Book

Haiti, History, and the Gods

Joan Dayan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1996 | ISBN: 9780520089006
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920965 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520089006.001.0001
Haiti, History, and the Gods

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This book charts the cultural imagination of Haiti, not only by reconstructing the island's history, but by highlighting ambiguities and complexities that have been ignored, investigating the confrontational space in which Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. It gives human dimensions to this eighteenth-century French colony and provides a template for understanding the Haiti of today. In examining the complex social fabric of French Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 became Haiti, the book uncovers a silenced, submerged past. Instead of relying on familiar sources to reconstruct Haitian history, it uses a diversity of voices that have previously been unheard. Many of the materials recovered here—overlooked or repressed historical texts, legal documents, religious works, secret memoirs, letters, and literary fictions—have never been translated into English. Others, such as Marie Vieux Chauvet's radical novel of vodou, Fonds des Nègres, are seldom used as historical sources. The book also argues provocatively for the consideration of both vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history. This scholarship is enriched by the insights the author has gleaned from conversations and experiences during her many trips to Haiti over the past twenty years.

Keywords: Haiti; eighteenth century; France; French colony; French Saint-Domingue; Marie Vieux Chauvet; vodou; vodou rituals

Book.  362 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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Table of Contents

Rituals of History in Haiti, History, and the Gods

Chapter

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Fictions of Haiti in Haiti, History, and the Gods

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Last Days of Saint-Domingue in Haiti, History, and the Gods

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Gothic Americas in Haiti, History, and the Gods

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