Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Patrick Crowley
International Journal of Francophone Studies
Memmi and Béji: Decolonization and the Place of the ‘Human’ within ‘Humanism'
Optional Fields
Albert Memmi - Hélé Béji - Frantz Fanon - humanism – decolonization - Tunisia

Since the 1950s and the period of decolonization, intellectuals in the Francophone world have addressed the legacy of humanism. Frantz Fanon, amongst others, wrote on the the possibilities of a new humanism and of ‘new man’ in a decolonized world. This humanism to be constructed, this humanism to come, was faced with the difficulty of how to negotiate the legacy of the European tradition of humanism and the conceptually constructed tension between particularizing experiences deemed proper to cultures outside of Europe and a notion of the universal which, while an abstraction, was also characteristically French. In examining works by two Tunisian intellectuals — Albert Memmi and Hélé Béji — this article analyses what they try to do with the term ‘humanism’. It is clear that both intellectuals advocate a better world and an end to human suffering but their principal weapon — humanism — lacks sharpness and the kind of political edge (dialectical) which characterized Fanon’s notion of ‘new humanism’. 

Grant Details