Edited by Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall
Routledge – 2013 – 342 pages
Series: Rewriting Histories
Despite Haiti's proximity to the United States, and its considerable importance to our own history, Haiti barely registered in the historic consciousness of most Americans until recently. Those who struggled to understand Haiti's suffering in the earthquake of 2010 often spoke of it as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, but could not explain how it came to be so.
In recent years, the amount of scholarship about the island has increased dramatically. Whereas once this scholarship was focused on Haiti’s political or military leaders, now the historiography of Haiti features lively debates and different schools of thought. Even as this body of knowledge has developed, it has been hard for students to grasp its various strands. Haitian History presents the best of the recent articles on Haitian history, by both Haitian and foreign scholars, moving from colonial Saint Domingue to the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. It will be the go-to one-volume introduction to the field of Haitian history, helping to explain how the promise of the Haitian Revolution dissipated, and presenting the major debates and questions in the field today.
"Alyssa Sepinwall has produced a superb collection of powerfully insightful essays by outstanding Haitian and non-Haitian historians that should appeal equally to specialists and non-specialists. The work makes three important contributions. The essays are based on exhaustively researched original and secondary sources . The introduction to the sections present the best analysis of the extant historiography and will be a boon to all scholars with an interest in Haiti. The work persuasively demonstrates the extraordinary importance of the Haitian experience to regional, international and thematic histories. This is the perfect introduction to the complex history of the world after the age of revolutions not only providing a nuanced account of the Haitian Revolution but also of the complicated international context in which a new black state had to forcefully defend its precarious existence."
– Franklin W. Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History, Director, Center for Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University
"Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall invites readers to familiarize themselves with broader and more sophisticated interpretations of Haitian history. This excellent compilation of articles will be welcome by scholars, students and general readers who are interested in thinking about Haiti as it always ought to be understood -- as a country whose history is rich, complex, and connected to strides and the struggles of citizens from many nations around the world."
– Chantalle F. Verna, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and International Relations, Florida International University
"The articles in this book illuminate our understanding and reveal the forces present in the history of the Haitian nation-state … Sepinwall meets the challenge brilliantly in showcasing the most recent research on Haiti…"
– Claudy Delné, French Studies, June 2013
Section I: From Saint-Domingue to Haiti
1. An Unthinkable History: The Haitian Revolution as a Non-Event, Michel-Rolph Trouillot
2. Slave Resistance (from The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below), Carolyn E. Fick
3. Saint-Domingue on the Eve of the Haitian Revolution, David P. Geggus
4. "I am the Subject of the King of Congo": African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution, John K. Thornton
Section II: Independent Haiti in a Hostile World: Haiti in the Nineteenth Century
5. The Politics of "French Negroes" in the United States, Ashli White
6. Talk About Haiti: The Archive and the Atlantic’s Haitian Revolution, Ada Ferrer
7. Sword-Bearing Citizens: Militarism and Manhood in Nineteenth-Century Haiti, Mimi Sheller
8. Rural Protest and Peasant Revolt, 1804 – 1869, David Nicholls
9. "The Black Republic": The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Northern Black Political Consciousness, 1816 – 1862, Leslie M. Alexander
Section III: From the Occupation to the Earthquake: Haiti in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
10. Under the Gun (from Haiti and the United States: The Psychological Moment), Brenda Gayle Plummer
11. VIVE 1804! The Haitian Revolution and the Revolutionary Generation of 1946, Matthew J. Smith
12. Dynastic Dictatorship: The Duvalier Years, 1957 – 1986, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
13. The Water Refugees (from AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame), Paul Farmer
14. The Rise, Fall, and Second Coming of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Robert Fatton, Jr.
15. Eternity Lasted Less Than Sixty Seconds…, Évelyne Trouillot
Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall is Professor of History at California State University-San Marcos.