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.
Registration is now open for this conference, to be held at Senate House, London, on 23 and 24 May this year.
The programme is varied, and encompasses academic presentations, ’roundtable’ discussions, and practical workshop sessions. For example, there’s a workshop entitled ‘Creating Memoirs and Recording Experience’ which will focus on how to produce podcasts and write memoirs.
The conference looks fascinating, but for those of us who can’t attend, it’s still worth taking a look at the programme. If a paper title sparks your interest, take a look at the presenter’s work online—that’s a great way to find out who is researching a particular issue, question or region.
As always, if any blog readers do attend the conference, let me know. It would be great to post a follow-up to the conference, or an individual paper or workshop.
This is a link to the conference web page and I’ve copied the programme below.
10.15-12.15 Title TBC: Roundtable discussion between Caribbean migrants to Britain. Chaired by Roderck Westmaas (Guyana Speaks).
13.00-14.30 Panel One: ‘Reconciling the Past: Memory and Testimony in the Caribbean and Beyond’.
Denise Noble (Birmingham City University), ‘The Decolonial Poetics of Memory and Re-Memorying’.
Kelly Delancy (National Museum of the Bahamas), ‘History to Heritage: A Heritage Assessment of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, The Bahamas’.
Joan Andzeuh Nche, (Goldsmiths, University of London), ‘Questioning Relation and the Poetics of Home in Derek Walcott’s The Arkansas Testament’.
14.30-15.30 Workshop One: Creating Memoirs and Recording Experience: This session on how to produce podcasts and write memoirs.
15.45-17.15 Panel Two: ‘The Transnational Caribbean: Sites of (Neo)Colonial Contact’.
Clara Rachel Eybalin Casséus (IMLR, University of London), ‘Debt and the Haitian Quake: Mapping Mobility Through the Memory of the French Port of La Rochelle’.
Simeon Simeonov (Brown University), ‘The Consular Caribbean in the Age of Revolution: The Role of US and British Consulates in the Spanish American Revolutions’.
Nadine Chambers (Independent Researcher), ‘Decolonial, Post-Colonial or Neo-Colonial? The Rocky, Hard Places Between First Peoples and Arrivants in the Caribbean and Beyond’.
17.15-18.15 Keynote: Matthew Smith (University of the West Indies, Mona), ‘Loving and Leaving the New Jamaica: Reckoning with the 1960s’.
10.00-11.30 Panel Three: ‘The Language of (De)Colonisation: Literature and Education’.
James Williams (Queen Mary University), ‘“More baká than border”: Shibboleths in Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’.
Marie Lily Cerat (The Graduate Center, City University of New York), ‘Decolonizing and (Re)Theorizing the Haitian Experience: Vision of a Haitian natifnatal Epistemology’.
Ruth Minott Egglestone (Independent Researcher), ‘Finding the Anancyesque in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the Decolonisation Project in Jamaica Between 1938 and 1958’.
11.45-12.45 Workshop Two: Organising for the Caribbean: session on how to campaign for change in the Caribbean.
13.30-15.00 Panel Four: ‘Arguing Around Decolonisation: De-colonial Futures’.
Karen Salt (University of Nottingham), ‘Decolonisation, States of Blackness and the Problem of Black Nullification’.
Laura Lomas (Rutgers University), ‘Lourdes Casal’s Decolonial Writing in Havana and New York’.
Miguel Gualdrón (DePaul University), ‘Memories of the Abyss: Glissant’s Philosophy of Caribbean History in the Context of Césaire and Fanon’.
15.15-16.15 Panel Five: ‘Shifting Perceptions of the Caribbean: Reconfiguring Family and Nation’.
Adom Philogene Heron (ILAS, University of London), ‘The Name of the Father in the Caribbean: Myth, Metaphor, Multiplicity’.
Maria A. Lee Strohmayer (Independent Researcher), ‘Curating the Nation: The Politics of Recognition in a Bahamian National Museum’.
16.15-16.45 Performance by Rubén Dávila, ‘El Vuelo del Golondrino’ on the experience of Caribbean and Andean migrants to New York.
16.45-17.45 Guest Speakers: Tina K. Ramnarine (Royal Holloway, University of London); William ‘Lez’ Henry (University of West London).
While doing some background research on the indigenous people of St.Vincent, I came across a great online exhibition on the King’s College London website. “The Paradise of the World:” conflict and society in the Caribbean” was originally held at KCL in 2011, but is now available as an online exhibition. This is such a great way to share resources and information—I love seeing exhibitions migrate from the real world to the online arena so that researchers can make use of the content for years afterwards.
The exhibition drew largely upon the holdings of the historical library collection of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and explored the history of the Caribbean region from the sixteenth century to 1900. Because the exhibition is based on British documentation and literature, the exhibition clearly approaches the Caribbean form the perspective of British interaction with the region. The exhibition provides an overview of Britain’s relationship with Spain as it relates to the Caribbean, international rivalry, the sugar trade and revolts and revolution in Jamaica and Haiti. and the development of the sugar industry and trade. In relation to indigenous peoples in the Caribbean (which is how I stumbled across the exhibition), there is a very good overview of indigenous peoples of Guyana and St.Vincent as well as some material on Jacques Du Tetre’s interaction with indigenous people in the region and his writings. Finally, the exhibition covers emancipation, and nineteenth century Caribbean colonial life.
This exhibition would be very useful for introductory research on the Caribbean (particularly the British Caribbean), and it includes a number of primary sources such as books, artwork and documentation which are available online. Click here to go to the KCL exhibition.
This is a short post to link to an article on the ‘We’re History’ site. The article is by Calvin Schermerhorn, an associate professor of history at Arizona State University, and traces the history of the role slavery has played in the production of sugar. The story begins in the Caribbean, and explores the way that the Haitian Revolution precipitated the production of sugar in North America. Follow this link to the article: ‘Sugar’s Bitter History’
The Newberry Library in Chicago has just uploaded most of its French Revolutionary pamphlet collection on Internet Archive. The collection consists of more than 30,000 French-language pamphlets and more than 23,000 issues of 180 periodicals published between 1780 and 1810. The collection represents the diversity of contemporary opinion – the voices of those opposed to and those defending the French monarchy during the Revolution are represented, together with a broad array of ephemeral publications of the early Republic. Most items in the collection were published in Paris, but there are also some publications from regional France.
For the Caribbeanist, the collection represents a free, online resource for studying reporting/opinions/perceptions of Saint Domingue (Haiti) as published in France. For example, a quick search of “Saint Domingue” returns 7 results, including this 1790 8-page news pamphlet.
This is a link to the French Revolutionary pamphlet collection on Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/newberryfrenchpamphlets&tab=collection
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, music, websites and more. The site is brilliant for anyone researching the past – millions of old books and other media are freely available.
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.