In this article, the authors examine the ways Haiti was depicted in anthropological writings during the twentieth century, using the concept of the «anthropological imagination», which they define as an assemblage of representations and practices in the conceptual system of anthropology and the discipline’s communicative interaction. The focus is on the work of the Haitian ethnologist Jean Price-Mars, the American anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits, and the French sociologist Roger Bastide, examining the professional, social, institutional, and political commitments that lead them to construct «Haiti» as a place situated in time through their theoretical elaborations. The mutual influence of these scholars and their place in the development of Afro-American anthropology are documented, and a dialectical perspective is used to locate and explain their thought and intellectual production.
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“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”
Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding
Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.
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" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "
The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.
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