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Hector Hyppolite, Henry Christophe, Courtesy Collection Musée Nader, Port-au-Prince

Hector Hyppolite, Henry Christophe, Courtesy Collection Musée Nader, Port-au-Prince

Events - Talks

International Conference, 1804 & Its Afterlives

Video Archived Online

07 Dec 2012 - 08 Dec 2012

1804 & Its Afterlives brings together international speakers whose path-breaking studies have challenged previous orthodoxies about the Haitian Revolution, its local and international repercussions, and its afterlives as inspiration for critical thought, cultural production and political change.

Speakers include Colin (aka Joan) Dayan, Barbara Browning, Michael Largey, Dick Geary, Martin Munro, Millery Polyné, Matthew J Smith, Nick Nesbitt. Supported by the University of Nottingham Institute for the Study of Slavery

In 1804 Haiti became the first black-led republic in the world and the first independent nation within Latin America & the Caribbean. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) is central to the experience of the Atlantic World, but colonial powers went to great lengths to absent it from the Age of Revolution. Uniquely, Haiti’s revolution was rooted in the self-liberation of African slaves, and this has produced a history shaped by silence, suppression and the production of phobias and clichés that continue to mark popular perceptions of the country. 1804 & Its Afterlives brings together international speakers whose path-breaking studies have challenged previous orthodoxies about the Haitian Revolution, its local and international repercussions, and its afterlives as inspiration for critical thought, cultural production and political change. Participating speakers include - Colin Dayan Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University Colin Dayan (also known as Joan Dayan), is the Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches American Studies, comparative literature, and the religious and legal history of the Americas. She has written extensively on prison law and torture, Caribbean culture and literary history, as well as on Haitian poetics, Edgar Allan Poe, and the history of slavery. Her most recent book, The Law is a White Dog (2011), inspired by the rules of the Haitian lwa (or spirits), argues for a re-interpretation of judicial sorcery. In Haiti, History, and the Gods (1995) Dayan investigated how Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. Uncovering a silenced, submerged past, she argued provocatively for the consideration of both Vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history. Barbara Browning Associate Professor, Performance Studies, NYU Haiti’s slave-led revolution generated fear that still-enslaved people on neighbouring US shores might be infected by a political consciousness. As Browning’s Infectious Rhythm (1998) analyses, the African cultural diaspora has continued to be represented in terms of metaphors of disease and contagion. Often imagined as an Africa within the Americas, Haiti has been the object of many of the more reactionary misrepresentations. Michael Largey Professor of Ethnomusicology, Michigan State University Enslaved people in colonial Haiti adopted the concept of nasyon (nation) into their evolving spiritual beliefs and practices and adapted it for their own revolutionary ends. Largey’s Vodou Nation (2006) examined how elements of Vodou music were used by elite composers to express understandings of nasyon from the 1890s through to the US military occupation of 1915-1934. Dick Geary Emeritus Professor of Modern History, University of Nottingham Former Director of ISOS, Geary has published extensively on European labour history before researching slave labour and unpaid work in Brazil and Western Europe, emphasising the role of ideology, religion, and ritual. He will examine the ambiguous repercussions of 1804 in Brazil, where slavery was finally abolished in 1888. Martin Munro Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Florida State University Munro’s Shaping and Reshaping the Caribbean (2000) focused on two crucial figures of Caribbean literature, Aime Cesaire and Rene Depestre, whose understandings of the region were influenced by the historical and cultural particularities of their respective island nations, Martinique and Haiti. Munro’s concern with the effect of exile on Depestre’s writing was later explored in Exile and Post-1946 Haitian Literature (2007) Millery Polyné Assistant Professor of American Studies, Gallatin School, NYU In From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti and Pan Americanism (2010) Polyné examined how, within the black diasporic imagination, pride in the Haitian Revolution is counterweighted by disappointment in the realities of Haitian poverty, political instability, and violence. Matthew J Smith Lecturer in History, University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica Smith’s Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change 1934-1957 (2009) is the first comprehensive political history of Haiti after US occupation. It argues that the period from 1934 to the rise of Francois Duvalier was modern Haiti's greatest moment of political promise. Nick Nesbitt Professor of French & Italian, Princeton University The Haitian Revolution was the first, in a modern state, to implement human rights universally and unconditionally. Nesbitt’s Universal Emancipation (2008) explores this fundamental event not only in relation to the Enlightenment, but also in relation to key thinkers, and trends, in contemporary political philosophy, including Ranciere, Laclau and Habermas and turns to ethics, human rights, and universalism. 1804 & Its Afterlives is supported by the University of Nottingham Institute for the Study of Slavery.

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