launch of the book and a screening of the film
The Czech translation of Black Skin, White Masks is the first ever Czech translation of Frantz Fanon’s book.
The event is accompanying by a screening of the film by Isaac Julien: Franzt Fanon, Black Skin White Mask, 1996
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin White Mask (1996)
73 mins, Colour 35mm, Sound
courtesy Isaac Julien a JN Films
Interviews, reconstructions and archive footage tell the story of the life and work of the highly influential anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon, author of Black Skin, White Mask and The Wretched of the Earth and his professional life as a psychiatric doctor in Algeria during its war of independence with France.
Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask is a seventy-minute drama-documentary film Isaac Julien produced in 1996. The impetus for the film project was to restore to academic and artistic discourses a recognition of both the originality and contradictory nature of this major thinker. It was initially conceived as a reflection on the revival of interest in Fanon's ideas in black visual and performance arts. The black arts movement in Britain and North America had sought a more substantial basis for reflection on the black body and its representations. In development, the film's mandate became broader to include other aspects of Fanon's influence and legacy.'
Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was a major figure of the era in which the colonial system of the first, second and third world collapsed. His family living in Martinique was of mixed African-Indian-European origin. Fanon studied psychiatry, and also studied literature and philosophy in France (Maurice Merleau-Ponty). While living in Algeria (from 1953 he was the head physician at the Psychiatric Hospital in Blida), he actively took part in the political life as a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front.
Black Skin, White Masks, together with the Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire and Edward Said’s Orientalism, are justifiably considered as starting points for post-colonial studies. This intellectual current stemming from the anti-colonialism and anti-imperialistic struggle of those colonised for independence (and their own cultural identity) links the heritage of Western philosophy with a critique of Western colonial reason, humanism and universalism. The humanistic concept of the West in its practical and political effect on the everyday life of colonised people has become an instrument of symbolic and real inhumane behaviour and oppression.
With a suggestive and at times almost clinical coldness, Fanon analyses the function of the concept of race, national and cultural identity and colonial superiority that have a dominating influence on the evolution and make-up of the minds of colonised subjects (as well as that of their colonizers). As Henry Louis Gates touches on in his essay Critical Fanonism – Fanon serves as a form of Rorschach test – he is for philosophers, theoreticians and emancipation activists a kind of reservoir of frequently opposing ideas that they appropriate. Various readings of Fanon thus create a unique historical line within the framework of post-colonial thought.
Black Skin, White Masks is a fundamental source text in the fight against racism, since it unveils the psychological mechanisms of race segregation, which had their direct expression in the cultural, social, political and economic structures of colonial societies.
This book is still relevant not only as a theoretically critical and historical source, but also for post-Soviet “satellites”, and provides the Czech reader with a chance to view the construction of his own cultural and national identity as processes of negation and compensation between the first (West), second (East) and third world.
20.12. 2011 6 p.m.
Dittrichova 9, Praha, CZ
launch of the book
followed by a screening of the film
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin White Mask (1996) (73 mins.)
Černá kůže, bílé masky (Black Skin, White Masks)
Post-colonial Thought I
Navigation series #0008
from French orig. Peau Noire, Masques Blancs, Éditions du Seuil, 1952
translation Irena Kozelská
graphic layout Petr Babák and Lukáš Kijonka (laboratory)
192 pages, 1000 copies
published by tranzit.cz
distributed by Kosmas
the book was published with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic