Maria Cristina Fumagalli’s On the Edge: Writing the Border Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic

On The Edge is a book high on my reading list. But Amazon says it will only come out in hardcover by June, 2015, and the price is prohibitive for many of us. We can still urge our libraries to acquire it, and if we see it fitting, find ways to use it in the classroom.

Could not find evidence of a Kindle edition, and could not read even a page from the author’s hands, but in an editorial review Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert says: “Anchored in a detailed understanding of the history of this complex and deeply conflicted contact zone, and offering insightful readings of the broadest possible range of literary and artistic works, the book challenges static representations of the border, offering in their stead innovative and multi-layered interpretations of the role of mobility and permeability in creating a multi-ethnic transnational territory that both bridges and separates the peoples of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The book’s depth of research and analysis will make it the must-read study for anyone interested in this often-misunderstood contact zone.”

It is definitively needed and promising.

Repeating Islands

9781781381601I love this book, which I read in manuscript form and enthusiastically recommended. This is what I had to say about the manuscript, which offers a most comprehensive study for anyone interested in the dynamics of the Haitian-Dominican border:

Maria Cristina Fumagalli’s remarkable On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic offers the most richly nuanced study of the Haiti-Dominican border to date. Anchored in a detailed understanding of the history of this complex and deeply conflicted contact zone, and offering insightful readings of the broadest possible range of literary and artistic works, the book challenges static representations of the border, offering in their stead innovative and multi-layered interpretations of the role of mobility and permeability in creating a multi-ethnic transnational territory that both bridges and separates the peoples of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The book’s depth of research and analysis will make it the…

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West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba | CLACS | NYU

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba seeks to explain how a series of historical events that occurred in West Africa from the mid-1790s— including Afonja’s rebellion, the Owu wars, the Fulani-ledjihad, and the migrations to Egbaland—had an impact upon life in cities and plantations in western Cuba and Bahia. Manuel Barcia examines the extent to which a series of African-led plots and armed movements that took place in western Cuba and Bahia between 1807 and 1844 were the result—or a continuation—of events that had occurred in and around the Yoruba and Hausa kingdoms in the same period.
Why did these two geographical areas serve as the theatre for the uprising of the Nagos, the Lucumis, and other West African men and women? The answer, Barcia argues, relates to the fact that plantation economies supported by unusually large numbers of African-born slaves from the same—or close— geographical and ethnic heritage, which transformed the rural and urban landscape in western Cuba and Bahia. To understand why these two areas followed such similar social patterns it is essential to look across the Atlantic—it is not enough to repeat the significance of the African background of Bahian and Cuban slaves. By establishing connections between people and events, with a special emphasis on their warfare experiences, Barcia presents a coherent narrative which spans more than three decades and opens a wealth of archival research for future study.

– See more at: http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/object/clacs.events.special.040115#sthash.4lVRxEGk.dpuf

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba seeks to explain how a series of historical events that occurred in West Africa from the mid-1790s— including Afonja’s rebellion, the Owu wars, the Fulani-ledjihad, and the migrations to Egbaland—had an impact upon life in cities and plantations in western Cuba and Bahia. Manuel Barcia examines the extent to which a series of African-led plots and armed movements that took place in western Cuba and Bahia between 1807 and 1844 were the result—or a continuation—of events that had occurred in and around the Yoruba and Hausa kingdoms in the same period.
Why did these two geographical areas serve as the theatre for the uprising of the Nagos, the Lucumis, and other West African men and women? The answer, Barcia argues, relates to the fact that plantation economies supported by unusually large numbers of African-born slaves from the same—or close— geographical and ethnic heritage, which transformed the rural and urban landscape in western Cuba and Bahia. To understand why these two areas followed such similar social patterns it is essential to look across the Atlantic—it is not enough to repeat the significance of the African background of Bahian and Cuban slaves. By establishing connections between people and events, with a special emphasis on their warfare experiences, Barcia presents a coherent narrative which spans more than three decades and opens a wealth of archival research for future study.

