One of the major reasons that we’re starting AARB Club is that largely, there’s a lot of resistance in our postcolonial theory class to the really hard topics — ones that make us as people in the Western academy come face-to-face with issues of privilege and violence our predecessors have historically tried to sweep under the rug. The act of denying, ignoring, or decrying liberation violence is a common reaction by (predominantly) white Western academe to de-fang liberation: because to recognize the kinds of violence in works of writers like Frantz Fanon is to recognize the history of violence visited on formerly colonized people, past and present.

I suppose it goes without saying that it’s frustrating to see that go on. On the other hand, I think it’s also something kind of fun to navigate. I’ve resolved to start calling people out on their willful ignorance of violence as a central aspect of liberation theory, and of postcolonial theory as a whole. And hopefully AARB Club will equip us a little better to address these things.

I kind of want to invite Jennifer Wenzel, our professor, to AARB Club. Mostly because I think she’d be relieved to see us dealing with these issues she’s trying to push in class, without the same level of resistance she gets there. Also, The Wretched of the Earth is a hard book and it might be nice to have her around to share her thoughts with us.

I have been enormously impressed at her ability to handle the conversations we’ve been having in class, diffusing potential explosive situations and all-around steering us, without our explicit knowledge, where she wants us to go. She is great at mediating conflict and she knows how to frame things in ways that are challenging, but don’t provoke severe reactions from people. I appreciate that she is trying to get the class to come to terms with violence — and the violence of colonialism — and it’s too bad she’s getting so much resistance.

The more I read of Fanon the more I find common threads with the way I think about gender liberation. I think that The Wretched of the Earth is going to be a great stylistic and thematic model for my book. In fact, much of what we’ve been reading lately has resonated with me in this way. Cesaire’s Discourse on Colonialism is similar, too. This makes me extra-excited about working on my book: I’ve discovered a rhetorical tradition that I fit into pretty squarely. This class was such a good choice.

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