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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: More-than-Human Care

Reading Group Research Network Reading Group: Wretched of the Earth Frantz Fanon, Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh

22 Jan 2020
  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • Address

    16 John Islip St
    SW1P 4JU

  • Date

    Wednesday 22 January 2020

  • Time


  • Free, booking required

  • Artists

    Ros Gray

Soil is the stuff of life, and it is made up of our residues – it transforms them into humus, and our connection to that fragile layer of the planet on which human life depends is acknowledged in the fact that our species name, human is derived from humus.

Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh, ‘The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions,' Third Text volume 32, no 2-3 (2018): 167

As part of our More-Than-Human Care ­­Research Network series, join us as we consider how contemporary artists have engaged and built upon ideas from Frantz Fanon’s influential decolonial text The Wretched of the Earth, 1961 to explore the relationship between humanity and the Earth and intervene in the cultural, political and environmental impacts of this entanglement.

If working conditions are not modified it will take centuries to humanise this world which the imperialist forces have reduced to the animal level.

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (1961), 57

We will be reading the introduction to Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh’s guest edited edition of Third Text, ‘The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions,’ alongside an extract from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, 1961.

To draw out ideas from the texts, please come prepared with an example of how colonisation continues to impact our relationship with the environment. For example, the roots of intensive land cultivation in slavery and colonialism.

This group is open to all; it is a supportive and peer-led space for thinking and learning together. It is a space for constructive disagreements and critical engagement that is always based on mutual respect, interest and care.

All texts are read together in the group, you don’t need to read them in advance. Please contact the library if you have any questions or wish to pick up a copy of the texts in advance: library@iniva.org


Frantz Fanon (July 20, 1925–December 6, 1961) was a psychiatrist, intellectual, and revolutionary born in the French colony of Martinique. Fanon wrote about the effects of colonialism and oppression in books such as Peau noire, masques blancs, 1952 (Black Skin, White Masks) and Les Damnés de la terre, 1961 (Wretched of the Earth). His writings have influenced anti-colonial movements across the world.

Ros Gray is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her articles and book chapters have explored militant film-making and artistic practices engaged with decolonial environmentalism. This research informs her forthcoming monograph Cinemas of the Mozambican Revolution Anti-Colonialism, Independence and Internationalism in Filmmaking, 1968–1991 (James Currey, 2020). Additionally, her research focuses on artistic interventions in the fields of soil care, cultivation and decolonial ecologies more broadly.

Shela Sheikh is a Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Central to her research are concepts and practises of witnessing, for example, plants and natural environments as “silent witnesses” to (historical and ongoing) colonial violence. She co-edited Theatrum Botanicum (Sternberg Press, 2018) with Uriel Orlow, a publication which emerged from a multi-faceted project encompassing film, sound, photography and installation that looked to the botanical world as a stage for politics.


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Research Network Reading Group: Wretched of the Earth