In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Liz Covart interviews James Alexander Dun, the author of Dangerous Neighbours. In the episode, Dun explores how the Haitian Revolution shaped the way Americans thought about their own revolution. The discussion begins with one of the best summaries of the Haitian Revolution I’ve ever heard (or read), which makes the episode worth listening to for that alone. Dun goes on to carefully explain the intellectual and revolutionary connections between France, Saint Domingue (Haiti) and early America, providing new insights into the Atlantic world of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Dr Carrie Gibson, author of Empire’s Crossroads, which I reviewed here, recently gave a paper at UCL in London on the US’s many attempts to buy Cuba from Spain throughout the nineteenth century.
The paper is packed with information about nineteenth-century Cuba, and the various parties vying for power and influence there. Dr Gibson sets the story in the wider context, explaining how European imperial powers, and the US and Cuba interacted at that time. The paper is fascinating, I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Cuba, or interested in the US’s intentions in the region during its formative years as a nation.
The paper is available to download or listen to via soundcloud – click here to listen.
For further information about the events, videos & podcasts from UCL’s Institute of the Americas, click here.
Archaeologists Alice Samson and Angus Mol use a different object or artefact in each episode of their podcast The History of the Caribbean in 100 Objects to tell the story of past and present cultures and societies of the Caribbean. What I particularly enjoy about the podcast is that they have selected artefacts from across the Caribbean, crossing language barriers to teach us about artefacts from the formerly Spanish, British and Dutch parts of the region, as well as the pre-Columbian era. This is no mean feat—historians are all too often limited by language barriers in studying the Caribbean, particularly those who are reliant upon documentary (written) evidence. As archaeologists, Samson and Mol have managed to cross some of those barriers. Episode 1 discusses a guaíza, which is a small sculpture of a face, dating back to between 1200-1300. Studying this artefact opens up research on the people who lived in today’s Dominican republic, before Columbus ‘discovered’ the region.
The episodes are of a manageable length—some as short as 15 minutes, but most about 25 minutes long. The hosts’ discussions provide all sorts of information, and give us a fascinating insight into the fieldwork and research undertaken by archaeologists across the Caribbean. The episodes range across topics as diverse as the discovery of a blue bead from Statia, a coin from St.Kitts, and three statutes from a house in the centre of Santo Domingo. There is also an associated website which has some stunning photography of the objects (and of the Caribbean itself).
This is a link to the podcast on iTunes: A History of the Caribbean in 100 Objects
and this is a link to the website, with show notes: Shores of Time Podcast Notes
Mike Duncan is an historian, author, and podcaster. Since 2013 he has produced a number of podcast series, each focusing in depth on a different revolution in the past. Series 4 of Revolutions Podcast (which spanned 19 episodes) covered the Haitian revolution in all its confusing glory. Duncan takes the listener through the background in Saint Domingue pre-revolution, explains who was who, and traces the twists and turns of the revolution. The detail can get confusing at times, but this podcast is well worth investing time in. If, like me, you really want to understand how the history of Haiti unfolded, then I highly recommend this series.
Duncan’s current series is equally fascinating—he’s covering Simón Bolívar and Gran Colombia.