The Sociogenetic Alienation of the Subaltern in Dostoevsky and Fanon
Despite some obvious differences, the black man's neurotic state of mind, which Fanon attributes to colonization, is strikingly similar to the split consciousness of the nineteenth-century Russian man, which Dostoevsky associates with Russia's cultural "colonization" by the West and which he so vividly describes in his novels and journalism. Both Dostoevsky and Fanon are interested in the group inferiority complex that forces the subaltern consciousness to deny the undeniable, its bio-social reality. Fanon calls this state of denial sociogenetic alienation or an existential deviation. If Fanon's black man denies his sociogeny by wearing a white mask, Dostoevsky's educated man pretends to be a European by denying his Russianness (Dostoevsky calls this type a Russian European). My presentation will focus on Dostoevsky's and Fanon's understandings of the nature and consequences of this psycho-existential pathology produced by the Manichean division into "inferior" and "superior" cultures and genetics. It will also investigate Dostoevsky's and Fanon's ideas on whether the subaltern consciousness can be "disalienated" and thus rid of its inferiority complex and on whether it is possible for the subaltern to remain free of sociogenetic alienation in the first place.
Keywords: Sociogenetic Alienation, Subaltern, Dostoevsky, Fanon
Dr. Olga Stuchebrukhov
Assistant Professor, Department of German and Russian, University of California at Davis