(Article) Lucie Mercier, The Translatability of Experience: On Fanon’s Language Puzzle

Fanon considered that colonial alienation produced multiple forms of relational pathologies, many of which expressed themselves in and through blockages in communication rather than through explicit conflict. Exposing the role of language as a vector of racial violence and colonial oppression, Fanon also presented it as a potentially revolutionary medium of decolonization. The article has two aims: firstly, to give an account of Fanon’s ongoing concern with language, in part by underscoring three very different influences in Fanon’s expansive conception of its role—those of Aimé Césaire, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and François Tosquelles. Secondly, the article aims to rearticulate the function of language in Fanon’s theory of colonial disalienation by drawing on a specific trajectory in his clinico-political thought: from diagnoses of untranslatability or incommunicability to analyses of decolonization as the radical transformation of the subject’s experience of language.

Full article here.