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Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora in the Wider Caribbean

The Making of an Atlantic Slave Society, 1775–1807

Edited by Philippe Zacaïr

Publication Year: 2010

During the past ten years, political debates, legal disputes, and rising violence associated with the presence of Haitian migrants have flared up throughout the Caribbean basin in such places as Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. The contributors to this volume explore the common thread of prejudice against the Haitian diaspora as well as its potential role in the construction of national narratives from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective.

These essays, written by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and Francophone studies scholars, examine how Haitians interact as an immigrant group with other parts of the Caribbean as well as how they are perceived and treated, particularly in terms of ethnicity and race, in their migration experience in the broader Caribbean.

By discussing the prevalence of anti-Haitianism throughout the region alongside the challenges Haitians face as immigrants, this volume completes the global view of the Haitian diaspora saga.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I find it quite difficult to point to the genesis of this book project. The more I try to refresh my memory, the more I have the feeling that it has always been in some corner of my mind. I cannot help but remember watching carnival in the streets of Pointe-à-Pitre as a young child with my cherished grandmother. She loudly applauded every group until the Haitian band passed by, after which her mood completely changed for a short period. I remember ...

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pp. 1-10

On July 11, 2003, the Costa Rica–based Inter-American Court of Human Rights began examining a case brought against the Dominican Republic by several human rights organizations such as the Movimiento de Mujeres Domínico-Haitianas and the International Human Rights Law Clinic on behalf of Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico, two young girls of Haitian origin born in Dominican territory.1 ...

Part 1. Haitian Diasporas

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1. Marginality and Subjectivity in the Haitian Diaspora

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pp. 13-41

What forms of subjectivity emerge in contemporary diasporas, and can anthropologists discern them through single-site ethnography? Diasporas are defined, of course, by the cultural connections and flows that knit together a single geographically dispersed group. The Jewish historical experience, regarded by many as an ideal type, involved a sprawling social world of interlinked ...

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2. The Trial of Ibo Simon: Popular Media and Anti-Haitian Violence in Guadeloupe

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pp. 42-57

On September 5, 2001, the court of justice of Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s largest urban area, became the main center of attention on the island. On that day, the court began examining the case of Ibo Simon a former singer turned politician and popular television show host. In an atmosphere filled with tension, Ibo was charged with repeatedly calling for racist hatred and ...

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3. “The Mirror That We Don’t Want”: Literary Confrontations between Haitians and Guadeloupeans

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pp. 58-81

The Caribbean remains divided by rivalries and prejudices that most particularly affect the Haitians, who have long been considered in the region as “nègres des nègres,” or the niggers’ niggers.1 The thorny relationship between Haiti and its neighbor, which culminated in the 1937 slaughter of some 20,000 immigrant cane-cutters by the Dominican government, is by far the most gruesome illustration ...

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4. Identifications and Kinships among Haitians in French Guiana: Observations on a Diaspora

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pp. 82-102

In her pioneer work on French Guiana, La question créole, Marie-José Jolivet maintained, more than twenty years ago, “that there are as many Creole cultures as there are places where they have been able to take form and develop in accordance with, on the one hand, the diversity of cultures imposed during servitude and the bits of the African past masters allowed to filter ...

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5. Medical Humanitarianism and Health as a Human Right on the Haitian-Dominican Border

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pp. 103-120

In December of 2001, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance published a 116-page report entitled “Incidence of Demand of Health Services by Foreigners,” which tracked the frequency and cost (down to fractions of pesos) of visits to government hospitals and clinics by foreigners during a three-month period in the same year. The document reported ...

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6. Refugee Rights in the Caribbean: A Study of Haitians in Jamaica

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pp. 121-142

Throughout their history, from colonial times to the present, Haitians fleeing their land have sought and found refuge in Jamaica. At the time of the Haitian Revolution, many French planters, often bringing along their slaves, relocated to Jamaica. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, exiled politicians or other members of elite families found in Jamaica a place of refuge ...

Part 2. Testimonies

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7. Conversation with Myrtha Désulmé, President of the Haiti-Jamaica Society

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pp. 145-152

A remarkable woman of the Haitian diaspora in Jamaica, Myrtha Désulmé has long been speaking and writing for her fellow Jamaicans about Haiti and Haitians in the wider Caribbean. As a media resource person and contributor to many newspapers including the Jamaica Gleaner, she has made it her goal to “redeem the image of Haiti in Jamaica, introduce Haitians and ...

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8. Congratulations! You Don’t Look Haitian: How and When Does One Look Haitian?

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pp. 153-170

This personal testimony is not a traditional scholarly article. Rather it is a description of my own diasporic identity—that is the many facets of my biculturalism and how it is experienced. The article builds upon my act of defiance against the stereotypes associated with Haiti as well as my desire to transgress and question through my own personal and professional experiences what it means to be Haitian in the United States. ...

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9. Picking and Unpicking Time: Contextualizing Haitian Immigration in French Guiana

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pp. 171-198

The main goal of this introduction to the personal accounts of Haitian immigration to Guiana is to explain the phenomenon in terms of the notion of time rather than merely examining history by going, as Walter Benjamin would say, “against the grain,” i.e. by adopting the viewpoint of the downtrodden, the migrants fated to articulate past and present, to interpret, manage, and reconstruct time. ...

List of Contributors

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p. 199


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pp. 201-207

E-ISBN-13: 9780813043234
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813040189
Print-ISBN-10: 0813034825

Page Count: 218
Illustrations: 2 plates, 4 maps, 4 figures, 8 tables
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 811505315
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora in the Wider Caribbean

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Subject Headings

  • Slavery -- Jamaica -- History.
  • Slave trade -- Jamaica -- History -- 18th century
  • Blacks -- Jamaica -- History -- 18th century.
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