Achille Mbembe, Frantz Fanon & the Politics of Viscerality

April 27, 2016
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Delivered as the keynote for the Frantz Fanon, Louis Mars, & New Directions in Comparative Psychiatry Workshop (April 26-27, 2016), this lecture by philosopher Achille Mbembe takes up the present and future of political thought in the global south. Reflecting on the recent uptake of Frantz Fanon in political movements in South Africa and elsewhere, this lecture examines the bifurcated nature of most critical comments on Fanon’s work. The latter has been often read as if the relationship between the political and the psychiatric was almost non-existent, or at best tangential. Using the category of viscerality, the talk attempts to reconnect and reconcile the two major bodies of his work and show when the clinical and the political are co-constitutive and when they are not. The lecture also teases out the implications of this dialectic in terms of how we might understand our current predicament.