Santa Barbara of Samaná, 1869: the imperial gaze.

I am also finding my hard-drive swelling with illustrations which I cannot yet use in publications.  Hopefully, by sharing them here, these historical documents will soon find themselves useful to others.  The picture below, which appeared in the Harper’s Weekly (1869), in the eve of the 1870-71 Annexation Treaty with the U.S., illustrates a couple of lines I wrote in my book’s epilogue:

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Samaná shifted in the world’s imagination from a presqu’île with a useful gulf to a bay with a funky peninsula attached to it. This conceptual turn was the work of the Atlantic print culture (blogosphere) becoming progressively fascinated with the Samaná harbor. Foreigners invoked the term “Samaná Bay” even when they had the peninsula in mind, referring to it as an exceptional harbor that shortsighted Dominicans were ready to trade for temporary debt-relief.

Santa Barbara of Samaná, 1869.

Santa Barbara of Samaná, 1869.

The main purpose of this picture was to sell a particular image of Samaná to the public in the United States.

Notice that the view comes from the hill behind to the little town of Santa Barara of Samaná, and that the little cozy harbor lacks the walking bridge that today connects the islets. Like with any conqueror’s depiction, the purpose is not to highlight the human element, but to bring attention to natural resources. The obvious fertility is to show potential U.S. investors and speculators that their crops would yield good returns.  The little harbor here appears larger than what it really was (since then, it has been prepared for larger ships).  The message was that it would welcome all types of ships.  The people’s houses (or huts) are almost invisible because the fewer the better: more space for new buildings and northern settlers wanting to exploit the region’s natural resources.

Advertisements

Theses and Dissertations– Bibliography of the 1824 migration to Haiti

Screen-shot-2010-09-18-at-11.47.30-AM

 

 

 

I thought about putting a list of theses and dissertations related to my book, In Search of an American Dream. Corrections and additions are more than welcome. I will come back to it and perhaps add a few links, etc.

phd052107s

 

 

 

Theses and Dissertations

 

Allen, William Ezra. “Sugar and Coffee: A History of Settler Agriculture in Nineteenth-Century Liberia.” Ph.D., Florida International University, 2002.

 

Ball, Erica Louise. “From Elevation to Uplift: Gender, Citizenship and Northern Black Political Culture on the Eve of the Civil War.” Ph.D., City University of New York, 2002.

 

Bonner, Donna Maria. “Garifuna Town/Caribbean Nation/Latin American State: Identity and Prejudice in Belize.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1999.

 

Brown, Jarrett Hugh. “Black Masculinities as Marronage: Claude Mckay’s Representation of Black Male Subjectivities in Metropolitan Spaces.” Ph.D., The College of William and Mary, 2011.

 

Bulthuis, Kyle Timothy. “Four Steeples over the City Streets: Trinity Episcopal, St. Philip’s Episcopal, John Street Methodist, and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches in New York City, 1760–1840.” Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2007.

 

Burnham, Thorald M. “Immigration and Marriage in the Making of Post-Independence Haiti.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2006.

 

Cameron, Christopher Alain. “To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement, 1630–1835.” Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010.

 

Carter, Ralph Donald. “Black American or African: The Response of New York City Blacks to African Colonization, 1817-1841.”  Dissertation, 1974.

 

Crozier, Karen Denise. “Pedagogies of Empowerment: Towards Institutional Change in a Local Black Church.” Ph.D., Claremont School of Theology, 2006.

 

Cryderman, Kevin. “Ghostly Spectators of History: Collective Identity, Regulative Frameworks and the Idiosyncratic Subject.” Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2009.

 

Curtis, Lesley Shannon. “Utopian (Post)Colonies: Rewriting Race and Gender after the Haitian Revolution.” Ph.D., Duke University, 2011.

 

Dain, Bruce Russell. “A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory, 1787-1859.” Ph.D., Princeton University, 1996.

 

Daut, Marlene Leydy. “Science of Desire: Race and Representations of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1790-1865.” Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2009.

 

Davies, John. “Class, Culture, and Color: Black Saint-Dominguan Refugees and African-American Communities in the Early Republic.” Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2008.

 

de Briffault, E. Christian. “The Haitian Revolution, 1791–1803. Race, Slavery, and the Balance of Power: A Comparative Analysis.” D.A., St. John’s University (New York), 2004.

 

De Vidas, Albert. “The Foreign Relations of Haiti in Hemispheric Affairs from Independence to Occupation, 1804-1915.” Book; Archival Material, NYU, 1971.

 

DeFay, Jason Bradley. “Identity Matters: Immigration and the Social Construction of Identity in Garifuna Los Angeles.” Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2004.

 

Den Hartog, Jonathan J. “”Patriotism and Piety”: Orthodox Religion and Federalist Political Culture.” Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2006.

