The Haitian Revolution

Marie-Jeanne Rossignol

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:
The Haitian Revolution

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
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The Haitian Revolution has continually triggered scholarly (and literary) interest since its inception, thanks to its unique blend of racial, international, and political factors. But it has remained largely peripheral to distinctive historical narratives. In particular, Saint-Domingue and Haiti are interwoven with the narrative of the French Revolution, to which they were closely connected, in the literature until the end of the 20th century. Aside from a few precursors, increased attention to the Haitian Revolution emerged only with the commemoration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989. Yet it was the coming of the bicentennial of Haiti’s independence in 2004 that inspired numerous authors on both sides of the Atlantic to scrutinize the topic. On the French side, scholarly production mainly consisted of collections of essays connected to commemorative conferences. French Caribbean scholars based in Martinique and Guadeloupe also contributed to this considerable effort, together with Haitian scholars, for whom, of course, the revolution was a foundational event. On the American side, the production of collections of essays accompanied the publication of major monographs. Recent North American interest in Haiti can be linked to the development of the Atlantic paradigm, which has induced younger writers to focus on a non-British Atlantic. On both sides of the Atlantic and in the Caribbean, new research on Haiti is linked to the dominant historiographical question of slavery (in all its dimensions, social, political, and cultural), together with rising sensitivity to questions of hybridity, creolization, and colonial and postcolonial discussions in literature, philosophy, and cultural studies. Far from remaining peripheral, the Haitian Revolution has thus rapidly moved to the center of historical attention. It remains a vivid symbol of black resistance and identity for contemporary Haiti, the Caribbean, and beyond, which explains why a number of authors on the revolution (mainly in French) are also novelists, playwrights, poets, journalists, or philosophers.

Article.  8358 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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