Publications and Presentations in Progress

Book Chapters Submitted for Review:

“What shall I be called in the future?” : Subverting Expectations of Taino Tragedy in Edwidge Danticat’s Anacaona: Golden Flower

Articles Being Revised: 

“In the Shadow of Toussaint Louverture: Averting Tragedy in Henri Chauvet’s La Fille du Kacik”

Massacre of Queen Anacaona and her subjects
Massacre of Queen Anacaona and Her Subjects (1598)

An understanding of tragedy has proved critical to scholars working on Haitian history or its representation in Caribbean literature. This scholarship, however, has typically centered on the tragic figures of the Haitian Revolution (Toussaint Louverture), or on the early post-Independence period (Henri Christophe). This paper focuses instead on Haitian literary representations of Hispaniola’s indigenous period (1492-1530s), since these texts have been understood as tragic quasi-allegories of the Haitian Revolution. In this paper, I analyze the play, La fille du Kacik (The Daughter of the Taino Chief) (1894), in light of recent work on tragedy by David Scott and others. Specifically, I argue that the play disrupts tragic expectations for this period throughout, most notably by reading the central Taino chief, Kaonabo, as the allegorical double of Dessalines. This reframing of Haiti’s indigenous past as an anticolonial success, I contend, speaks specifically to the limits of Haitian anticolonial discourse after Independence.

Article Manuscripts in Progress: 

Haiti: Daughter of Columbus or Caonabo?

Bierstadt Albert The Landing of Columbus
The Landing of Columbus (1893), Albert Bierstadt

In this paper I read the play, La fille du Kacik (1894) as a reflection on the commemoration of the fourth centennial of Columbus’s discovery (1892), the upcoming centennial of Haitian independence (1904), and recent U.S. attempts to acquire land for a coaling station on Haitian soil (1889-1892). While Michel-Rolph Trouillot produced an account of what Columbus Day had come to mean for Spain, the United States, and Latin America in the 1890s, he did not explain what commemorations of “discovery” might have meant for Haitians, who identified with the anticolonial struggles of the indigenous people of Hispaniola. Drawing on my reading of the play, I highlight the conflicted responses that Haitians produced to narratives of European discovery and conquest during a period of increasing U.S. colonial aspirations in the Caribbean. This analysis suggests that the body of Haitian literature inspired by the indigenous Taino in the 1890s should be read as part of a Haitian response to the commemorations of the fourth centennial of Columbus taking place throughout the Atlantic World. La fille du Kacik reveals not only an ambivalence about modernity, but an explicit connection between Haitian commemorations of Columbus and Haitian independence.

“Archiving Taino Haiti in Frédéric Burr-Reynaud’s Poèmes Quisquéyens (1926)”

Upcoming Conference Presentations: 

Haitian Studies Association Conference 2018 (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
“Haiti: Daughter of Columbus or of the indigenous Caonabo? Commemorating the fourth centennial of Columbus’s landing in Henri Chauvet’s La fille du Kacik (1894)”

Modern Language Association Conference 2019 (Chicago, United States)
“The Day Modernity Came to Europe, According to Haiti: Demesvar Delorme’s Francesca (1872) and the Games of Literary Fate”

Recent Conference Presentations: 

Caribbean Studies Conference 2017 (Nassau, Bahamas)
“Archiving Quisqueya: Taino culture as Haitian patrimony in Frédéric Burr-Reynaud’s Poèmes quisquéyens (1926)”

Reyes CSA 2017

Les chercheurs qui travaillent sur Haïti ont tendance à interpréter la dénomination d’« Haïti »–un mot d’origine amérindienne—comme une action de restitution anticoloniale qui a servi à lier les populations haïtienne et amérindienne. Or, il existe très peu d’analyses des implications de cette préoccupation pour la période amérindienne dans l’imaginaire littéraire haïtien. Cette intervention analyse le recueil, Poèmes quisquéyens [Poèmes de Quisquéya (Haïti indigène)] (1926) de Frédéric Burr-Reynaud non comme une réponse tiède à l’occupation états-unienne d’Haïti, mais comme élément d’une archive littéraire vaste qui cherchait à conserver des fragments de l’histoire et du savoir culturel amérindiens. J’allègue que le texte de Burr-Reynaud fonction comme tradition, cherchant à répéter et à intégrer ce passé amérindien dans un patrimoine vivant haïtien.