Neo-colonization / De-neocolonization:
From the «Wretched of the Earth» to the Arab revolutions
Though Frantz Fanon spoke with passion and clarity, what has reverberated most in the Arabic-speaking world has been the booming echo from colonial France that he was a “prophet of violence”. Fanon certainly advocates violence in particular situations, but such a totalizing reading distorts his revolutionary scripts—which are so prophetic that they remain useful tools to this day. While in other parts of the world Fanon has been revisited in light of countless waves of revision, derision and celebration, for many in the Arabic-speaking world, his writings remain unknown.
On the 60th anniversary of the Arabic publication of The Wretched of the Earth, the editors of this collection of essays seek to re-visit Frantz Fanon’s work, in particular on neo-colonialism, racism and decolonization—without dismissing his thoughts on violence. They propose to do this by placing the post-2010s revolutions and intifadas in the region in conversation with Fanon’s ideas. In doing so we stand to learn from someone who had the courage to warn of pitfalls that he foresaw among his own allies, someone who clearly articulated what he learned from revolutionary struggles not his own, and someone whose life and thought thus blurred the validity of national boundaries. And yet, we also seek to move with Fanon beyond Fanon — for times have changed over the course of sixty years — by (re)introducing the concept of de-neocolonization. We hope such a reading will make for an engaged reflection by and for those living in any neocolonial condition, whether in the Caribbean and South American region where Fanon was born, the African continent with which Fanon engaged so deeply, the Arabic-speaking world where he placed most of his energy in his final days, or Asia where he sought alliances against the ever-present colonizer. Today, the neo-colonizers continue the legacy of those colonizers, and so today, we must once again unite against them.
We are delighted to invite contributions to an edited volume that engages with the ideas outlined above. We are particularly looking for writings from those who participated in or were deeply shaped by the Arab revolutions of recent years. We also welcome texts inspired by Fanon’s approach to writing: “In this petrified zone, not a ripple on the surface, the palm trees sway against the clouds, the waves of the sea lap against the shore, the raw materials come and go, legitimating the colonist’s presence, while more dead than alive the colonized subject crouches for ever in the same old dream…” We will look for works that use a language that is both poetic and accessible. We see this volume as part of an attempt to prepare us for the coming struggles, and seek contributions that share this vision.
If you are interested please send us a one-paragraph description (max 500 words) of your proposed contribution by February 28, 2023. Please submit your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you by mid-March if the proposal fits our publication. First drafts should be submitted by May 30th, and may be written in English, Arabic, or French.
Possible submission topics include: reflections on the revolution and uprisings in the Arab World, revisiting anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles, reflections on de-neocolonization (from the perspective of gender, race, labor, post-labor, geography, literature, etc.) Kindly help circulate this call to people you think would be interested. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are looking forward to reading your ideas!
The volume is conceptualized by Philip Rizk and will be edited collectively by him and others.
brzkh publications is a newly established publishing house connected with Barzakh Bookshop in Beirut, which features a library, café, and events space. The genres of its publications range from poetry and essays to history and anthropology, with a particular interest in progressive and marginalized voices. The house also produces and publishes online digital publications that range from long-read interactive essays to periodic magazines, and is concerned with new forms of distribution, open licensing, and multi-medium formats that include audio, video, and music records.