Stories of Saint-Domingue, Stories of Haiti: Representing the Haitian Revolution, 1789–2009

Friday, October 30, 2009–Saturday, October 31, 2009
All Day

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

—a conference organized by Jeremy Popkin, University of Kentucky


The Haitian Revolution of 1791–1804 is increasingly recognized as one of the crucial moments in the struggle for freedom and equality. In the past two decades, the burgeoning scholarship on the events that led to the proclamation of the Western hemisphere’s second postcolonial republic in 1804, culminating the world’s first successful struggle of a population of color against white rule and slavery has radically changed our understanding of the Haitian Revolution. This conference brings together leading scholars from several countries and disciplines to look back at some of the ways in which the Haitian Revolution has been represented in history, literature, art and collective memory, starting with the narratives that circulated at the time and moving forward to the approaches represented in current scholarship. It provides an opportunity to consider the implications of scholarship on the Haitian Revolution for the understanding of the “age of revolutions” in general, the challenge of integrating Anglophone, Francophone, and Haitian scholarship on the subject, and the relationships between historical, literary, and artistic representations of the events in Haiti.

Session 1A: The New Look of the Haitian Revolution
Chair: Alyssa Sepinwall, California State University San Marcos

Jeremy D. Popkin, University of Kentucky
“The Unsilenced Story of the Haitian Revolution”

Sibylle Fischer, New York University
“The Abstract Nakedness of Being Human”

Session 1B: Toussaint Louverture as Memoirist and Biographical Subject

Daniel Desormeaux, University of Chicago
“The Unthinkable Revolution in Toussaint and Isaac Louverture’s Memoirs”

David Geggus, University of Florida
“Toussaint Louverture and His Biographers”

Session 2: Individual Narratives and the Haitian Revolution
Chair: Françoise Lionnet, University of California, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Colwill, San Diego State University
“Bearing Witness: Gendered Narratives of Re-enslavement”

James Alexander Dun, Princeton University
“Elizabeth Drinker’s Revolutions: ‘Shocking Doings’ in Early National Philadelphia”

Donald J. Cosentino, University of California, Los Angeles
“The Return of the Ginen Spirits: Re-imaging the Haitian Revolution in the Paintings of André Pierre and Edouard Duval-Carrié”

Doris L. Garraway, Northwestern University
“After the Revolution: Universalism, Equality, and Sovereignty in the Writings of Baron de Vastey, Secretary to the King of Haiti”

Session 3: Contemporary Historiography of the Haitian Revolution
Chair: Lynn Hunt, University of Calfornia, Los Angeles

Marcel Dorigny, Université de Paris-VIII
“Two Parallel Revolutions: Fifteen Years of Historiography on the Birth of Haiti—From the Bicentenary of the French Revolution to the Haitian Bicentenary of the Proclamation of Independence, 1989–2004”

John D. Garrigus, University of Texas at Arlington
“’L’Orgueil des Mulâtres’: Nineteenth-Century Accounts of Free Men of Color in the Haitian Revolution”

Franklin Midy, Université du Québec à Montréal
“The Haitian Revolution in Prefigurative, Postfigurative, and Plural Memory”