Fanon in Scandinavia: Words and Action


This chapter maps the translations and receptions of Les Damnés de la terre and excerpts of Pour une révolution africaine in Scandinavia in the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing from the theoretical perspective of histoire croisée together with textual analysis, the objective is to understand how translation may operate in a “peripheral translation zone”. Les Damnés de la terre appeared in Swedish the year after its publication in France, to be re-translated by an explicitly Marxist translator and re-published by another more established publishing house in 1969, two years after the Danish and Norwegian translations. Looking at articles, publishing archives and interviews, the first part of the chapter seeks to explore the channels through which Fanon’s ideas were spread in Scandinavia, establishing in which contexts and to whom Fanon was important. Taking this mapping as its point of departure, the second part presents a textual analysis of the translations, focusing in particular on the rendering of Marxist vocabulary, and combining this textual analysis with an analysis of articles on Fanon in order to trace the impact of Fanon’s works on Scandinavian discourses around decolonization, racism and class-struggles. The final part explores the connections between the reception of Fanon’s works and anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles, which were particularly poignant in Sweden at the time. It is my contention that Fanon played a crucial part in the Leftist movements, in that he provided intellectuals, writers and artists with both a vocabulary and a vision to engage actively in their anti-colonial struggles.  

author Christina Kullberg

In Translating Frantz Fanon Across Continents and Languages, ed. Kathryn Batchelor and Sue-Ann Harding, 222-248. London: Routledge.

published 2017