As the French title suggests, L’An Cinq (published in English as A Dying Colonialism ) is Fanon’s first-hand account of how the Algerian people mobilized themselves into a revolutionary fighting force and repelled the French colonial government. The lessons that other aspiring revolutionary movements can learn from Fanon’s presentation of the FLN ’s strategies and tactics are embedded in their particular Algerian context, but nonetheless evidently adaptable. In addition to describing the FLN ’s strategic adoption of French as the language of communication with its sympathetic civilian population, Fanon also traces the interplay of ideological and pragmatic choices they made about communications technology. Once the French started suppressing newspapers, the FLN had to rethink their standing boycott of radios, which they had previously denounced as the colonizer’s technology. This led to the creation of a nationalist radio station, the Voice of Fighting Algeria , that now challenged colonial propaganda with what Fanon described as “the first words of the nation.” Another of the fundamental challenges they issued to the colonial world of division and hierarchy was the radically inclusive statement the provisional government made that all people living in Algeria would be considered citizens of the new nation. This was a bold contestation of European imperialism on the model of Haiti’s first constitution (1805), which attempted to break down hierarchies of social privilege based on skin color by declaring that all Haitian citizens would be considered black. Both the Algerian and Haitian declarations are powerful decolonizing moves because they undermine the very Manichean structure that Fanon identifies as the foundation of the colonial world.
It might be contended, of course, that the attitude to the African in Heart of Darkness is not Conrad's but that of his fictional narrator, Marlow, and that far from endorsing it Conrad might indeed be holding it up to irony and criticism. Certainly Conrad appears to go to considerable pains to set up layers of insulation between himself and the moral universe of his history. He has, for example, a narrator behind a narrator. The primary narrator is Marlow but his account is given to us through the filter of a second, shadowy person. But if Conrad's intention is to draw a cordon sanitaire between himself and the moral and psychological malaise of his narrator his care seems to me totally wasted because he neglects to hint however subtly or tentatively at an alternative frame of reference by which we may judge the actions and opinions of his characters. It would not have been beyond Conrad's power to make that provision if he had thought it necessary. Marlow seems to me to enjoy Conrad's complete confidence -- a feeling reinforced by the close similarities between their two careers.
The Association welcomes submissions for both the Douglas Johnson and Brian Darling Memorial Prizes which deal with any aspect of the Association's scope (French history, politics, culture, society, literature, thought, film since 1789). For 2015, we received a record number of submissions for both prizes, reflecting the outstanding teaching, learning and research conducted in the area of French Studies at universities across the UK. Essay submissions likewise demonstrated the range of areas which come under the Association's remit: we received essays and dissertations examining history, politics, literature and thought, many of which were interdisciplinary and comprised empirical and theoretical approaches. A summary of the broad areas covered by submissions to the 2015 prizes is below: