Fanon, Cesaire and the Martiniquais Question
Rowles, Glenn Max
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The Caribbean island of Martinique is a terribly underrepresented topic of academic inquiry. A former colony, Martinique is a currently French department?politically, economically and culturally tied to France?trading only with France, sending/voting in a deputy to their National Assembly, using the Euro (once the franc) as its form of currency, and speaking French as its official language while most of the citizens possess colonial slave ancestry. The French education system in Martinique was so strong that the task of assimilating Martinique was simple and efficient. But this same education system happened to produce radical and subversive historical actors and intellectuals who challenge France and hold some of the mot cherished places in the broader body of postcolonial theory?primarily, Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire (who represent the most noted Martinicans in the historical record). Cesaire taught Fanon on the wake of World War II and became his mentor. Fanon worked on Cesaire's political campaign for a seat in the French government. Fanon eventually leaves the island and supports the Algerian anticolonial cause, where in the country would earn its independence from France shortly after his death. Cesaire, on the other hand, remained on his native island where he worked within the French government and guided the island into departmentalization rather the independence, choosing assimilation to (rather than freedom from) France. I attempt, therefore, to rebuild a mid-twentieth century Martinican history through the life, the politics, the theories and the actions of Fanon and Cesaire.