For release: August 23, 2010
For press information, contact Jonathan Judaken, 901-488-7475
The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities at University of Memphis will present
a film screening and discussion, “Frantz Fanon: His Life, His Struggle, His Work,”
Wednesday, Sept. 1, in the University Center Bluff Room. A reception will begin at
6 p.m., followed by the 52-minute film, brief presentations by Wanda Rushing (sociology),
Shelby Crosby (English), and Matthew Lexow (philosophy), and a discussion on Fanon’s
life and the legacy.
The program is free and open to the public.
The film Frantz Fanon, His Life, His Struggle, His Work features testimonies of friends, family, and colleagues, and traces the short and
intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.
Fanon, a psychiatrist originally from Martinique, became a spokesman for the Algerian
revolution against French colonialism and one of the leading decolonial thinkers in
the era of national liberation struggles. During World War II, he volunteered as a
soldier with the French army but eventually became embittered by the racism he experienced
Fanon gravitated to radical politics, the philosophy of black consciousness known
as negritude, and inspired by Sartrean existentialism, he emerged as one of the leading
voices articulating a critical philosophy of race. These influences came together
in his classic 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks, which offers a penetrating analysis of racism and the ways in which it is internalized
by its victims.
While secretly aiding the rebels of the Algerian anti-colonial war as a doctor, Fanon
cared for victims on both sides. The case notes he produced shed invaluable light
on the psychic traumas of colonial conflict.
Expelled from Algeria in 1956, Fanon moved to Tunis, where he wrote for the rebel
newspaper El Moudjahid, founded Africa’s first psychiatric clinic, and wrote several influential books about
decolonization. The most important of these was The Wretched of the Earth, the blueprint for radical anti-colonial struggles and a major tract for the global
black power movement.
The Fanon program will open a series of discussions hosted by MOCH during this academic
year, leading to a celebration in February 2011 of the 50th anniversary of the publication
of The Wretched of the Earth.
The event is co-sponsored by the Scholars in Critical Race Studies under the auspices
of the Hooks Institute for Social Change, with support from African and African-American
Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage or in the Southern Avenue parking lot.
More information about the programs of the Marcus W. Orr Center is available online
For answers to specific questions, call Jonathan Judaken at 901-488-7475.