As a dual struggle against both slavery and colonialism, the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) challenged and shattered the fundamental ideologies and material practices of the transatlantic world. This was founded upon the racialised and super-exploitative transatlantic slave economy and – what Aimé Césaire and others have regarded as – its proto-fascist, colonial regimes of violence.
Whereas for a long time the Haitian Revolution and its challenges were “silenced” (Trouillot) in mainstream historiography, the event has received significant attention over the last two decades, even from Western scholars at the heart of Western academe. For instance, it has been cast as the birthplace of modern philosophy (Buck-Morss), of human rights and “universal emancipation” (Nesbitt), of Black Atlantic discourse (Jenson) and as a source of alternative modernities (Fischer).
Yet, despite this recent “Haitian Turn” (Joseph) in transatlantic studies (and with notable exceptions such as the work of Ramsay, Smith, Ulysse and others), post-revolutionary Haiti continues to receive comparatively little attention. In an orientalist vein, Haiti’s post-independence history has often been depicted as a steady decline from its ground-breaking “glorious” revolution to its current state as “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.”
This conference seeks to take the centenary of the beginning of the US occupation of Haiti as an occasion to challenge such views and explore Haiti after the Revolution. While the Revolution will remain a key reference point, this conference hopes to trigger debates and discussion which will interrogate such uni-dimensional visions and versions of Haiti and explore alternatives to them. In doing so this it aims to generate a fuller picture of Haiti’s rich history and vibrant culture beyond the current focus on its revolutionary origins.
Potential topics include (but of course are not limited to)
– Post-Revolution: making sense of the Haitian Revolution
– Post-revolutionary Haiti and visual/literary culture
– Stereotypical narratives of Haiti and challenges to them
– Nineteenth-century Haiti at the intersection of slavery, anti-slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism
– Haiti on the world stage: international responses to Haitian independence and its aftermath
– Haiti and its Visitors: travel writing and the ‘Black Republic’ – Haitian national political culture since 1804
– Uneasy relations? Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean
– Haiti and 20th century anthropology/ethnography
– The U.S. Occupation and the Haitian Revolution
– The U.S. Occupation and its afterlives
– The U.S. Occupation and culture (U.S. cultural production, Haitian culture)
– Haiti and the Harlem Renaissance
– Haiti and the antebellum/post-bellum USA
– Haiti and postcolonialism
– Haiti and reparations
– Haiti in contemporary commemorative discourses on slavery and its abolition (on a local and global level)
Confirmed keynote speakers are Matthew J. Smith (University of the West Indies, Mona) and Gina A. Ulysse (Wesleyan University).
Please send an abstract for a 20 minutes paper (max. 300 words) and a short biography (max. 200 words) to the conference organisers by October 15th 2014, using the following email address:
We are looking forward to hearing from you:
The organising committee
Kate Hodgson (University of Liverpool)
Wendy Asquith (University of Liverpool)
Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool)
Jack Webb (University of Liverpool)
Raphael Hoermann (University of Central Lancashire)