I bring these two together (Fanon’s critique of a narrow nationalism, and Glissant’s vision for a composite community) because they ground themselves on alternative ways of thinking about human relationality. In these alternatives, I find a meaning of national community (and nationalism, more generally) that merits the attention of not only scholars of the human condition, but of citizens of a world that is, in the words of Paul Gilroy, “increasingly divided but also convergent”.

The Composite Community -Thinking Through Fanon's Critique of a Narrow Nationalism

Critical Philosophy of Race
VOL 6, NO. I, 2018
Copyright© 2018 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

by Kris Sealey, 2018

Abstract This article presents Édouard Glissant’s account of a composite community as an articulation of Frantz Fanon’s alternative, de-colonial conception of the nation. It shows that, subsequent to Fanon’s critique of the xenophobia and racism of a narrow nation­alism (found in The Wretched of theE arth), we are left with a concep­tion of a national consciousness that registers with what Glissant names, in Poetics of Relation, a composite community in relation. Both accounts ground community in a foundation of difference, process and dynamism, all of which is carried into a collective iden­tity, without the reductive homogenizing practices of most nation­ building endeavors. As such, the article argues that Glissant’s work is positioned to underscore what, in Fanon’s understanding of national culture, is meant to protect the living dynamism of a people from a chauvinistic ultra-nationalism. Similarly, the work of The Wretched of the Earth can be used to take Glissant’s alternative political ontology into the arena of thinking the nation otherwise.

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