Paper Proposal Accepted

I just received word that my paper proposal for the upcoming annual conference of the Caribbean Philosophical Association has been accepted. The conference will take place on August 12-15, 2009 at the beautiful campus of the University of Miami . Yes , I’m going to Miami:)

Paper Abstract

The Haitian Revolution: The Poetics of Memory and Representation in Cesairian Negritude

By Celucien L. Joseph

Negritude as an intellectual movement provided a sophisticated way of thinking about continental Africa and articulating the Black diasporic experience. Aime Cesaire, in particular, celebrates the memory of the Haitian Revolution by proclaiming that “Haiti is where Negritude stood up for the first time and declared its belief in its own humanity.” The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 led by Haiti’s foremost general, Toussaint Louverture, was arguably the only successfully slave revolution in the Western Hemisphere, and has become a symbol of anticolonial revolt and human dignity. As Michel-Roloph Trouillot has argued, it has, nevertheless, been suppressed in Western discourse because it was “unthinkable.” In this regard, Cesaire’s idea of negritude has a strong affinity with the Haitian Revolution, a peculiar event that is inescapable in Western imagination, also one that anticipates universal emancipation, gives birth to human rights and celebrates racial equality. This also suggests that the Haitian experience articulated in Cesaire’s work, is the connecting bridge in understanding the relationship between colonial politics and postcolonial discourse. This project focuses on two issues: first, it investigates the meaning of Cesaire’s philosophy of Negritude; second, it endeavors to answer the question: what is the relationship between Cesaire’ construction of “Negritude” to the Haitian Revolution? Further, we venture to explore how the Haitian Revolution is remembered and represented in Cesaire’s aesthetic vision, that is, the historical significance of the event and its implications, and how the Haitian experience has informed Cesaire’s Negritude theory in his assertion of black consciousness and black humanity.


John Hope Franklin Dies

Reported by ASALH

John Hope Franklin, the scholar who was a pioneer in the field of African American history and dominated it for nearly six decades, has died at the age of 94.
Franklin, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, was a scholar who brought intellectual rigor as well as an engaged passion to his work. He wrote about history – one of his books, From Slavery to Freedom, is considered a core text on the African American experience, more than 60 years after its publication – and he lived it. Franklin worked on the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case, joined protestors in a 1965 march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Ala. and headed President Clinton’s 1997 National Advisory Board on Race.
Though Dr. Franklin gained national recognition for his work on President Clinton’s 1997 task force on race, his reputation as a scholar was made in 1947 with the publication of his book, “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” which is still considered the definitive account of the black experience in America.
At the 92nd Annual ASALH convention, we had the privilege of honoring Dr. Franklin and this seminal work. Conventioneers and the public were treated to conversations and special moments with Dr. Franklin who relayed stories from his life that helped to shape him into the scholar that he became.

He received more than 130 honorary degrees, and served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the American Studies Association, the Southern Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and was a Life Member of ASALH, former ASALH National Vice President, and a member of the ASALH Advisory Board until his death.

The Executive Council of ASALH is proud to say that we had the honor to work with and know Dr. John Hope Franklin and it is with sad and heavy hearts that we give him back to the Lord. “Dr. Franklin never waivered in his support for ASALH,” said Sylvia Cyrus, ASALH Executive Director. “Recently he lent his voice to the ASALH project “Freedom’s Song” on the Tulsa Race Riots. Through this video generations will continue to learn from Dr. Franklin, a tireless educator and dignified American.” “We have lost a strong supporter and a dear friend,” said Dr. John E. Fleming, ASALH National President. “He has left a void in the world of history that will not soon be filled.” There will be a celebration of his life and of his late wife Aurelia Franklin at 11 a.m. June 11 in Duke Chapel in honor of their 69th wedding anniversary.
– The Officers, Executive Council, and Advisory Board of ASALH “Founders of Black History Month”

The Haitian Revolution and the Question of Race

I recently acquired some new books on the Haitian Revolution for an upcoming conference. I will be given a paper at UTD’s Graduate School Symposium in April. I will look at the Haitian Revolution from a race relations perspective. I will argue that the Haitian Revolution anticipated universal emancipation and gave birth to ( universal) human rights and dignity in the Western Hemisphere. Further, I will suggest that the idea of 1804, which preceded a tremendous racial divide, then subsequent racial harmony & reconciliation between the two groups: African blacks and mulattoes in Saint- Domigue, could serve as a model for race relations and the celebration of racial equality.

Acquired Book List:

Tree of Liberty: Cultural Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, Doris L. Garrawy (ed).

From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti, David Nicholls.

Slave Revolution in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, Laurent Dubois

Before Haiti: Race and Citizenship in French Saint-Domingue, John D. Garrigus

The Renaissance of Haitian Poetry, Naomi M. Garrett

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, Sibylle Fischer

Haitian Revolutionary Studies, David Patrick Geggus

Anthologie de la nouvelle poesie negre et malgache de la langue francaise, Leopold Sedar Senghor

Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment, Nick Nesbitt

Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection, Jeremy D. Popkin

The Other America: Carribean Literature in a New World Context, J. Michael Dash

The Making of Haiti, Carolyn E. Fick

The Libertine Colony: Creolozation in the Early French Carribean, Doris Garraway

The Idea of Race: Readings in Philosophy, Robert Bernascomi and Tommy L. Lott

Race: The History of an Idea in the West, Ivan Hannaford.