This dissertation analyzes the social and political history of Haitian peasants and the formation of the brutally repressive Duvalier dictatorship. It establishes that the rise of the dictatorship was the result of a political trajectory shaped by historical processes. In post- emancipated Haiti during the nineteenth century, thousands of peasants, who were formerly enslaved, joined the military and participated in insurrections to achieve high status and social mobility.
Haiti is among the poorest nations in the world and it is the single poorest country in the western hemisphere. Yet, Haiti once possessed the exact opposite connotation. Haiti was once the French colony of Saint-Domingue, the wealthiest, most profitable colony in the world. Saint-Domingue was France's most prized possession and it became the prime destination for fortune seeking Frenchmen.
Historical studies have set up a paradox where religious practices are discussed as socially important to enslaved people while simultaneously are described as peripheral to the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution. Yet at the heart of the lead up to the 1791 insurgency was an Afro-Caribbean religious event called the Bois-Caiman ceremony.
This dissertation examines Haiti'ʹs crucial role in the re-making of the Atlantic World in the early 19th century. The point of departure for this work is Haiti’s Declaration of Independence in 1804 and my research explores how events in Haiti raised profound questions about revolutionary legitimacy and national sovereignty.
This dissertation examines the nineteenth-century French debate on slavery and emancipation by analyzing its engagement with the antislavery legacies of the French Revolution and the Haitian Revolution. In revising the prior historiography’s preoccupation with the influence of the benchmark British example, it contends that the impacts of revolutionary abolition formed another vital factor in shaping French abolitionism and emancipation.
“A Tragedy of Success!” is a close engagement with the ongoing artistic turn to Haiti and its revolution within the Caribbean literary imaginary. It argues that twentieth and twenty-first writers of the region are drawn to the nation and its Upheaval precisely because the striking incongruity of Haiti’s revolutionary past and postcolonial present vividly discloses how the modern Caribbean experience is profoundly shaped by the ceaseless play of radical change (conquest, colonialism and anti-colonial revolution) and debilitating communal crisis.
This dissertation is a study of a society in crisis enmeshed in the vicious circle of socioeconomic stagnation. It seeks to point out the causes and effects of underdevelopment as they pertain to Haiti.