Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities : Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition book cover
1st Edition

Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities
Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition

ISBN 9780367460679
Published May 7, 2021 by Routledge
254 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Joseph Anténor Firmin (1850–1911) was the reigning public intellectual and political critic in Haiti in the nineteenth century. He was the first “Black anthropologist” and “Black Egyptologist” to deconstruct the Western interpretation of global history and challenge the ideological construction of human nature and theories of knowledge in the Western social sciences and the humanities. As an anti-racist intellectual and cosmopolitan thinker, Firmin’s writings challenge Western ideas of the colonial subject, race achievement, and modernity’s imagination of a linear narrative based on the false premises of social evolution and development, colonial history and epistemology, and the intellectual evolution of the Aryan-White race. Firmin articulated an alternative way to study global historical trajectories, the political life, human societies and interactions, and the diplomatic relations and dynamics between the nations and the races.

Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities is the first full-length book devoted to Joseph Anténor Firmin. It reexamines the importance of his thought and legacy, and its relevance for the twenty-first century’s culture of humanism, and the continuing challenge of race and racism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Firmin, Global History, and the End of Race

Celucien L. Joseph


Part I

Firmin, Haitian History, and Caribbean Intellectual Heritage

1 Race and Modernity in the Caribbean Discourse                                    

Glodel Mezilas

Translated by Nathan H. Dize and Siobhan Meï 

2 "Tous les hommes sont l'homme" : Antenor Firmin, Toussaint Louverture,

Racial Equality and the Fact of Blackness

Paul B. Miller

3 Reinventing Europe: Joseph Anténor Firmin and the Legacy of the 19th Century

Gudrun Rath

4 The Sense of Place in Firmin’s Monsieur Roosevelt, Président des États-Unis et de la République d’Haïti

Georges Eddy Lucien

Translated by Nathan H. Dize and Siobhan Meï

5 Forms of Firminism: Understanding Joseph Anténor Firmin

Celucien L. Joseph



Part II

Firmin, Black Internationalism, and Pan-Africanism

6 Anténor Firmin, Pan-Africanism, and the Struggle for Race Vindication

Gershom Williams

7 Lions and Sheep: Anténor Firmin, Pan-Africanism, and the Rebirth of


Tammie Jenkins

8 At the Center of World History, Before Diop, there was Firmin: Great

Scholars on the Black African Origin of the Ancient Egyptians and their


Patrick Delices


Part III

Firmin, Universalism, and Western Intellectual History

9 Firmin and the Laws of Multilineal Evolution

Matthew Carson Allen

10 Reconstructing the Universality of the Social Sciences and Humanities: Anténor

Firmin and Black (Haitian) Atlantic Thought and Culture

Paul C. Mocombe

11  The Abolition of All Privilege: Race, Equality, and Freedom in the Work of Anténor Firmin

Greg Beckett

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Celucien L. Joseph is an intellectual historian, literary scholar, and theologian. He is an associate professor of English at Indian River State College. He holds a PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas and a PhD in Theology and Ethics from the University of Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa). He is the author of numerous academic books and peer-reviewed articles. His recent books include Revolutionary Change and Democratic Religion: Christianity, Vodou, and Secularism (2020), a 2020 “Important Political Book—PoliticoTech Awards Finalist,” and Theologizing in Black: On Africana Theological Ethics and Anthropology (2020). His books From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought (2013), and Haitian Modernity and Liberative Interruptions: Discourse on Race, Religion, and Freedom (2013) received Honorable Mention at The Pan African International 2014 Book Awards.

Paul C. Mocombe (PhD) is a Haitian philosopher and sociologist. He is a former visiting professor of Philosophy and Sociology at Bethune Cookman University, an assistant professor of Philosophy and Sociology at West Virginia State University, and the president/CEO of The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc. He is the author of many influential books, such as The Theory of Phenomenological Structuralism; Haitian Epistemology; and Identity and Ideology in Haiti.