In chapter four of his Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks) (1952), Frantz Fanon criticizes Octave Mannoni's Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization (1950). This article argues that Mannoni's book presents a more cogent examination of European colonization than either Fanon or most subsequent critics suggest. A result of Mannoni's explorations in psychoanalysis after twenty years of residence and work as a colonial functionary in French controlled Madagascar, his book needs to be read as a critique of European colonialism. Although he is best known for his application of the terms "dependency" and "inferiority" to the consideration of the effects of colonization on its victims, I argue that Mannoni's more meaningful premise is that colonization can be described and understood as a process of psychological projection--that it is the European, who goes forth seeking compensation for the "inferiority complex" that accompanies the struggle of the autonomous individual typical of modern European society and who then "projects" his desires and fears on the people he colonizes. This results in relationships that lead to the racism, exploitation, and violence that characterize colonization. This article examines this premise while responding to and reconsidering Fanon's, and others', readings of Mannoni's book.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.