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Film/Discussion Program Will Explore Life and Legacy of Frantz Fanon University News
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 there.

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 Studies.

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 at

For answers to specific questions, call Jonathan Judaken at 901-488-7475.

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