Seminar 9 – Fanon’s Concept of Race

For this seminar, we’ll read Bernasconi’s paper ‘The Great White Error and the Great Black Mirage: Frantz Fanon’s Critical Philosophy of Race’, which is in Nigel Gibson’s edited collection ‘Living Fanon – Global Perspectives’. I’ve emailed you all a link to the paper. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  1. What is the older, biological account of race?
  2. Can you articulate Fanon’s attitude to the concept of race? For example, did he think we should abandon it altogether?
  3. Can you explain the differences between the concepts ‘ethnicity’, ‘culture’, and ‘race’. (There are lots of different ways to understand these ideas, and you will have to look beyond Bernasconi’s paper to try and pin these down. Also think about the way that Fanon understands them.)
  4. What is the connection for Fanon between race and racism?
  5. Can you explain Fanon’s idea of the nation and national culture?
  6. Why does he think the idea of the nation is the most useful concept to employ?
  7. Do you agree with him?

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