 

Diemer, Andrew Keith. “Black Nativism: African American Politics, Nationalism and Citizenship in Baltimore and Philadelphia, 1817 to 1863.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2011.

 

Dowdy, Calenthia S. “Youth, Music, and Agency: Undoing Race, Poverty and Violence in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.” 3498194, American University, 2012.

 

Dyck, David Wayne. “The Missionary Church in the Dominican Republic.” Dissertation, 1975.

 

Edmondson, Philip N. “The St. Domingue Legacy in Black Activist and Antislavery Writings in the United States, 1791–1862.” Dissertation, 2004.

 

Egea Fernandez-Montesinos, Alberto. “La Construccion Del Imaginario Literario Andaluz: Entre La Imagi-Nacion Folclorica Y Las Margi-Naciones Del Sur.” Ph.D., Emory University, 2000.

 

Fanning, Sara Connors. “Haiti and the U.S.: African American Emigration and the Recognition Debate.” Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2008.

 

Fellows, Kristen R. “African Americans from “Back Yonder”: The Historical Archaeology of the Formation, Maintenance, and Dissolution of the American Enclave in Samana, Dominican Republic.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.

 

Flemming, Tracy K. “Negro: Travel and the Pan-African Imagination During the Nineteenth Century.” Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2010.

 

Fleszar, Mark J. “The Atlantic Legacies of Zephaniah Kingsley: Benevolence, Bondage, and Proslavery Fictions in the Age of Emancipation.” Ph.D., Georgia State University, 2013.

 

Franks, Julie Cheryl. “Transforming Property: Landholding and Political Rights in the Dominican Sugar Region, 1880-1930.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997.

 

Fuste, Jose I. “Possible Republics: Tracing the ‘Entanglements’ of Race and Nation in Afro-Latina/O Caribbean Thought and Activism, 1870–1930.” Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2012.

 

Gaffield, Julia. “”So Many Schemes in Agitation”: The Haitian State and the Atlantic World.” Ph.D., Duke University, 2012.

 

Garcia, Armand. “Jose Marti and the Global Dimensions of Late Nineteenth-Century Cuban Nation Building.” Ph.D., Washington State University, 2006.

 

Glenn, James Hogan. “Andrew Johnson and the Dominican Republic.” Creighton University, 1967.

 

Gonzalez, Johnhenry. “The War on Sugar: Forced Labor, Commodity Production and the Origins of the Haitian Peasantry, 1791–1843.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.

 

Greene, Ousmane Kirumu. “Against Wind and Tide: African Americans’ Response to the Colonization Movement and Emigration, 1770–1865.” Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2007.

 

Grivno, Max L. “”There Slavery Cannot Dwell”: Agriculture and Labor in Northern Maryland, 1790–1860.” Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2007.

 

Hanks, Iyelli Ichile. “Black Magic Woman: Towards a Theory of Africana Women’s Resistance.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2011.

 

Head, David. “Sailing for Spanish America: The Atlantic Geopolitics of Foreign Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2010.

 

Hetrick, Matthew J. “African American Colonization and Identity, 1780-1925.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.

 

Hidalgo, Dennis Ricardo. “From North America to Hispaniola: First Free Black Emigration and Settlements in Hispaniola.” Ph.D., Central Michigan University, 2003.

 

Hudson, Linda Sybert. “Jane Mcmanus Storm Cazneau (1807-1878): A Biography.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 1999.

 

Jackson, James O’Dell, III. “The Origins of Pan-African Nationalism: Afro-American and Haytian Relations.” Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1976.

 

Jones, Christina Violeta. “Revolution and Reaction: Santo Domingo During the Haitian Revolution and Beyond, 1791–1844.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2008.

 

Kaisary, Philip James. “The Literary Impact of the Haitian Revolution.” University of Warwick, 2008.

 

Kaussen, Valerie Mae. “Romancing the Peasant: History and Revolution in the Modern Haitian Novel.” Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2000.

 

Kwon, Yun Kyoung. “Ending Slavery, Narrating Emancipation: Revolutionary Legacies in the French Antislavery Debate and “Silencing the Haitian Revolution,” 1814–48.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.

 

Leung, Ka Yee. “Embodied Cultural Cognition: How Culture Is Carried by Our Bodily Experiences?” Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.

 

Lovit, Alex. ““The Bounds of Habitation”: The Geography of the American Colonization Society.” University of Michigan, 2011.

 

Malka, Adam C. “The Haitian Evolution: Emigration and Diasporan Consciousness in Nineteenth Century America.” University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005.

 

Márquez Macías, Rosario. “La Emigración Española a América, 1765-1824.” Universidad de Oviedo, Servicio de Publicaciones, 1995.

 

Matijasic, Thomas David. “Conservative Reform in the West: The African Colonization Movement in Ohio 1826-1839 ” Dissertation, 1982.

 

Matthews, Gelien. “Slave Rebellions in the Discourse of British Anti-Slavery.” University of Hull, 2002.

 

McCarthy, Timothy Patrick. “A Culture of Dissent: American Abolitionism and the Ordeal of Equality.” Ph.D., Columbia University, 2006.

 

McDaniel, William Caleb. “Our Country Is the World: Radical American Abolitionists Abroad.” Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2006.

 

Menely, Tobias. “Cultivated Sympathies: Human Sentiments and Animal Subjects in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Ph.D., Indiana University, 2006.

 

Mills, Brandon. “Exporting the Racial Republic: African Colonization, National Citizenship, and the Transformation of U.S. Expansion, 1776–1864.” Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.

 

Mongey, Vanessa. “Cosmopolitan Republics and Itinerant Patriots: The Gulf of Mexico in the Age of Revolutions (1780s–1830s).” Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2010.

 

Morales, Edgardo A Pérez. “Itineraries of Freedom Revolutionary Travels and Slave Emancipation in Colombia and the Greater Caribbean. 1789-‐1830.” University of Michigan, 2013.

 

Morales, JosÈ. “The Hispaniola Diaspora, 1791-1850 Puerto Rico, Cuba, Louisiana, and Other Host Societies.” 1987.

 

Moulton, Amber D. “Marriage Extraordinary: Interracial Marriage and the Politics of Family in Antebellum Massachusetts.” Ph.D., Harvard University, 2011.

 

Myers, Amrita Chakrabarti. “Negotiating Women: Black Women and the Politics of Freedom in Charleston, South Carolina, 1790-1860.” Rutgers University, 2005.

 

Nessler, Graham Townsend. “A Failed Emancipation? The Struggle for Freedom in Hispaniola During the Haitian Revolution, 1789–1809.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2011.

 

Nwankwo, Ifeoma Chinwe Kiddoe. “Cosmopolitan Consciousness: Inter-American Engagements in the Scripting of African-American and Caribbean Identities.” Duke University, 1999.

 

Oliver, Albert G. “The Protest and Attitudes of Blacks Towards the American Colonization Society and the Concepts of Emigration and Colonization in Africa 1817 – 1865.” Dissertation, 1978.

 

Ozuna, Ana. “Reclaiming Blackness through the Literary Figure of the Maroon in Dominican Literature.” Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2009.

 

Page, Sebastian Nicholas. “The American Civil War and Black Colonization.” D.Phil., University of Oxford (United Kingdom), 2012.

 

Pamphile Miller, Chrislaine. “”‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers”: African American Emigration to Haiti, 1816-1826.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.

 

Peña, Julissa. ““Yo Soy Negro, Pero Negro Blanco:” Hispanicity, Antihaitianismo and Genocide in the Dominican Republic.” Wesleyan University, 2012.

 

Phillips, William M. “Nightmares of Anarchy and Dreams of Revolution in English and American Literature, 1870-1910.” Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996.

 

Pierce, Jennifer J. “Discourses of the Dispossessed : Saint-Domingue Colonists on Race, Revolution and Empire, 1789-1825.” 2005.

 

Piggush, Yvette Renee. “Governing Imagination: American Social Romanticism, 1790–1840.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2007.

 

Polgar, Paul J. “Standard Bearers of Liberty and Equality: Reinterpreting the Origins of American Abolitionism.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.

 

Ramlagan, Michelle N. “(Re)Placing Nation: Postcolonial Women’s Contestations of Spatial Discourse.” Ph.D., University of Miami, 2011.

 

Riley, Padraig Griffin. “Northern Republicans and Southern Slavery: Democracy in the Age of Jefferson, 1800–1819.” Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2007.

 

Rivas, Christine D. “Power, Race, Class and Gender in Colonial Santo Domingo: An Analysis of Spanish Dominican Marital Patterns in the Archbishopric of Santo Domingo, 1701–1801.” Ph.D., Carleton University (Canada), 2008.

 

Roberts, Neil Douglas. “Freedom as Marronage: The Dialectic of Slavery and Freedom in Arendt, Pettit, Rousseau, Douglass, and the Haitian Revolution.” University of Chicago, Department of Political Science, 2007.

 

Rodriguez, Nestor E. “Configuraciones Y Desfiguraciones De Lo Nacional En La Literatura Dominicana Contemporanea.” Ph.D., Emory University, 2003.

 

Sacks, Dan. “The Historical Traditions of Nat Turner.” 2008.

 

Sagas, Ernesto. “Antihaitianismo in the Dominican Republic.” 1993.

 

Salt, Karen N. “The Haitian Question.” Purdue University, 2011.

