sa mwen te ekri

Publications

Forthcoming Publications: 

“‘What will I be Called in the Future?’: Subverting Expectations of Taíno Tragedy in Edwidge Danticat’s Anacaona: Golden Flower (2005).” Children’s Literature of the Caribbean and its Diaspora, edited by Betsy Nies and Melissa Garcia Vega, University of Mississippi Press, 2020.

“Haitian Indigeneity Before Africa: Commemorating Columbus and Dessalines in Henri Chauvet’s La fille du Kacik (1894).” Research in African Literatures, 51.1 (2020).

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.

Recent Publications: 

“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.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00086495.2017.1392175

Annatto_(Bixa_orellana)_6 (see attribution)
Bixa orellana

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.

https://doi.org/10.1353/jhs.2017.0001

500px-Flag_of_Haiti.svg
Flag of Haiti

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.

Book Reviews:

“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.
https://doi.org/10.1353/jhs.2016.0003

“The World of the Haitian Revolution (Review).” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. 11, no. 3 (2010): n. pag. Web.
https://doi.org/10.1353/cch.2010.0018