hopes to address, among others:
- What is relevance of corporeal malediction to modern life (from Trump to Black Lives Matter and everything in between)?
- What is the relevance of corporeal malediction to current debates in academia (from postcolonialism, critical race theory and others)?
- To what extent do authors and academics continue to engage with Fanon's concept?
- How is corporeal malediction manifested in literature, the arts, media and day-to-day life, and what conclusions can one draw from these?


Prospective panelists are invited to submit a 250-300 word abstract and short bio through the NeMLA portal.

This panel seeks to re-examine Frantz Fanon's concept of corporeal malediction through readings that are informed by the current sociocultural climate.