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On Albert Memmi

Adam Shatz, 13 August 2020

... In​ 1957, Albert Memmi published a slender but explosive book, Portrait du colonisé précédé de Portrait du colonisateur, later translated as The Coloniser and the Colonised. Memmi was a Jew from Tunisia; he was in his late thirties and firmly on the left. At the time of publication, France had entered the fourth year of an undeclared war against nationalist insurgents in Algeria; it had lost its imperial foothold in Indochina in 1954 and was now determined to hang on to its possessions in Africa ...


Megan Vaughan: Colonial Psychology, 23 March 2006

The Coloniser and the Colonised 
by Albert Memmi, translated by Howard Greenfield.
Earthscan, 197 pp., £12.95, October 2003, 1 84407 040 9
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... Is there a distinct social psychology of colonialism? Albert Memmi certainly thought so when he published The Coloniser and the Colonised in 1957. He was not the only one. Octave Mannoni’s Prospero and Caliban had appeared in 1950, and Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks in 1952. And while Memmi had mixed feelings about Fanon, and Fanon had bitterly attacked Mannoni for his theory of colonial dependency, they shared an emphasis on the colonial relation which implied an attention to the mind of the coloniser as well as to the predicament of the colonised ...

Breath of Unreason

Megan Vaughan: Fanon’s Psychiatric Hospital, 31 July 2008

Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa 
by Richard Keller.
Chicago, 294 pp., £16, June 2007, 978 0 226 42973 1
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... revolutionaries alike. Both Fanon in Black Skins, White Masks, published in 1952, and Albert Memmi in The Coloniser and The Colonised, which appeared five years later, come close to arguing that colonialism as practised in French North Africa was itself ‘mad’ and drove its subjects mad. Early French advocates of assimilation believed that ...

Where Life Is Seized

Adam Shatz: Frantz Fanon’s Revolution, 19 January 2017

Écrits sur l’aliénation et la liberté 
by Frantz Fanon, edited by Robert Young and Jean Khalfa.
La Découverte, 688 pp., £22, October 2015, 978 2 7071 8638 6
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... as an inherently violent process, a zero-sum struggle between coloniser and colonised. Albert Memmi, a Tunisian-Jewish psychologist, had made a similar argument in his Portrait du colonisé, published in 1957 with a preface by Sartre. But Fanon dramatised it with unprecedented force. Europe, he writes, ‘is literally the creation of the Third ...

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