Felix Bahret: Sourcing Comfort, or, the Fetish-Fetish: Frantz Fanon’s Unmasking of the White Psyche


Thesis Advisor: Ana Teixeira Pinto

August 2022


This paper attempts to read Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonial critique of psychoanalysis as a way to make sense of how discourses about sexuality have historically been implicated in sublimating and disavowing racism. Guided by the figure of the fetish and its recurring discourses (Rosalind Morris), I am suggesting that in the theories about sexuality put forward by Freud, Lacan, and Foucault, Antiblackness takes the form of three distinct instances of disavowal and fetishization: that of the family and the access to white citizenship obtained through it, that of sexual difference as predetermined by evolutionary thought, and that of the law, and how the juridical aparatus is conceptualized by liberalism. If “racial fetishism,” as David Marriott, drawing on Fanon, suggests, lays bare the collapse of both Freudian and Marxian models of the fetish, it is thanks to Alexander Weheliye’s notion of an “outside of theory” that these displacements can be understood in the case of Foucault. But aware that any application of the fetish-diagnostic will run the risk of repeating its racially motivated presumptions, I am turning to Sylvia Wynter’s concept of indigenization, developed in Black Metamorphosis, to counter what I perceive as “self-nativization” professed by French post-war thinkers.