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Haiti and the Americas

Carla Calarge

Publication Year: 2013

Haiti has long played an important role in global perception of the western hemisphere, but ideas about Haiti often appear paradoxical. Is it a land of tyranny and oppression or a beacon of freedom as site of the world's only successful slave revolution? A bastion of devilish practices or a devoutly religious island? Does its status as the second independent nation in the hemisphere give it special lessons to teach about postcolonialism, or is its main lesson one of failure?

Haiti and the Americas brings together an interdisciplinary group of essays to examine the influence of Haiti throughout the hemisphere, to contextualize the ways that Haiti has been represented over time, and to look at Haiti's own cultural expressions in order to think about alternative ways of imagining its culture and history.

Thinking about Haiti requires breaking through a thick layer of stereotypes. Haiti is often represented as the region's nadir of poverty, of political dysfunction, and of savagery. Contemporary media coverage fits very easily into the narrative of Haiti as a dependent nation, unable to govern or even fend for itself, a site of lawlessness that is in need of more powerful neighbors to take control. Essayists in Haiti and the Americas present a fuller picture developing approaches that can account for the complexity of Haitian history and culture.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

The essays collected in this volume were presented at the “Haiti and the Americas: Histories, Cultures, Imaginations” conference held at Florida Atlantic University from October 21 to 23, 2010. We were not able to include all the contributions from that conference, but the conversations sparked by the other presentations and the audience contributions ...

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pp. 3-22

Ever since Columbus established his first settlement in the New World in the area near present-day Cap Haitien in 1492, Haiti has been a crossroads of the Americas. A crossroads is not only a geographic location but a place where past, present, and future intersect. Haiti and the Americas opens up the colonial and postcolonial archive to explore the implications ...


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1. Bolívar in Haiti: Republicanism in the Revolutionary Atlantic

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pp. 25-53

1816, Republic of Haiti. After the collapse of the First Republic in Venezuela in 1812 and the brutal reprisals that followed, Spanish American patriots had been arriving daily, by the boatload, in Haiti. Many had first sought refuge on the nearby islands of Curaçao, Trinidad, and St. Thomas, but eventually most of the refugees ended up in the coastal towns of Jacmel, Jérémie, and ...

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2. Between Anti-Haitianism and Anti-imperialism: Haitian and Cuban Political Collaborations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

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pp. 54-73

On June 23, 1930, the Port-au-Prince newspaper Le Pays began publishing a serial about the life of Antonio Maceo (1845–96), the slave-turnedmilitary- hero who led Cuban separatists in battle against Spain during the second half of the nineteenth century.1 The Cuban general was one of “the great figures” not only in the “history . . . of the peoples of Latin ...


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3. Haiti, Pan-Africanism, and Black Atlantic Resistance Writing

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pp. 77-95

Following the Spanish-American War, many Caribbean writers developed intensive plans for resisting U.S. hegemony and preserving cultural and political autonomy, with Haitian authors leading the vanguard. Anténor Firmin and Benito Sylvain, in particular, established a critical discourse that examined both the local threat of U.S. dominion and the global ...

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4. “Being a Member of the Colored Race”: The Mission of Charles Young, Military Attaché to Haiti, 1904–1907

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pp. 96-107

Rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time of his forced retirement from the U.S. Army in 1917, Charles Young served much of his career in uniform as the only black commissioned officer in the American military. As such he posed a persistent dilemma for both the military command structure and the political authorities in Washington, who shared a ...


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5. Haiti’s Revisionary Haunting of Charles Chesnutt’s “Careful” History in Paul Marchand, F.M.C

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pp. 111-132

In 1921, African American writer Charles Chesnutt was concerned about the U.S. occupation of Haiti. The press was reporting an increase in violence between Haitian Caco insurgents and U.S. Marines; the soldiers, ostensibly on a stabilizing mission, were accused of massacring the resistance fighters daily. Chesnutt had kept a close watch on the events since ...

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6. The Black Magic Island: The Artistic Journeys of Alexander King and Aaron Douglas from and to Haiti

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pp. 133-160

“Blood-maddened, sex-maddened, god-maddened . . . danced their dark saturnalia” (fig. 1). Readers familiar with Haiti and its representation in U.S. culture will recognize this drawing by Alexander King from William Seabrook’s 1929 best-selling pseudo-anthropological travelogue on Haiti, The Magic Island. We scholars of Haiti love to hate Seabrook’s book and ...

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7. Foreign Impulses in Annie Desroy’s Le Joug

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pp. 161-176

The Caribbean has long been recognized as a point of contact between several peoples. Over the years, this contact has taken various forms, ranging from violent conquest to peaceful cohabitation. The American occupation of Haiti, from 1915 to 1934, brought about brutal contact between two groups who had little previous experience with each other, Haitians and ...


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8. The Rhetoric of Crisis and Foreclosing the Future of Haiti in Ghosts of Cité Soleil

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pp. 179-198

Asger Leth’s documentary film Ghosts of Cité Soleil (2006) follows the lives of two gang leaders in the largest slum in Haiti during the months leading up to the fall of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government in 2004.1 Two centuries after the revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared independence for the former French slave colony ...

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9. A Marshall Plan for a Haiti at Peace: To Continue or End the Legacy of the Revolution

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pp. 199-217

In the weeks following the grand earthquake of January 12, 2010, what some Haitians have termed “goudou, goudou” to describe the shattering seismic shifts taking place beneath the earth’s surface that resulted in the devastation of Haiti’s capital and neighboring cities and villages in its southwest from Léogane to Jacmel, calls to reconstruct Haiti through ...

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Afterword: Neither France nor Senegal: Bovarysme and Haiti’s Hemispheric Identity

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pp. 219-230

If the Haitian writer, diplomat, and politician Léon Laleau is remembered today, it is for his short poem “Betrayal,” which first appeared in 1931. The poem too might well have been forgotten had Léopold Senghor not included it in his Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache (1948), almost certainly because of the poem’s last lines, which explicitly evoke ...


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pp. 231-234


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pp. 235-242

E-ISBN-13: 9781621039334
E-ISBN-10: 1621039331
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617037573

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013