I argue that the historical visualization of Haiti, coupled with images of dead Haitian bodies shown during the 2010 earthquake, contribute to what I call the “dead citizen,” a historically flawed, inherently sinful body lacking political agency. I analyze the 1919 photograph of the dead body of Charlemagne Péralte, one of the leaders of the oppositional fighters known as cacos, murdered by the US marines during the 1915 occupation. I draw similarities between the public display of Péralte’s corpse and the display of the images of the dead and injured bodies of the earthquake victims. I assert that these anonymously dead bodies were imprisoned in a regulatory gaze of the global world that confirmed a discourse of deviance; thereby reinforcing Haiti as a cursed nation pathologically destined to its history of suffering. I explore the discursive nature of photography and the institutional use and evidentiary value of Péralte’s image and detail the multiple “killings” of Péralte that occurred through the effective hegemonic “act of photography,” the image’s reproduction and dissemination, and the public display of his half-naked corpse.


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pp. 100-126
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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