Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution / Edition 1

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution / Edition 1

by Sibylle Fischer, Fischer, Sibylle Fischer
     
 


Modernity Disavowed is a pathbreaking study of the cultural, political, and philosophical significance of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Revealing how the radical antislavery politics of this seminal event have been suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two hundred years, Sibylle Fischer contends thatSee more details below

Overview


Modernity Disavowed is a pathbreaking study of the cultural, political, and philosophical significance of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Revealing how the radical antislavery politics of this seminal event have been suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two hundred years, Sibylle Fischer contends that revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal are central to the formation and understanding of Western modernity. She develops a powerful argument that the denial of revolutionary antislavery eventually became a crucial ingredient in a range of hegemonic thought, including Creole nationalism in the Caribbean and G. W. F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.

Fischer draws on history, literary scholarship, political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory to examine a range of material, including Haitian political and legal documents and nineteenth-century Cuban and Dominican literature and art. She demonstrates that at a time when racial taxonomies were beginning to mutate into scientific racism and racist biology, the Haitian revolutionaries recognized the question of race as political. Yet, as the cultural records of neighboring Cuba and the Dominican Republic show, the story of the Haitian Revolution has been told as one outside politics and beyond human language, as a tale of barbarism and unspeakable violence. From the time of the revolution onward, the story has been confined to the margins of history: to rumors, oral histories, and confidential letters. Fischer maintains that without accounting for revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal, Western modernity—including its hierarchy of values, depoliticization of social goals having to do with racial differences, and privileging of claims of national sovereignty—cannot be fully understood.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822332909
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
03/01/2004
Series:
John Hope Franklin Center Book Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,376,548
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : truncations of modernity1
Pt. ICuba
1The deadly hermeneutics of the trial of Jose Antonio Aponte41
2Civilization and barbarism : Cuban wall painting57
3Beyond national culture, the abject : the case of Placido77
4Cuban antislavery narratives and the origins of literary discourse107
Pt. IISanto Domingo / the Dominican Republic
5Memory, trauma, history131
6Guilt and betrayal in Santo Domingo155
7What do the Haitians want?169
8Fictions of literary history180
Pt. IIISaint Domingue / Haiti
9Literature and the theater of revolution201
10"General liberty, or the planters in Paris"214
11Foundational fictions : postrevolutionary constitutions I227
12Life in the kingdom of the north245
13Liberty and reason of state : postrevolutionary constitutions II260
App. AImperial constitution of Haiti, 1805275

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