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Abstract

This Special (Summer 2007) Issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes the proceedings of the fourth annual Social Theory Forum (STF), held on March 27-28, 2007, at UMass Boston. The theme of the conference was “The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global: Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation.”

Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), the revolutionary Martinique-born French psychiatrist, thinker, and activist—and author of the classics Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961)—spent a significant part of his short life understanding the nature of colonialism and racism and their effects on the indigenous cultures of the colonizers and the colonized, and their psyche. Colonialism and racism do not stop at one’s skin, he observed, but penetrate the deepest recesses of one’s psyche regardless of where one stands on the colonial and racial lines. Equipped also with insights into how the oppressed have historically resisted and challenged the cultural and psychological effects of colonialism and racism, Fanon prescribed courses of action involving psychological and socio-political education and activism through writing and participation in liberatory movements (especially in the Algerian context)—approaches that have informed the tumultuous decades of debates following his passing and still inspire scholars and activists alike to simultaneously combine inner and global inquiries into the nature of oppression and liberation.

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