Jean Casimir, Professor of Humanities at the University of Haiti, will discuss the current situation in Haiti and present his new book, The Haitians: A Decolonial History.
In this sweeping history, Casimir argues that the story of Haiti should not begin with the usual image of Saint-Domingue as the richest colony of the eighteenth century. Rather, it begins with a reconstruction of how individuals from Africa, in the midst of the golden age of imperialism, created a sovereign society based on political imagination and a radical rejection of the colonial order, persisting even through the U.S. occupation in 1915.
The Haitians also critically retheorizes the very nature of slavery, colonialism, and sovereignty. Here, Casimir centers the perspectives of Haiti's moun andeyo—the largely African-descended rural peasantry. Asking how these systematically marginalized and silenced people survived in the face of almost complete political disenfranchisement, Casimir identifies what he calls a counter-plantation system.
Professor Casimir's talk will open with an introduction by Deborah Jenson, Professor of Romance Studies at Duke, and will conclude with commentary from Walter Mignolo, William Hane Wannamaker Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies at Duke.
Jean Casimir is Professor of Humanities at the University of Haiti. He also served as Haitian ambassador to the United States and as a United Nations official. He visited CLACS as a Mellon Visiting Professor in Spring 2010. He is author of Haiti et ses elites. Also, his book The Haitians: A Decolonial History was recently published in the Latin America in Translation Series sponsored by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in partnership with UNC Press and Duke University Press.
This event is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center, the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.