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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

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.

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Haiti: Entre beaute et blessures

Clairvoyant who has lived in France for the past 24 years, expresses himself at times with a virulent violence that only an exile living in a perpetual nostalgia of his/her native land can understand. His words directed at the rulers of his native country is not always flattering, a euphemism not to say discourteous or accusatory. Poet with moral probity, he however slips into obsequiousness when expressing his anger that can easily be styled great immorality.

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Haiti

Hope for a Fragile State

“This book...avoids the political debates about Jean-Bertrand Aristide that dominate so many current writings about Haiti. Its focus is the society itself, the sources of difference, the origins of violence, and the possibility of change....The superb work done by the editors has established a high standard for future efforts.” (Terry Copp and John English from the Preface)

Haiti is a country in the midst of a political, economic, ecological, and social crisis. Violence has sabotaged attempts to establish the rule of law, and state infrastructure is notably absent in much of the country, leading to an overall climate of insecurity. Haiti: Hope for a Fragile State sheds light on the varied and complex roots of the current crisis, dispels misperceptions, and suggests that the situation in Haiti, despite evidence to the contrary, is not completely desperate. It brings together diverse perspectives on development, the military, history, NGOs, and politics and discusses the peace-building efforts of the past, suggesting ways to move forward to make Haiti a strong state.

Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation

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Haiti in the Balance

Why Foreign Aid Has Failed and What We Can Do About It

with Adam Gardner. Terry F. Buss

Even after years of receiving considerable foreign aid, Haiti remains an impoverished, tremendously fragile state. Over a span of ten years, the United States spent over $4 billion in aid to Haiti, yet the average Haitian still has to survive on one dollar a day. Why has assistance been so ineffectual, and what can we learn from Haiti's plight about foreign aid in general? Haiti in the Balance tackles those questions by analyzing nearly twenty years of Haitian history, politics, and foreign relations. Terry Buss and his colleagues at the National Academy on Public Administration found a general failure to reinforce the capacity of institutions at all levels of Haitian government. Building up that system of institutions appears to be a necessary precursor to a nation using foreign aid in the most effective manner. Such an effort demands improved security, a more professional (and less corrupt) bureaucracy, and eventually decentralization and perhaps even some privatization. Different levels of government must be willing to learn how best to work with one another: according to Buss, "Haitian governments seemed consumed by politics, rather than good governance." People still matter, and so does administration. Until we learn that lesson, even the most generous foreign aid will not fulfill its intent.

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Haiti's Influence on Antebellum America

Slumbering Volcano in the Caribbean

Alfred N. Hunt

The Haitian Revolution began in 1791 as a slave revolt on the French colonial island of Saint Domingue and ended thirteen years later with the founding of an independent black republic. Waves of French West Indians—slaves, white colonists, and free blacks—fled the upheaval and flooded southern U.S. ports—most notably New Orleans—bringing with them everything from French opera to voodoo. Alfred N. Hunt discusses the ways these immigrants affected southern agriculture, architecture, language, politics, medicine, religion, and the arts. He also considers how the events in Haiti influenced the American slavery-emancipation debate and spurred developments in black militancy and Pan-Africanism in the United States. By effecting the development of racial ideology in antebellum America, Hunt concludes, the Haitian Revolution was a major contributing factor to the attitudes that led to the Civil War.

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Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World

Recognition after Revolution

Julia Gaffield

On January 1, 1804, Haiti shocked the world by declaring independence. Historians have long portrayed Haiti's postrevolutionary period as one during which the international community rejected Haiti's Declaration of Independence and adopted a policy of isolation designed to contain the impact of the world's only successful slave revolution. Julia Gaffield, however, anchors a fresh vision of Haiti's first tentative years of independence to its relationships with other nations and empires and reveals the surprising limits of the country's supposed isolation.

Gaffield frames Haitian independence as both a practical and an intellectual challenge to powerful ideologies of racial hierarchy and slavery, national sovereignty, and trade practice. Yet that very independence offered a new arena in which imperial powers competed for advantages with respect to military strategy, economic expansion, and international law. In dealing with such concerns, foreign governments, merchants, abolitionists, and others provided openings that were seized by early Haitian leaders who were eager to negotiate new economic and political relationships. Although full political acceptance was slow to come, economic recognition was extended by degrees to Haiti--and this had diplomatic implications. Gaffield's account of Haitian history highlights how this layered recognition sustained Haitian independence.

