JBSP Online: David Mitchell on Sartre and Fanon

journal update

David Mitchell’s essay for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, published online in advance of the paper edition.

David Mitchell – ‘Sartre and Fanon: The Phenomenological Problem of Shame and the Experience of Race’: JBSP Special Edition Capital, Sex and Africa (Originally published online: 28 February 2020).

Abstract: This paper argues that existing accounts of shame are incomplete in so far as they don’t take account of the problem of shame. This is the problem concerning the possibility of a primary experience of shame. It is the problem Sartre considers under the terms of a “primitive shame” or shame “in its primary structure” that grounds other more complex experiences of shame. This problem is centred on the tension between shame as an immediate, pre-reflective experience and the requirement that shame must involve an awareness of some definitive aspect of the self. I’m going to suggest, correlatively, how by trying to resolve this problem we end up with a more nuanced understanding of shame. In the second part of the paper, I go on to look at how this new interpretation of shame helps us understand race. Looking at Fanon, I explore how a fundamental and overlooked ineffability in our relation to others impacts upon responses to racialized shame.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2020.1732577

David Mitchell, Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Reminder: The call for papers is now open for the British Society for Phenomenology’s 2020 Annual Conference: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’, co-sponsored with Egenis at the University of Exeter and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. The conference is to be held in Exeter, UK, from Thursday 3 – Saturday 5 September 2020.  For more details – including keynote speakers – see the BSP 2020 annual conference homepage. Also see BSP Events and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates.