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Haiti's Paper WarPost-Independence Writing, Civil War, and the Making of the Republic, 1804-1954$
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Chelsea Stieber

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479802135

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479802135.001.0001

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The Second Empire of Haiti and the Exiled Republic

The Second Empire of Haiti and the Exiled Republic

Chapter:
(p.163) 5 The Second Empire of Haiti and the Exiled Republic
Source:
Haiti's Paper War
Author(s):

Chelsea Stieber

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479802135.003.0006

This chapter analyzes two concepts of “civilization”—the Western, dominant notion and its critique—at work and in tension between imperial Haiti and the republic-in-exile. Among exiled republicans, a refined, nonviolent notion of “civilization” and “culture” sought to cultivate and rehabilitate Haiti’s image in France. In imperial Haiti, on the other hand, Soulouque staked a challenge to the exclusionary, racialized notion of “civilization” itself through an active cultivation of popular religion and culture. A first section analyzes the role of visual and popular culture in Soulouque’s empire as part of the Dessalinean heritage of citation, iteration, and critique of the concept of Western civilization or “modernity.” Next, it consider the parallel—but opposite—effort among exiled republicans to allegorize and retell the story of the founding of the Haitian republic precisely according to the dominant norm of Western civilization, establishing Haiti’s parentage with the French Revolution and the liberal Enlightenment values of 1789. Ultimately, the chapter reveals that the form of the Haitian state and the heritage of 1804 were still highly contested well into the mid-nineteenth century.

Keywords:   empire, civilization, Faustin Soulouque, caricature, allegory, liberal Enlightenment, 1789

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