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Haiti, history, and the gods /
Joan Dayan.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
description
xxiii, 339 p. : ill.
ISBN
0520089006 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
isbn
0520089006 (alk. paper)
general note
"Centennial book."
catalogue key
1569424
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"By viewing Revolutionary-era Haiti through the lenses of gender and sexuality, Joan Dayan breathes life into an important slice of history."--Karen McCarthy Brown, author ofMama Lola
Flap Copy
"By viewing Revolutionary-era Haiti through the lenses of gender and sexuality, Joan Dayan breathes life into an important slice of history."--Karen McCarthy Brown, author of Mama Lola
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-06-01:
Dayan (English, Univ. of Arizona) examines the complexities of religion and politics in Revolutionary-era Haiti from the perspective of gender studies and sexuality. She draws on often-neglected sources such as legal documents, religious works, memoirs, letters, and fictional portrayals to chart what she sees as the "cultural imagination" of Saint-Dominique in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She successfully introduces a human dimension to her work that illuminates colonial and postcolonial Haiti, and also sheds new light on contemporary Haitian politics. Dayan argues that the most horrific spirits of Haitian folk belief are deeply rooted in the brutality of the slave experience itself, and that changes in Vodun offer ample evidence for slave resistance and creativity. Images of Haiti, the author contends, have shaped and were shaped by dominant Western ideals of "civilization" and "savagery." Dayan's prose is elegant and evocative. Her book constitutes a seminal contribution to the study of Haiti and is must reading for Caribbeanists. It also should be of interest to historians, anthropologists, and literary critics. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. D. Glazier University of Nebraska at Kearney
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1996
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Summaries
Long Description
In Haiti, History, and the Gods, Joan Dayan charts the cultural imagination of Haiti not only by reconstructing the island's history but by highlighting ambiguities and complexities that have been ignored. She investigates the confrontational space in which Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. Dayan's ambitious project is a research tour de force that gives human dimensions to this eighteenth-century French colony and provides a template for understanding the Haiti of today. In examining the complex social fabric of French Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 became Haiti, Dayan uncovers a silenced, submerged past. Instead of relying on familiar sources to reconstruct Haitian history, she uses a startling diversity of voices that have previously been unheard. Many of the materials recovered here--overlooked or repressed historical texts, legal documents, religious works, secret memoirs, letters, and literary fictions--have never been translated into English. Others, such as Marie Vieux Chauvet's radical novel of vodou, Fonds des Negrave;gres, are seldom used as historical sources. Dayan also argues provocatively for the consideration of both vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history. Her scholarship is enriched by the insights she has gleaned from conversations and experiences during her many trips to Haiti over the past twenty years. Taken together, the material presented in Haiti, History, and the Gods not only restores a lost chapter of Haitian history but suggests necessary revisions to the accepted histories of the New World.
Main Description
In Haiti, History, and the Gods,Joan Dayan charts the cultural imagination of Haiti not only by reconstructing the island's history but by highlighting ambiguities and complexities that have been ignored. She investigates the confrontational space in which Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. Dayan's ambitious project is a research tour de force that gives human dimensions to this eighteenth-century French colony and provides a template for understanding the Haiti of today. In examining the complex social fabric of French Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 became Haiti, Dayan uncovers a silenced, submerged past. Instead of relying on familiar sources to reconstruct Haitian history, she uses a startling diversity of voices that have previously been unheard. Many of the materials recovered here--overlooked or repressed historical texts, legal documents, religious works, secret memoirs, letters, and literary fictions--have never been translated into English. Others, such as Marie Vieux Chauvet's radical novel of vodou, Fonds des Nègres, are seldom used as historical sources. Dayan also argues provocatively for the consideration of both vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history. Her scholarship is enriched by the insights she has gleaned from conversations and experiences during her many trips to Haiti over the past twenty years. Taken together, the material presented in Haiti, History, and the Godsnot only restores a lost chapter of Haitian history but suggests necessary revisions to the accepted histories of the New World.
Unpaid Annotation
Charting the cultural imagination of Haiti, Joan Dayan argues for the recognition of both vodou rituals and narrative fictions as repositories of history. A research tour de force, this work gives human dimensions to the eighteenth-century French colony and provides a template for understanding the Haiti of today."A voluminous, interdisciplinary treatment of diverse aspects of Haiti's history and culture....An original and provocative discussion of several topics, among them the Vaudou religion, colonial society in St. Domingue, the depiction of women, the mythification of Haiti, the rehabilitation of the novelist Marie Chauvet and much, much more". -- J. M. Dash, Slavery and Abolition
Table of Contents
Prologue
Acknowledgments
Note on Orthography
Rituals of Historyp. 3
Fictions of Haitip. 77
Last Days of Saint-Dominguep. 143
Gothic Americasp. 187
Chronologyp. 267
Notesp. 287
Indexp. 329
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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