Abdullah Laroui and Abdelkbir Khatibi may be considered as perhaps the two most outstanding practitioners of what might be called 'Moroccan Post-colonial Theory.' Laroui open his influential book on Arab ideology (1973) with a statement about subjectivity and its others (namely, the West), while Khatibi opens his Maghreb Pluriel (1983) with a response to Fanon's own response to European colonialism: "Allons, comrades, the European game is definitively over. We've got to find something else." The 'something else' that Khatibi hits upon is his theory of Double Critique, some kind of blend of decolonization and deconstruction. This deconstructive gesture enables Khatibi to show that, to unravel the genealogy of Laroui's I-Other dialectic is to recognize that it can be traced not only to Gramsci and Lukacs, or more directly to Fanon, but how Fanon's own portrait of colonizer and colonized itself repeats the Hegelian master-slave dialectic. Indeed, the allegories that permeate the post-colonial imaginary, such as those of Caliban and Prospero; Crusoe and Friday; Kurtz and the so-called "heart of darkness"; are all variations on the same theme. This is perhaps most evident in the infinite replications that constitute such discourse: Khatibi re-writes Laroui who re-writes Fanon; Memmi re-writes Mannoni; while Edward Glissant re-writes Aimé Césaire; and, finally, Homi Bhabha in his turn re-writes Fanon and Said. This is to say, in fine, that most of these theories are informed by the same Manichean grammar: that is, reading cultural and historical phenomena in terms of Otherness. Khatibi's approach, however, is a bold attempt to go beyond this type of post-colonial theory, in the way he challenges the notion of alterity and posits a new conception of identity that is for ever unfixed and nomadic.
Last modified: 7 May 2001