– See more at: http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/object/clacs.events.special.040115#sthash.4lVRxEGk.dpuf

Book talk for those in the NYC neighborhood (not fair for those exiled to the US country side):

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844 - See more at: http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/object/clacs.events.special.040115#sthash.4lVRxEGk.dpuf

Manuel Barcia

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba: Soldier Slaves in the Atlantic World, 1807-1844

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba seeks to explain how a series of historical events that occurred in West Africa from the mid-1790s— including Afonja’s rebellion, the Owu wars, the Fulani-ledjihad, and the migrations to Egbaland—had an impact upon life in cities and plantations in western Cuba and Bahia. Manuel Barcia examines the extent to which a series of African-led plots and armed movements that took place in western Cuba and Bahia between 1807 and 1844 were the result—or a continuation—of events that had occurred in and around the Yoruba and Hausa kingdoms in the same period.
Why did these two geographical areas serve as the theatre for the uprising of the Nagos, the Lucumis, and other West African men and women? The answer, Barcia argues, relates to the fact that plantation economies supported by unusually large numbers of African-born slaves from the same—or close— geographical and ethnic heritage, which transformed the rural and urban landscape in western Cuba and Bahia. To understand why these two areas followed such similar social patterns it is essential to look across the Atlantic—it is not enough to repeat the significance of the African background of Bahian and Cuban slaves. By establishing connections between people and events, with a special emphasis on their warfare experiences, Barcia presents a coherent narrative which spans more than three decades and opens a wealth of archival research for future study.

– See more at: http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/object/clacs.events.special.040115#sthash.4lVRxEGk.dpuf

– See more at: http://clacs.as.nyu.edu/object/clacs.events.special.040115#sthash.4lVRxEGk.dpuf

West African Warfare in Bahia and Cuba | CLACS | NYU.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, 12:30 p.m.
Location: KJCC room 607, 53 Washington Square South, New York, 10012 (map)

Genocide, Narrative, and Indigenous Exile from the Caribbean Archipelago

Newton On the importance of The Carib-Garifuna survival

CLACS @ NYU

Melanie NewtonThis spring’s colloquium series Whither the Caribbean? Critical Perspectives on History, Politics, and Culture opened with a talk by Melanie Newton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto.  Newton specializes in the social and cultural history of the Caribbean and the history of slavery, gender, and emancipation in the Atlantic World.

Newton presented her paper “The Race Leapt at Sauteurs”: Genocide, Narrative, and Indigenous Exile from the Caribbean Archipelago, which explores the history of Garifuna people (Afro-indigenous descendants of the people of the ‘Caribbee’ islands) between 1492 and the eighteenth century. Her objective was to demonstrate that the Lesser Antilles’s histories of enslavement and colonization fit the 1951 United Nations definition of genocide as an attempt to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” To do so, she took into account three acts of annihilationist violence committed by the Spanish in…

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The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas – by Barcia, Manuel – Heuman – 2015 – Bulletin of Latin American Research – Wiley Online Library

The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas - by Barcia, Manuel - Heuman - 2015 - Bulletin of Latin American Research - Wiley Online Library

Allow me to bring your attention to Gad Heuman’s review of Manuel Barcia’s book. He writes: “Barcia’s argument about the role of Africans who in 1825 were seeking an end to their own enslavement rather than abolishing the slave system, provides an important critique of Eugene Genovese’s thesis. More importantly, Barcia has provided a fascinating and richly documented account of a rebellion that, in his view, was an extension of West African warfare in a Cuban setting.”

The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas – by Barcia, Manuel – Heuman – 2015 – Bulletin of Latin American Research – Wiley Online Library.

