Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (A John Hope Franklin Center Book)

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9780822332909: Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (A John Hope Franklin Center Book)
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Modernity Disavowed is a pathbreaking study of the cultural, political, and philosophical significance of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Revealing how the radical antislavery politics of this seminal event have been suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two hundred years, Sibylle Fischer contends that revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal are central to the formation and understanding of Western modernity. She develops a powerful argument that the denial of revolutionary antislavery eventually became a crucial ingredient in a range of hegemonic thought, including Creole nationalism in the Caribbean and G. W. F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.

Fischer draws on history, literary scholarship, political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory to examine a range of material, including Haitian political and legal documents and nineteenth-century Cuban and Dominican literature and art. She demonstrates that at a time when racial taxonomies were beginning to mutate into scientific racism and racist biology, the Haitian revolutionaries recognized the question of race as political. Yet, as the cultural records of neighboring Cuba and the Dominican Republic show, the story of the Haitian Revolution has been told as one outside politics and beyond human language, as a tale of barbarism and unspeakable violence. From the time of the revolution onward, the story has been confined to the margins of history: to rumors, oral histories, and confidential letters. Fischer maintains that without accounting for revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal, Western modernity—including its hierarchy of values, depoliticization of social goals having to do with racial differences, and privileging of claims of national sovereignty—cannot be fully understood.

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Review:

"Recommended."
--Y. Fuentes, "CHOICE"

"A remarkable new book. . . . "Modernity Disavowed" is a deeply challenging, philosophically fluent book. . . ."
--Deborah Jensen, "Interventions"

"[T]his is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking work that combines bold generalization with a profusion of arresting detail and ingenious argument."
--David Geggus, "The Americas"

"[W]ell-researched and quite informative for Caribbean scholars across disciplines. The author's re-examination of the modifications of Haitian constitutions is profound indeed."
--Millery Polyne," Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History"

"To write an over-three-hundred-page text based on traces, inaccuracies, and silence is, to say the least, a daunting endeavor. Yet it is a task that Sibylle Fischer handles masterfully in Modernity Disavowed."
--Kaiama L. Glover," Research in African Literatures"

"Fischer brings together an immense amount of material to examine the unique circumstances of Haiti's emergence as a nation, the profound wounds that this process left in its collective psyche, and the ways in which these events affected external perceptions."
--Foreign Affairs

"[T]his work stands out because of the author's approach: in a field dominated by historians, Fischer turns to literary criticism. Consequently, she brings novel theoretical and methodological tools to bear on interpretations of this seminal event...."
--Ashli White, "New West Indian Guide"

""Modernity Disavowed" is a decisively original contribution to Caribbean studies that is not likely to be surpassed in the future, but it also transforms and enriches our understanding of modernity, of the alternatives within it and the multiple ways in which they have been silenced." (Translated from the Italian)
--Sandro Mezza, "Studi culturali"

"Sibylle Fischer . . . has written a most provocative book about the image of the Haitian Revolution in the literature of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti itself. . . . [A] work that will cause historians and literature scholars to rethink accepted interpretations of the Haitian Revolution and its influence."
--James A. Lewis," History: Reviews of New Books"

"While Fischer's analytical compass finds its proverbial north in the region of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, her recovery of archived material--from colonial muralscapes to revolutionary documents and literature--reveals a series of discursive revolutionary ripples that emanate far beyond these shores."
--Frederick Luis Aldama, "Latin American Research Review"

Review:

“Modernity Disavowed is a superior work. It is not only important but also needed.”—Alicia Ríos, coeditor of The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader

“Modernity Disavowed is a tour de force. This magnificent work is the best book on its subject and at the forefront of a new wave of scholarship that is already transforming both the study of the Caribbean and the study of modernity. I fully expect it to become a classic in its field.”—Lewis R. Gordon, author of Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Modernity Disavowed is a pathbreaking study of the cultural, political, and philosophical significance of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Revealing how the radical antislavery politics of this seminal event have been suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two hundred years, Sibylle Fischer contends that revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal are central to the formation and understanding of Western modernity. She develops a powerful argument that the denial of revolutionary antislavery eventually became a crucial ingredient in a range of hegemonic thought, including Creole nationalism in the Caribbean and G. W. F. Hegel s master-slave dialectic.Fischer draws on history, literary scholarship, political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory to examine a range of material, including Haitian political and legal documents and nineteenth-century Cuban and Dominican literature and art. She demonstrates that at a time when racial taxonomies were beginning to mutate into scientific racism and racist biology, the Haitian revolutionaries recognized the question of race as political. Yet, as the cultural records of neighboring Cuba and the Dominican Republic show, the story of the Haitian Revolution has been told as one outside politics and beyond human language, as a tale of barbarism and unspeakable violence. From the time of the revolution onward, the story has been confined to the margins of history: to rumors, oral histories, and confidential letters. Fischer maintains that without accounting for revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal, Western modernity-including its hierarchy of values, depoliticization of social goals having to do with racial differences, and privileging of claims of national sovereignty-cannot be fully understood. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822332909

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Book Description Duke University Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Modernity Disavowed is a pathbreaking study of the cultural, political, and philosophical significance of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Revealing how the radical antislavery politics of this seminal event have been suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two hundred years, Sibylle Fischer contends that revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal are central to the formation and understanding of Western modernity. She develops a powerful argument that the denial of revolutionary antislavery eventually became a crucial ingredient in a range of hegemonic thought, including Creole nationalism in the Caribbean and G. W. F. Hegel s master-slave dialectic.Fischer draws on history, literary scholarship, political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory to examine a range of material, including Haitian political and legal documents and nineteenth-century Cuban and Dominican literature and art. She demonstrates that at a time when racial taxonomies were beginning to mutate into scientific racism and racist biology, the Haitian revolutionaries recognized the question of race as political. Yet, as the cultural records of neighboring Cuba and the Dominican Republic show, the story of the Haitian Revolution has been told as one outside politics and beyond human language, as a tale of barbarism and unspeakable violence. From the time of the revolution onward, the story has been confined to the margins of history: to rumors, oral histories, and confidential letters. Fischer maintains that without accounting for revolutionary antislavery and its subsequent disavowal, Western modernity-including its hierarchy of values, depoliticization of social goals having to do with racial differences, and privileging of claims of national sovereignty-cannot be fully understood. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780822332909

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