The Violent Origins of Psychic Trauma: Frantz Fanon's Theory of Colonial Trauma and Catherine Malabou's Concept of the New Wounded

Sujaya Dhanvantari

Abstract


This paper contends that Catherine Malabou’s concepts of cerebrality and the new wounded extend Frantz Fanon’s theory of colonial trauma to illuminate the link between violent oppression and contemporary profile of psychic disorders, as they relate to the diagnostic measure of PTSD. It begins by demonstrating colonial psychoanalyst Octave Mannoni’s failure to engage psychoanalytic theory to negate the racial theses of French colonial psychiatry. Next, it explicates Fanon’s refutation of both Mannoni’s use of the idea of dependence and his theory of social evolutionism to describe the colonial relation. In brief, Fanon critiques Mannoni for neglecting to integrate the psychic effects of colonial violence into his analysis of unconscious complexes in the colonized. Finally, this paper shows that Malabou corelates violent ruptures with the PTSD diagnosis, in order to better understand the relation between sociopolitical violence and neuropsychiatric trauma. This paper proposes that both Fanon and Malabou be mobilized to theorize the violent origins of psychic trauma.

Keywords


Fanon; Malabou; Mannoni; psychiatry; psychoanalysis; PTSD; colonialism; globalization

References


Al-Saji, Alia. 2019. “Durée.” In 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, edited by Gail Weiss, Ann V. Murphy, and Gayle Salamon, 99–106. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Al-Saji, Alia. 2020. “The Phenomenology of Frantz Fanon from Psychiatry to Politics.” April 14, 2020. PHIL 675: Seminar in Contemporary European Philosophy. Class lecture. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.

Baladier, Charles. 1997. “Avant-Propos.” In Le Racisme Revisité: Madagascar, 1947 by Octave Mannoni, 15–26. Paris: Denoël.

Bhabha, Homi K. 2004. “Foreword: Framing Fanon.” In The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, translated by Richard Philcox, vii-xli. New York: Grove Press.

Bloch, Maurice. 1990. “New Foreword.” In Prospero and Caliban: the Psychology of Colonization, translated by Pamela Powesland, v-xx. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Bryant, Richard A. 2019. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A State-of-the-Art Review of the Evidence and Challenges.” World Psychiatry: Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) 18 (3): 259–69.

Césaire, Aime. (1950) 2000. Discourse on Colonialism. Translated by Joan Pinkham. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Dhanvantari, Sujaya. 2018. “Diagnosing the Sociopolitical Wound: Frantz Fanon and Catherine Malabou.” In Thinking Catherine Malabou: Passionate Detachments, edited by Thomas Wormald and Isabell Dahms, 253–72. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield International.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s.v. “Joseph-Simon Gallieni.” Accessed July 28, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Simon-Gallieni.

Fanon, Frantz. (1952) 1967. Toward the African Revolution. Translated by Haakon Chevalier. New York: Monthly Review Press.

———. (1952) 2008. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press.

———. (1961) 2004. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press.

———. 2018. Alienation and Freedom. Edited by Jean Khalfa and Robert J.C. Young. Translated by Steven Corcoran. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Gibson, Nigel C. 2003. Fanon: The Postcolonial Imagination. Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press.

Keller, Richard C. 2007. Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Khanna, Ranjana. 2003. Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Malabou, Catherine. (2007) 2012. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Translated by Steven Miller. New York: Fordham University Press.

Mannoni, Octave. (1950) 1990. Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization. Translated by Pamela Powesland. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

———. 1966. “The Decolonisation of Myself.” Race & Class 87 (4): 327–35.

Mills, Charles. 1997. The Racial Contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

———. 2019. “Epistemological Ignorance.” In 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, edited by Gail Weiss, Ann V. Murphy, and Gayle Salamon, 107–13. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1948. Anti-Semite and Jew. Translated by George J. Becker. New York: Schocken Books.


Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2020 Sujaya Dhanvantari

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.