Springe direkt zu Inhalt

The literary discourse over the Haitian revolution in French literature and Caribbean literature in the 19th Century


Institute for Latin American Studies

Research Team:


The project examines late 18th and 19th century literary texts which take into account, reconstruct, comment and are set in reference with the events of the slave rebellion of Santo Domingo and the Haitian revolution (1791-1804). In the work's center questions of the negotiation and representation of conflict and the aesthetic treatment of violence in literary texts.

The analysis views the Haitian revolution as trans-Atlantic, trans-national, trans-cultural, and rich in symbolic dimensions.  Colonial relationships to be explored include the importation of French revolutionary ideals and the colonial relationships of France and Santo Domingo/Haiti, the Caribbean and Latin America as well as the Caribbean the USA. Examination of the Haitian revolution and constitution and the multiplier effects this revolution had on other Latin American independence efforts, including literary and media representations in the Caribbean, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. Additional topics include a revisionary analysis of the popular view that political actors and citizens were confused over the events and deterred from its violence and cruelty as well as exploration of a broader interpretation of the debate in France, extending beyond the colonial question, slavery, and revolution ideals, but also and perhaps more fundamentally the determination of the self through the demarcation of the others in shape of the white Colonists vis-a-vis the not-white population and slaves.

Among the central interpretive principles is the complication of anti-colonial struggle, "racist" revolution, and the constitution of civic subject forms through race and class.

Although of both epochal and continental importance, few 19th century texts exist, and therefore, research will be based on literary texts investigated in the broader sense, including studies of novels, memoirs, biographies, and summarizations as well as essays, journey reports, diary recordings and letters.

This project contributes to contemporary research on the aesthetic treatment of conflict and violence and is being conducted in cooperation with others. In its examination of civil war conflicts, it explores the roots of nation formation, which positions the concepts of civil war and revolution together, as well as the entanglement of European and Caribbean history.