“Caribbean Ethnobotany Before Roumain: Eugène Nau’s Nineteenth-Century Contribution to an Understanding of the ‘Indian Flora of Haiti.’” Caribbean Quarterly, 63.4 (2017): 467-483.
Scholars have critiqued the lack of methodological rigor in Jacques Roumain’s writing on Amerindian plant use of the Pre-Columbian period. Though important, these critiques have neglected the continuities between Roumain and nineteenth century Haitian botanical thought. I argue that the brief text, “Flore indienne d’Haïti” (1854), by Eugène Nau, provides a genealogy for Roumain’s use of plants as the means by which a non-biological identification between the Taino and Haitians could be strengthened. Drawing on Foucault and recent histories of colonial Caribbean botany, I further examine the epistemological tensions between indigenous nomenclature and European botanical practice in Nau’s text.
Bixa orellena. Image courtesy of Mokkie [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons.
“Nous l’avons gardée en nous la tranche blanche: Rethinking the time of the Haitian Flag in J.F. Brierre’s Le drapeau de demain (1931)”. Journal of Haitian Studies 23, no. 1 (2017): 35-58.
Despite a thorough debunking by non-partisan historians, it is still widely believed that the Haitian flag was created by Dessalines at the Archaie Conference on May 18, 1803. Today, this mythic gesture is commemorated as the beginning of a project of national union amongst Haitians and a clear call to anticolonial action against the French. Aided by readings of Jean F. Brierre’s occupation-era, Le drapeau de demain (1931), I ask the question of just what is at stake in this “invented tradition,” not only for Haitians but for an understanding of Haitian history itself.
“Atabey, Yucayequey, Caney: 6000 ans d’aménagement territorial préhispanique sur l’île d’Ayiti (Review)”. Journal of Haitian Studies 21, no. 2 (2015): 372-375.
“The World of the Haitian Revolution (Review).” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. 11, no. 3 (2010): n. pag. Web.