Futures in the presents: decolonial visions of the Haitian Revolution

Douglas, R. (2022) Futures in the presents: decolonial visions of the Haitian Revolution. Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 24(7), pp. 1029-1052. (doi: 10.1080/1369801X.2022.2080574)

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How to decolonize time from the perspective of the Caribbean, particularly Haiti? This essay tackles the question of decolonial temporalities in narratives of Haitian pasts, presents, and futures. For Caribbean historians, the past of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) provides a transformative set of coordinates for projecting anti- and decolonial visions. This essay pays special attention to the layered histories and temporal condensations entailed in James, Trouillot, and Casimir’s interventions. To discuss decolonial time, this essay analyzes a range of histories, dramas, literary texts, and oral storytelling. Connections across these different texts, and, especially, their various iterations over the decades will be used to explore the shifting understandings of time and historical change. The essay will illustrate how new visions of the past are understood through the changing lenses of the present. How, the essay asks, are imagined futures grounded in, shaped by, and how do they refashion in turn, historical pasts and contemporary presents? Rasanblaj – meaning gathering/reassembling/rebuilding in Haitian Kreyòl – is the central decolonial concept and process for this essay, which builds on Gina Athena Ulysse’s previous articulations. This essay’s argument links space to time and relates to the specific spaces of Haiti and the Caribbean, and to rewriting literary and historical narratives. Such is the power of rewriting and rasanblaj that they completely refashion any discussion of time and space in the postcolonial Caribbean literary and historiographical narratives discussed here.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This work was supported by Arts and Humanities Research Council: [grant number AH/I001662/1]; British Academy: [grant number SG-51932]; Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: [grant number SRG031526].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Douglas, Dr Rachel
Authors: Douglas, R.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Journal Name:Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-929X
Published Online:08 June 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 24(7): 1029-1052
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
167595Rewriting the Haitian Revolution - C.L.R. James's The Black Jacobins in ContextRachel DouglasArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/I001662/1Arts - French