Sa m ap ekri

Publications 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 Submitted for Review: 

Haitian Indigeneity Before Africa: Commemorating Columbus and Dessalines in Henri Chauvet’s La fille du Kacik (1894)

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

This essay responds to skepticism about the usefulness of emplotment as a means of analyzing literary representations of the Haitian Revolution. This paper further contributes to a growing scholarly interest in the relationship between Haitian claims of Caribbean indigeneity and the development of Haitian nationalism in the nineteenth century. Throughout the essay, I contend that Haiti’s participation in commemorations of Columbus (1892-1893), and preparations for the commemoration of Dessalines for the centennial of Independence (1904) imposed powerful narrative constraints on literary retellings of indigenous Hispaniola. To arrive at this position, I analyze the triangular allegorical structure of Henri Chauvet’s play La fille du Kacik (1894), which portrays a Taino victory over the Spanish in 1493, as the historical parallel to 1804 and a contemporary Haiti concerned about U.S. annexation. This analysis reveals both the malleability of Haiti’s indigenous period and the dangers in silencing the tragedies of the colonial past.

“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.

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