Fischer and Blackburn on French abolitionism

Sybille Fischer’s contention with Robin Blackburn in two block quotes:

Before considering two recent alternative proposals to this view, it is worth pointing out that from a political perspective decidedly different from that of Ozouf, we come across a similar phenomenon. In his monumental study of antislavery between 1776 and 1848, Blackburn comments on Brissot a number of times, usually linking Brissot’s stance on slavery to his “new forward policy which would take France to war in Europe and would reassert metropolitan authority in the Antilles.” 16 Never mind that Brissot had written pamphlets like “Réflexions sur l’admission aux États généraux des députés de Saint-Domingue” (Reflections about the admission of deputies from Saint Domingue to the General Estates) where he advocates a strong autonomy for the possessions outre-mer and says, among other things: “It is impossible that in the whirlwind that sweeps everything toward liberty, the substantial colonies alone remain attached to bodies that are two thousand leagues away from them, and that they should consent to be governed by those.” This proposition raises for Brissot the problem of slavery, since immediate autonomy would have given all the power to the planters. Unsurprisingly, Brissot could not figure out a solution that would have guaranteed both abolition of slavery and autonomy, and he appears to have contradicted himself at various points. Whatever his insights or failings may have been, however, it is somewhat surprising that Blackburn presents Brissot’s view on slavery as unequivocally linked to French colonialism, while also diminishing his import for the slavery question as a whole. At one point we even read the following: Paradoxically by the time the Convention decreed the abolition of colonial slavery in 1794 the Amis des Noirs no longer functioned and most of its members no longer played a role. It is almost as if enlightened abolitionism was as much part of the old order as the exclusif and the acquis de Guinée. Only once this whole superstructure was in ruins could slave emancipation be adopted in the metropolis. 18 No mention here of the fact that one of the leading proponents of abolition, Brissot, did not play a role because he had found his end on the guillotine. No mention either of the fact that the Amis des Noirs and their Girondin supporters had been involved in a publicity war with the representatives of the planters, who, out of hatred of Brissot, had thrown their support behind Robespierre (with whom they shared nothing, of course, except hatred of Brissot), and that the demise of the Girondins has to be counted at least in part as a victory for the planters.

Fischer, Sibylle (2004-04-09). Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (John Hope Franklin Center Book) (Kindle Locations 4183-4203). Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

For some reason, Brissot appears to be an extremely uncomfortable figure in the story. Whatever Blackburn might have in mind in this somewhat obscure paragraph— the vague “as if “ clearly signals an element of speculation and hesitance here— the upshot seems to be that slavery is a premodern phenomenon that vanishes only when feudalism has dissolved. Although this suggestion is quite inconsistent with the overall argument Blackburn pursues in The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, the issue of the Girondins appears to push him to retreat to an economic determinism that is otherwise absent from the book. For the Girondins, antislavery was by and large a strategic matter in the attempt to expand and consolidate the French Empire. In other words, Blackburn locates in the Girondin faction a universalism of liberty that turns into imperialism— an argument we are familiar with from those who, unlike Blackburn, want to discard the whole project of an emancipatory modernity as an imperialism in disguise. Instead of confronting the underlying problem of how to resolve the potential contradictions between a universalist ideal of individual liberty, popular sovereignty, and national sovereignty head-on, Blackburn seems to run away from the problem by giving a one-sided account of the Girondin position in which antislavery becomes a mere posture.

Fischer, Sibylle (2004-04-09). Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (John Hope Franklin Center Book) (Kindle Locations 4203-4213). Duke University Press. Kindle Edition.

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

Fischer, Sibylle. 2004. Modernity disavowed: Haiti and the cultures of slavery in the age of revolution. Durham: Duke University Press.

Fischer, Sibylle. 2004. Modernity disavowed: Haiti and the cultures of slavery in the age of revolution. Durham: Duke University Press.

Look at the sister post.

Sibylle Fischer’s book, Modernity Disavowed, is for the long distances. At eleven years after its publication in 2004, it is still a force in the field, shaping discussions, and inspiring articles, books and dissertations. It is not a historical monograph per se. Instead, it is an intellectual work that draws from literature, history, philosophy and psychoanalysis (some reviewers have pointed out that it relies on history more than on other disciplines).  It also uses a transnational approach to tackling hard questions about the post-revolutionary period in three major Caribbean nations: Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Emancipation and nation-building are the book’s major concerns.  A scholarly exchange (in Spanish) over the book, which was published in the Caribbean Studies, 33:2 (Jul. – Dec., 2005), had Clevis Headley and Neil Roberts raising questions about the issues of “Modernity” and “Disavowed,” and then Fischer was invited to respond.

Read an interview that Gina Ulysse gave to Fischer.

