With…or Without Time: Discerning the Unforeseeable in the Work of Fanon

George Mantzios, PhD. Student in Social-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto


Centered on a textual analysis of ‘Black Skin, White Masks’ (1952), this paper attempts to discern the relationship between historical destiny and the unforeseeable in Fanon’s conceptualization of disalienation. Towards this end the analysis draws upon the work of Althusser, Raymond Williams, Bourdieu, and the Comaroffs to elaborate the processes through which power appears as the articulation of a time to the body, both the body of the normative subject and ultimately, and subversively, to the body of Fanon’s text itself. Interrogating the relationship between language, temporality, and the ethic of revolt that abides in the textual body of ‘Black Skin, White Masks’, this analysis advances a reading of the unforeseeable as the specific tense of disalienation, the ‘too early… or too late’.