Co-sponsored by Africana Studies GroupMiddle Eastern Studies Organization and The Graduate Center General Assembly


What can postcolonial criticism offer to the popular uprisings of our moment? My focus will be upon those popular uprisings that have collectively become known as the “Arab Spring,” but insofar as these uprisings have inspired and provided concrete models of resistance for popular movements elsewhere, including the #Occupy movements in the United States, I think this analysis can be extended as part of a general set of questions for cultural critics today. This presentation comes out of my ongoing engagement with the work of Frantz Fanon, focusing on a particular set of lessons about solidarity that can emerge from a reading of Fanon, specifically a re-thinking of solidarity along other than national lines. Between the past (Fanon’s commitment to Algeria) and the future (the emerging revolutions of the Middle East), I would suggest, comes our opportunity to forge new conceptions of solidarity in the present. Postcolonial criticism has an important role to play in imagining and bringing into existence these new forms of solidarity; what would be necessary is a criticism directly informed by its political desires, and a revolutionary cultural politics that can do justice to the revolutions of our contemporary moment. What I will attempt to gesture towards in this talk is the positive vision of criticism as affirmation, not of the present, but of a vision of the new that might come into existence as a result of the uprisings of our time.

Speaker Bio:

Anthony Alessandrini is an associate professor of English at Kingsborough Community College-City University of New York in Brooklyn, and an affiliate faculty member of the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently a Mid-Career Faculty Fellow at The Committee on Globalization and Social Change. He is the editor of Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives, and has recently published or forthcoming articles in Arab Studies Journal, Foucault Studies, Journal of Arabic Literature, Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, The Journal of Pan African Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Reconstruction. His book We Must Find Something Different: Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics will be published in 2012. He is a co-editor of Jadaliyya Ezine, an online publication focusing on the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

Questions? Email Fiona Lee at fiona.lee [at]

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