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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Frantz Fanon's ambivalence towards religion
Author:Settler, Frederico
Periodical:Journal for the Study of Religion (ISSN 1011-7601)
Geographic terms:Africa
African religions
About person:Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)ISNI
Abstract:Frantz Fanon has for more than fifty years been a celebrated theorist, intellectual and activist of the black struggle for recognition, to the degree that he has assumed the status of a 'sacred cow' in African nationalist discourse. Without seeking to raise the significance of religion in Fanon's thinking, the author uses a critical, postcolonial literary reading of Fanon texts to critique his conception of religion. Although Fanon regarded Catholicism and Islam as orthodox religions that deprived the colonized of their dignity, he referred to them as the 'great revealed religions.' Fanon's writing reflects a particular ambivalence towards indigenous religions, in the Caribbean and Africa, which he regarded as primitive, terrifying and pre-modern - always depriving the colonized of the gains of modernity. His reflections on indigenous religion are less considered and more visceral. He describes these traditions as irrational and more terrifying than the colonial settler. Ultimately his ambivalence towards religions leaves Fanon unable to expel colonial representations of the black as superstitious, primitive and child-like from his theories of transformation. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]