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:)
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.