Toussaint Louverture's 1801 Constitution consacrated.

Le 1er. Juillet 1801, Toussaint-L’Ouverture, chargés des pouvoirs du peuple d’Haïty et auspices du Tout-puissante, proclame la Gouverneur général, assisté des mandataires légalement convoqués, en présence et sous les Constitution de la république d’Haïty / lith. de Villain, r. de Sèvres No. 11.

Bibliography:

Fischer, Sibylle. 2004. Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the cultures of slavery in the age of revolution. Durham: Duke University Press.

Two chapters available online:

Chapter 11

Chapter 13

Other reviews

David Geggus

Ashli White

Robert Lawless

Kenneth Maxwell

Kaiama L. Glover

Sarah Franklin

James Tredwell, and the 1816 Haitian (published in NY in 1818)

James Tredwell, and the 1816 Haitian (published in NY in 1818)

James Tredwell translation of the 1816 Haitian Constitution, which includes the letter Joseph Inginac wrote inviting U.S. Blacks to settle in Haiti-- the first of its kind.

James Tredwell translation of the 1816 Haitian Constitution, which includes the letter Joseph Inginac wrote inviting U.S. Blacks to settle in Haiti– the first of its kind.

Join us here: Zotero Mendeley

One of the first documents we include in our bibliography is a copy of the 1816 Haitian Republican Constitution; also known as the Pétion’s Constitution. If we admit this document in our bibliography, we should also include Ada Ferrer’s article, which centers on the impact this new body of laws had in attracting People of Color from the Caribbean to Haiti. In my book, In Search of an American Dream, I address the other side of this effect: how James Tredwell “smuggled” a copy of this constitution to the U.S, translated it and published it. He also made sure that the newspapers would pick up the news about his publication. So, we should also include here, at least, one of the papers that reblogged Tredwell’s news.

Major Antilles with highlight of haiti

The Major Antilles with highlight of Haiti

James Tredwell published the first Haitian Constitution to become widely known in the U.S., just about two years after Prince Saunders published the Haytian Papers in London. Saunders’ work were similar documents but from the Northern Haitian kingdom of Henri Christophe.   Saunders will republish them in the U.S., but weeks after Tredwell published the papers and Constitution he brought from Southern Haiti. Saunders’ work deserve its own space, so we are here focusing only on Tredwell.

Click here for an expanded post on Tredwell.

If interested in developing your bibliography and helping us grow ours, join us in Zotero or Mendeley

The WorldCat bibliographic information:

Haiti, Fontanges, and Esmangart. The Constitution of the Republic of Hayti To Which Is Added Documents Relating to the Correspondence of His Most Christian Majesty with the President of Hayti: Preceded by a Proclamation to the People and the Army. New-York: James Tredwell, 1818.

Library of Congress: http://lccn.loc.gov/76373969

It is available for download here:

From the Biblioteca Digital Del Caribe: http://bit.ly/1DAeQy9

In Haitian Vodou, Papa Legba is the loa who serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity.

In Haitian Vodou, Papa Legba is the loa who serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity.

Wikicommons: http://bit.ly/1wN3aJC

And in Scribdhttps://www.scribd.com/doc/306259801/

And of course, we have a copy in our bibliography too.

Here is the link to the City of Washington Gazette, which reblogged the news from the Boston Centinel: City of Washington Gazette; Date- 10-13-1818; http://bit.ly/13hsUlb 

The following works have given some space to Tredwell’s story.

Ferrer, Ada. 2012. “Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic”. The American Historical Review. 117, no. 1: 40-66. http://bit.ly/1DAfmML

Power-Greene, Ousmane K. Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle against the Colonization Movement. 2014. http://bit.ly/1p4M1ca

Fanning, Sara C. “The Roots of Early Black Nationalism: Northern African Americans’ Invocations of Haiti in the Early Nineteenth Century.” Slavery and Abolition 28, no. 1 (2007): 61-85.

Pamphile Miller, Chrislaine. ”’Blessed Are the Peacemakers’: African American Emigration to Haiti, 1816-1826.” Diss. Santa Cruz, 2013.  http://bit.ly/1wN4pbW