** Due to the weather advisory for Thursday, February 9, this event has been postponed until a later date this semester. **
After insurgent slaves in Saint-Domingue proclaimed the colony’s independence from France in 1804, France refused to recognize the new state of Haiti. When it finally did so in 1825, it was with gunboats outside Haitian harbors, and in exchange favorable terms of trade and an indemnity to be paid to the former planters. Although the French king and his advisors intended the indemnity to bring liquidity into the hands of a class deemed essential to restoration politics, it did not achieve this goal. While the indemnity paid to British former slave-owners after the abolition of 1833 served in part as venture capital for British industrial expansion, the Haitian indemnity and other payments to former planters cultivated a different legacy of slave-ownership: a preoccupation with lost grandeur and a politics of resentment. The paper explores the more than century-long process of “decolonizing” Saint-Domingue and its significance for the culture of French imperialism.
This talk will feature a pre-circulated paper. If you are interested in
attending, please request a copy of the paper in advance from the study
group’s Graduate Student Coordinator James McSpadden.