The Frantz Fanon Foundation and
Rutgers Advanced Institute of Critical Caribbean Studies present
the 3rd Rencontres of the Frantz Fanon Foundation
“Frantz Fanon, Decoloniality, and the Spirit of Bandung”
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
November 17-18, 2018
The despised, the insulted, the hurt, the dispossessed — in short, the underdogs of the human race were meeting. Here were class and racial and religious consciousness on a global scale. Who have thought of organizing such a meeting? And what had these nations in common? Nothing, it seemed to me, but what their past relationship to the Western world had made them feel. This meeting of the rejected was in itself a kind of judgment upon the Western world!–Richard Wright
So, my brothers, how could we fail to understand that we have better things to do than follow in that Europe’s footsteps? This Europe, which never stopped talking of man, which never stopped proclaiming its sole concern was man, we now know the price of suffering humanity has paid for every one of its spiritual victories. Comrades, the European game is finally over, we must look for something else. We can do anything today provided we do not ape Europe, provided we are not obsessed with catching up with Europe.–Frantz Fanon
The Frantz Fanon Foundation is thrilled to announce its 3rd Rencontres and its theme: “Fanon, Decoloniality, and the Spirit of Bandung.” The 3rd Rencontres are hosted by the Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies on Nov. 17-18, 2018 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick (USA). We particularly welcome students, faculty, independent researchers, artists, health care providers, community organizers and everyone interested in the major themes of the event.
For the last ten years, the Frantz Fanon Foundation has explored the connection between Fanon’s work and the unfinished project of decolonization in dialogue with a large number of scholars and activists across the global north and south. The Bandung Conference of 1955 has been an important reference in the Foundation’s path, and the Spirit of Bandung has remained a profound and compelling inspiration.
The Rutgers Advanced Institute of Critical Caribbean Studies, and, particularly, its Decoloniality Cluster, is proud to lead the organizational efforts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick to host this international encounter. The Institute has served as a link between the Frantz Fanon Foundation, which is an international organization, the Rutgers, New Brunswick campus, and regional and local spaces such as the Lazos Community Center in Downtown New Brunswick.
The Rencontres will count with the participation of scholars, artists, and organizers who will not only share their cutting-edge work with each other and all the attendees, but who will inform decolonization projects taking place locally. These projects advance the decolonization of knowledge, critical theory, the human sciences, civic engagement, medical practice, aesthetics, and other areas of knowledge production and creative activity.
Why decoloniality and why Bandung?
The Bandung Conference convened multiple countries from Africa and Asia to identify strategies of cooperation in the effort to escape the binary options of capitalism and communism in the emerging context of the Cold War. More than only a political event, the Bandung Conference was the expression of a spirit of decolonization born out of a confrontation with what Fanon referred to as the spirit of the project of European modernity—a spirit “built on strange foundations,” as well as, most importantly, even with its limits and contradictions, an extension of the decolonial turn found in myriad struggles against modern dehumanization.
Fanon, Caribbean by birth, who wrote about race and colonialism in his native Martinique, and who died as a militant and a theorist in the Algerian war for decolonization, advocated for cooperation and unity among African countries. He also rejected the idea that colonized peoples had to choose pre-existing political formulas and economic arrangements. He argued that the colonized had to assume the challenge of working together to oppose colonization and in that process formulate new ideas of humanity. He referred to this process as decolonization.
Today we are witnessing a resurgence of attention to decolonization and to decoloniality in scholarship, artistic work, and activism, as well as a significant degree of attention to the Bandung Spirit in edited collections such as Quỳnh N. Pham and Robbie Shilliam’s Meanings of Bandung: Postcolonial Orders and Decolonial Visions (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016) and Luis Eslava, Luis, Michael Fakhri, and Vasuki Nesiah’s Bandung, Global History and International Law: Critical Paths and Pending Futures (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Major monographs on Fanon’s work are also being published, along with Fanon’s own previously unpublished writings collected in the volume Alienation and Freedom (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). Not least important is the event “Bandung of the North: Towards a Decolonial International,” which “takes up the issues of people of colour who are living in the Global North to discuss matters of common concern” (http://bandungdunord.webflow.io/en).
In this context, the Frantz Fanon Foundation wishes to pay attention to two interconnected set of ideas, practices, and projects through the theme “Fanon, Decoloniality, and the Spirit of Bandung”:
(a) the continued relevance of the project of non-alignment with and non-assimilation to modern/colonial forms of power, knowledge, representations, discourse, notions of citizenship and belonging, including racialization, capitalism, neoliberalism, multicultural liberalism, heteronormativity, and neo-racist conservatisms, among other hegemonic formations that produce and reproduce enduring and systematic patterns of, not just domination and exploitation, but also dehumanization, and
(b) the multiple strategies and efforts to maintain and create new communities of struggle and coalitions that seek to decolonize existing relations of power, knowledge, discourses, identity formations, and geopolitical imaginaries, and/or to promote non-colonizing practices of survival and flourishing through enactments of multiple forms of relationality, border crossing activities, and oppositional and coalitional consciousness, among other forms of decolonial activity.
We are particularly interested in projects of decoloniality that pay attention to these various imperatives.