Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Typically offered:


This course is organized around the writings of Frantz Fanon. Fanon, an anticolonial thinker, psychiatrist, and playwright, born in French-ruled Martinique in 1925, is best known for his anticolonial writings, including Black Skin, White Masks, and The Wretched of the Earth. Fanon’s influence on postcolonial studies and anticolonial struggle is also informed by his work in psychoanalysis. Alienation and Freedom (2018), which gathers together previously unpublished writings by Fanon, including plays, accounts from his work in the Blida psychiatric clinic in Algeria, and his explicitly political writings, will serve as a central text for the course. There and elsewhere, Fanon staged philosophical, anthropological, economic and literary encounters between France and its colonies, most specifically Algeria and Martinique, and more broadly between Europe and its others, and posed questions about the effects of the structures through which colonialism functioned—questions that continue to be relevant for postcolonial conditions today. Through a consideration of Fanon’s writings and those who have engaged with them, we will examine concepts of alienation, freedom, violence and difference in terms of postcolonial conditions and contemporary questions about racism and structural inequities. Over the term, we will read excerpts from Alienation and Freedom, along with other texts by Fanon and by those who informed his thinking and by those who have been informed by it, likely including Aimé Césaire, Octave Mannoni, Steve Biko, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Memmi, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Stefania Pandolfo, Omnia El Shakry, Michael Taussig, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak and Ranjana Khanna. Students will be expected to complete between 35 to 55 pages of reading per class, and will be evaluated based on participation in seminar discussion, informal written responses to the readings, a mid-term paper and a final paper that engage with the class readings.


Prior coursework in the field and with seminar discussion-based classes.

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