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The Haitian Declaration of Independence

Creation, Context, and Legacy

Edited by Julia Gaffield

While the Age of Revolution has long been associated with the French and American Revolutions, increasing attention is being paid to the Haitian Revolution as the third great event in the making of the modern world. A product of the only successful slave revolution in history, Haiti’s Declaration of Independence in 1804 stands at a major turning point in the trajectory of social, economic, and political relations in the modern world. This declaration created the second independent country in the Americas and certified a new genre of political writing. Despite Haiti’s global significance, however, scholars are only now beginning to understand the context, content, and implications of the Haitian Declaration of Independence.

This collection represents the first in-depth, interdisciplinary, and integrated analysis by American, British, and Haitian scholars of the creation and dissemination of the document, its content and reception, and its legacy. Throughout, the contributors use newly discovered archival materials and innovative research methods to reframe the importance of Haiti within the Age of Revolution and to reinterpret the declaration as a founding document of the nineteenth-century Atlantic World.

The authors offer new research about the key figures involved in the writing and styling of the document, its publication and dissemination, the significance of the declaration in the creation of a new nation-state, and its implications for neighboring islands. The contributors also use diverse sources to understand the lasting impact of the declaration on the country more broadly, its annual celebration and importance in the formation of a national identity, and its memory and celebration in Haitian Vodou song and ceremony. Taken together, these essays offer a clearer and more thorough understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the world’s second declaration of independence to create a lasting nation-state.

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The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination

Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints

Philip James Kaisary

The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) reshaped the debates about slavery and freedom throughout the Atlantic world, accelerated the abolitionist movement, precipitated rebellions in neighboring territories, and intensified both repression and antislavery sentiment. The story of the birth of the world’s first independent black republic has since held an iconic fascination for a diverse array of writers, artists, and intellectuals throughout the Atlantic diaspora. Examining twentieth-century responses to the Haitian Revolution, Philip Kaisary offers a profound new reading of the representation of the Revolution by radicals and conservatives alike in primary texts that span English, French, and Spanish languages and that include poetry, drama, history, biography, fiction, and opera.

In a complementary focus on canonical works by Aimé Césaire, C. L. R. James, Edouard Glissant, and Alejo Carpentier in addition to the work of René Depestre, Langston Hughes, and Madison Smartt Bell, Kaisary argues that the Haitian Revolution generated an enduring cultural and ideological inheritance. He addresses critical understandings and fictional reinventions of the Revolution and thinks through how, and to what effect, authors of major diasporic texts have metamorphosed and appropriated this spectacular corner of black revolutionary history.

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Haj to Utopia

How the Ghadar Movement Charted Global Radicalism and Attempted to Overthrow the British Empire

Maia Ramnath

In The Haj to Utopia, Maia Ramnath tells the dramatic story of Ghadar, the Indian anticolonial movement that attempted overthrow of the British Empire. Founded by South Asian immigrants in California, Ghadar—which is translated as "mutiny"—quickly became a global presence in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and East Africa. Ramnath brings this epic struggle to life as she traces Ghadar’s origins to the Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, its establishment of headquarters in Berkeley, California, and its fostering by anarchists in London, Paris, and Berlin. Linking Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1914 to Ghadar’s declaration of war on Britain, Ramnath vividly recounts how 8,000 rebels were deployed from around the world to take up the battle in Hindustan. The Haj to Utopia demonstrates how far-flung freedom fighters managed to articulate a radical new world order out of seemingly contradictory ideas.

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Hakon of Rogen's Saga

Erik Christian Haugaard

An American Library Association Notable Book and his first book for children, Erik Christian Haugaard’s Hakon of Rogen’s Saga is a remarkable novel that perfectly catches the mood of a harsh but heroic people. Set at the end of the Viking period, it tells of a young boy, Hakon, from the island of Rogen who, after his chieftain father is murdered, undertakes to reclaim his birthright from his treacherous uncle. The illustrations by renowned artists Leo and Diane Dillon make this captivating story come alive.

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