Violence, Slavery and Freedom between Hegel and Fanon

Hegel is most often mentioned – and not without good reason – as one of the paradigmatic exponents of Eurocentrism and racism in Western philosophy. But his thought also played a crucial and formative role in the work of one of the iconic thinkers of the ‘decolonial turn’, Frantz Fanon.

This would be inexplicable if it were not for the much-quoted ‘lord-bondsman’ dialectic – frequently referred to as the ‘master-slave dialectic’ – described in Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit. Fanon takes up this dialectic negatively in contexts of violence-riven (post-)slavery and colonialism; yet in works such as Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth he upholds a Hegelian-inspired vision of freedom.

The essays in this collection offer close readings of Hegel’s text, and of responses to it in the work of twentieth-century philosophers, that highlight the entangled history of the translations, transpositions and transformations of Hegel in the work of Fanon, and more generally in colonial, postcolonial and decolonial contexts.

Table of Contents

Preface: Hegel/Fanon: Transpositions in Translations by Ulrike Kistner and Philippe Van Haute
Introduction: Fanon’s French Hegel by Robert Bernasconi
1. Dialectics in Dispute, with Aristotle as Witness by Ato Sekyi-Otu
2. Through Alexandre Kojève’s Lens: Violence and the Dialectic of Lordship and Bondage in Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks by Philippe Van Haute
3. Reading Hegel’s Gestalten – Beyond Coloniality by Ulrike Kistner
4. Hegel’s Lord–Bondsman Dialectic and the African: A Critical Appraisal of Achille Mbembe’s Colonial Subjects by Josias Tembo
5. Struggle and Violence: Entering the Dialectic with Frantz Fanon and Simone de Beauvoir by Beata Stawarska
6. Shards of Hegel: Jean-Paul Sartre’s and Homi K. Bhabha’s Readings of The Wretched of the Earth by Reingard Nethersole

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