Escaping the nation in the Middle East: a doomed project? Fanonian decolonisation and the Muslim Brotherhood

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This essay has two goals: first, it seeks to outline the dissonance between nationalist self-determination and a decolonial pursuit of independence using Fanon’s blueprint for decolonisation. Second, it interrogates the decolonial potential in Fanon’s blueprint, and asks whether anticolonial groups can ever truly escape the inheritance of a Eurocentric nation-state despite their decolonial intent. To explore these themes, the essay focuses on Hasan Al-Banna’s ideology and vision for the Muslim Brotherhood in the first half of the twentieth century. In its search for independence from the British, his movement rebuffed liberal models of national self-determination and pursued an alternative political imagining that was delinked from the coloniality of the nation-state. Drawing upon Banna’s memoirs, speeches and political tracts and Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, this essay explores the parallels between Banna’s vision of independence and Fanon’s decolonial call for international solidarities and national consciousness as alternatives to nationalism. The essay goes on to argue that, ultimately, anticolonial groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have struggled to escape the colonial tethering of independence to the nation-state and its various trappings of coloniality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-670
Issue number5
Early online date8 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Fanon
  • Muslim Brotherhood
  • Decolonisation
  • Al-Banna
  • Hasan
  • Frantz
  • Nation


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