Author Archives: Lindsey Green-Simms
So if your read the epigraph to the novel you notice that the title is taken from Jean-Paul Sartre’s introduction to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961). Here’s the full quote: “The status of the ‘native’ is a nervous condition introduced and maintained by the settler among colonized people with their consent.”
Fanon is probably one of the most important anti-colonial thinkers of his time. He was born in Martinique, studied medicine and psychiatry in France, worked as a psychiatrist in Algeria, and joined the Algerian independence struggle. He wrote about the psychological conditions of colonized peoples and argued that violence, in the colonial situation, was not simply physical violence but structural and institutional violence that had a negative impact on the psyches of colonized peoples.
Think about the quote above and how it relates to the novel Nervous Conditions. What do you think the part about consent is doing in there? How does this quote enable us to think about the novel in terms of the structural and institutional violence that Fanon is talking about? This is where we’ll begin our discussion tomorrow.
Also, if you are confused by any of the relations, titles, or Shona words in the novel, this is an excellent study guide: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/dangarembga.htm
Here’s the “Do They Even Know It’s Christmas?” song I was talking about. Seriously, you’ve got to listen to the lyrics. It’s real bad.
There have been a handful of great articles on Western media’s coverage of Ebola. Aminatta Forna’s article is particularly poignant. She writes, “Some years ago I met the Sierra Leonian expert in haemorrhagic fevers, Dr Aniru Conteh, who headed the country’s Lassa fever research unit. He had struggled on with his work for years despite a lack of proper equipment – reportedly at one point using a snorkel and mask while handling samples. He died after being accidentally contaminated by a patient. His successor, Dr Sheik Umar Khan, spearheaded initial efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak. He too died in the line of duty, as did most members of his unit: researchers, nurses and even a driver. Their loss will have enduring consequences in the world’s fight against the disease, yet their life’s work has received less coverage than an idiotic remark by Trump. Read reports in the western media of Ebola hysteria and you may well ask yourself to whom the hysteria belongs. Not, apparently, to those with the most to lose.”