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Unruly Bodies: Matthew Beaumont & Annie Olaloku-Teriba

Matthew Beaumont and Annie Olaloku-Teriba discuss the politics of struggle, power, and the body, in the context of the life and work of Frantz Fanon.

14 March 2024

Unruly Bodies: Matthew Beaumont & Annie Olaloku-Teriba

VersoBooks · Unruly Bodies | Matthew Beaumont & Annie Olaloku-Teriba


On this episode of The Verso Podcast we’re going on a deep dive into the work of the psychiatrist, political theorist, and philosopher Frantz Fanon. Our wonderful host, Eleanor Penny, sat down with Matthew Beaumont and Annie Olaloku-Teriba to discuss Fanon’s expansive legacy - touching on everything from night walkers and revolutionaries, to radical humanism and afropessimism, to decolonial psychiatry and the spatial politics of urban life.

Born in 1925 in Martinique under French colonial rule, few thinkers have had as deep an impact on how we conceive of the politics of the body as Fanon. This is often attributed in large part to the fact that much of his later thought was a product not of the relative comfort of the academy, but of the practical application of his skills as a physician and psychiatrist in anti-colonial struggle - specifically during Algeria’s War of Independence, where he served as an active member, spokesperson, and ambassador of the Algerian National Liberation Front and Provisional Government. 

Marxists, anti-colonialists, pan-Africanists, psychiatrists, and radical humanists have all drawn on his analysis of colonialism, of struggle, of power - and how they shape us as individuals. According to Fanon, fundamental parts of our most personal lives - our bodies, our health, our posture, our gait, our breath, our subconscious selves - are all shaped by our social and political context. By paying close attention to such things we might be able to learn more about how the  world is structured, for whose benefit, and perhaps how to undo some of the damage.

Annie Olaloku-Teriba is a writer, researcher and academic. She’s a Bonnart Trust Scholar working on a doctorate in Psychosocial studies at Birkbeck University. She’s an editor at Salvage Magazine, and she’s the host of Salvage Live and Black as in Revolution. Her writing has appeared widely in outlets such as Al Jazeera, Frieze Magazine, Novara Media, and Historical Materialism. 

Matthew Beaumont is a Professor of English Literature at University College London. He is the author of several books, including the Verso titles Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, The Walker: On Finding and Losing Yourself in the Modern City, and the recently released How We Walk: Frantz Fanon and the Politics of the Body.

Tune in again next week where we will be joined by Nick Bano and Beth Stratford to talk about the housing crisis, landlords and how to end the rentier economy. 

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How We Walk
You can tell a lot about people by how they walk. Matthew Beaumont argues that our standing, walking body holds the social traumas of history and its racialized inequalities. Our posture and gait r...

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