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Creolizing Political TheoryReading Rousseau through Fanon$
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Jane Anna Gordon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254811

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254811.001.0001

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Decolonizing Disciplinary Methods

Decolonizing Disciplinary Methods

(p.63) 2 Decolonizing Disciplinary Methods
Creolizing Political Theory

Jane Anna Gordon

Fordham University Press

Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Frantz Fanon challenged the way that authoritative reason and disciplinary methods had contributed to the advance and normalization of colonial relations. Unlike Rousseau, however, Fanon framed himself as a man of his times and emphasized how difficult it was to reject the offerings of French modernity in a world where to be human was racialized as white. To assure that science and reason were not simply additional instruments of imperial endeavors, Fanon therefore developed creolized humanistic psychiatric practices and approaches to studying and writing about how societies and human beings could be decolonized. Driven by the imperative of disalienation, he drew on resources traditionally disparaged in fields of psychology and psychiatry that in fact advanced both. The chapter argues that although not intentionally, Fanon critically engages some of Rousseau’s core ideas through creolizing them or by revisiting their problematics in light of the contradictions of seeking mental health within colonial conditions. He does this by reemploying language, concepts, and aspirations borne of a much older European world and making them speak anew as he grappled with challenges that were fresh and familiar, distinctive and broadly shared.

Keywords:   Rousseau, Fanon, method, colonial relations, racialization, humanistic psychiatric practices, decolonization, creolizing, mental health

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