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