Subterranean Fanon

An Underground Theory of Radical Change

Gavin Arnall

Columbia University Press

Subterranean Fanon

Pub Date: August 2020

ISBN: 9780231193658

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: August 2020

ISBN: 9780231193641

312 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $120.00£100.00

Pub Date: August 2020

ISBN: 9780231550437

312 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

Subterranean Fanon

An Underground Theory of Radical Change

Gavin Arnall

Columbia University Press

The problem of change recurs across Frantz Fanon’s writings. As a philosopher, psychiatrist, and revolutionary, Fanon was deeply committed to theorizing and instigating change in all of its facets. Change is the thread that ties together his critical dialogue with Hegel, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche and his intellectual exchange with Césaire, Kojève, and Sartre. It informs his analysis of racism and colonialism, négritude and the veil, language and culture, disalienation and decolonization, and it underpins his reflections on Martinique, Algeria, the Caribbean, Africa, the Third World, and the world at large.

Gavin Arnall traces an internal division throughout Fanon’s work between two distinct modes of thinking about change. He contends that there are two Fanons: a dominant Fanon who conceives of change as a dialectical process of becoming and a subterranean Fanon who experiments with an even more explosive underground theory of transformation. Arnall offers close readings of Fanon’s entire oeuvre, from canonical works like Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth to his psychiatric papers and recently published materials, including his play, Parallel Hands. Speaking both to scholars and to the continued vitality of Fanon’s ideas among today’s social movements, this book offers a rigorous and profoundly original engagement with Fanon that affirms his importance in the effort to bring about radical change.
Subterranean Fanon is grounded in Arnall's expertise in Fanon's writings, which he reads carefully and creatively. He develops an important argument about a central tension in Fanon's thinking between Hegelian-dialectical and Nietzschean-ruptural orientations, each of which expresses a certain kind of radical universalism. This exemplary work of scholarship should shift the ground of debate about this canonical thinker. It is also a welcome example of next-generation postcolonial and political theory. Gary Wilder, author of Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World

About the Author

Gavin Arnall is assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the translator of Emilio de Ípola’s Althusser, The Infinite Farewell (2018).