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The Logician of Madness: Fanon's Lacan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-237
JournalParagraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory
Issue number2

King's Authors


In recent years, commentators have begun to re-examine the proximity of Frantz Fanon's and Jacques Lacan's work — a proximity which has traditionally been underappreciated. This article adds to these voices, demonstrating the reciprocal intellectual relationship between these two figures. It develops five interrelated arguments to chart this proximity. First, it emphasizes Lacan's and Fanon's connections through their ontological perspectives on madness. Second, it arbitrates the two theorists’ criticisms of the limits of Western psychoanalysis. Third, it shows the importance placed by both on social structures in determining mental illnesses. Next, it demonstrates the centrality of their common understanding of psychosis. Finally, it argues that Lacan's argument in The Sinthome concerning the colonizer's power is inherited from Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks — itself influenced by Lacan's early theory of language. The article does not attempt to cast Fanon as an apprentice Lacanian but rather to argue that reciprocity helped shape both oeuvres.

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