Volume 9, Issue 1, Winter 2019
Seloua Luste Boulbina, Laura Hengehold
“Sexed Space and Unveiled Gender”
Translated Excerpt from Kafka’s Monkey and Other Phantoms of Africa
In this brief excerpt from a forthcoming translation of L’Afrique et ses fantômes (2015) and Singe de Kafka (2008), Seloua Luste Boulbina shows how French opposition to the Islamic hijab, as described by Fanon, mirrored British opposition to the Indian practice of sati by claiming to defend women while really defending the interests of European men. This made it difficult, if not impossible, for women to define and assert interests of their own, apart from the perspectives imposed by politically opposed groups of men. Fanon recognized this complex silence. But Fanon also failed to read the perspective motivating the writings of fellow Martinican author, Mayotte Capécia (Lucette Ceranus Combette), which prevented him from seeing any independence in women’s capacity for interracial love and prevented him from giving a more complex psychological and political meaning to mixed ancestry.