 

Scallet, Daniel. “”This Inglorious War”: The Second Seminole War, the Ad Hoc Origins of American Imperialism, and the Silence of Slavery.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2011.

 

Schoeppner, Michael Alan. “Navigating the Dangerous Atlantic: Racial Quarantines, Black Sailors and United States Constitutionalism.” UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, 2010.

 

Scruggs, Dalila. “”The Love of Liberty Has Brought Us Here”: The American Colonization Society and the Imaging of African-American Settlers in Liberia.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2010.

 

Sesay, Chernoh Momodu, Jr. “Freemasons of Color: Prince Hall, Revolutionary Black Boston, and the Origins of Black Freemasonry, 1770–1807.” Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2006.

 

Shabaka, Segun. “An Afrocentric Analysis of the 19th Century African-American Migration to Haiti: A Quest for the Self-Determining Community.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2001.

 

Smith, Eleanor Valerie. “Mate Selection as an Indicator of Ethnic Identity and Maintenance: A Case Analysis of the “Immigrants” in Samana, Dominican Republic (Blacks, Afro-American).” Ph.D., University of Florida, 1986.

 

Smith, Reiland Rabaka. “Africana Critical Theory: From W. E. B. Du Bois and C. L. R. James’s Discourse on Domination and Liberation to Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral’s Dialectics of Decolonization.” Ph.D., Temple University, 2001.

 

Stringer, Rozanne McGrew. “Hybrid Zones: Representations of Race in Late Nineteenth-Century French Visual Culture.” Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2011.

 

Tagliamonte, Sali Anna. “A Matter of Time: Past Temporal Reference Verbal Structures in Samana English and the Ex-Slave Recordings.” Ph.D., University of Ottawa (Canada), 1991.

 

Tillman, Ellen D. “Imperialism Revised: Military, Society, and Us Occupation in the Dominican Republic, 1880-1924.” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011.

 

Torbett, David James. “Theology and Slavery: Charles Hodge and Horace Bushnell on the Slavery Question.” Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education, 2002.

 

Torres Casillas, Pablo Samuel. “Los Cronistas De La Americanizacion: Representacion Y Discurso Colonial En Puerto Rico (1898–1932).” Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico), 2013.

 

Treudley, Mary Bosworth. “The United States and Santo Domingo, 1789-1866.” 1916.

 

Twa, Lindsay Jean. “Troubling Island: The Imagining and Imaging of Haiti by African-American Artists, 1915–1940.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2006.

 

Van Sickle, Eugene S. “A Transnational Vision: John H. B. Latrobe and Maryland’s African Colonization Movement.” ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2005.

 

Walker, James A. . “Present Accounted For: Prosody and Aspect in Early African American English.” University of Ottawa, 2000.

 

Walton-Hanley, Jennifer A. “Reversing the Middle Passage : The American Colonization Society and Race Relations, 1816-1964.” [s.n.], 2009.

 

Walton-Hanley, Jennifer A. “Reversing the Middle Passage: The American Colonization Society and Race Relations, 1816–1964.” Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2009.

 

Weir, Donna Maxine. “Beyond Binaries: Creolized Forms of Resistance in African-American and Caribbean Literatures.” Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2000.

 

Wirzbicki, Peter. “Black Intellectuals, White Abolitionists, and Revolutionary Transcendentalists: Creating the Radical Intellectual Tradition in Antebellum Boston.” Ph.D., New York University, 2012.

 

Woodcock, Lowell. “Islands of Inequality: The Environmental History of Tobago and the Crisis of Development and Globalisation in the Caribbean 1763–2007.” University of Sussex, 2010.

 

Yarema, Allan E. “The American Colonization Society : An Avenue to Freedom?” University Press of America, 2006.

 

Younger, Karen Virginia Fisher. ““Africa Stretches Forth Her Hands Unto You”: Female Colonization Supporters in the Antebellum United States.” The Pennsylvania State University, 2006.

 

 

 

An island or not?

San Juan edicifios

When is an island surely an island? In Puerto Rico is common to hear people living in San Juan and adjacent suburbs referring to the rest of the country as “the island.” The implication is that San Juan’s metro region is not a physical part of the island of Puerto Rico, but it is instead linked to the United States, the American continent, or perhaps, to the world—as if the rest of the island is not. It further implies that the metro region, with its modern buildings, large professional workforce, and vibrant cultural life to which the elite and foreign visitors regularly attend, cannot possibly be an island. There seems to be a long history behind this split. To the urban-obsessed Spanish colonists, strategic port cities like San Juan stood at the crux of a complex network of communication that connected the colonies to Cadiz, Seville and ultimately, Madrid. The closer you were to the ports where ships brought news, products and instructions from the metropole, the closer you were to power. It was a matter of the empire assigning value to geography and this, in turn, determining power relationships. Circumstances have not changed much today. Yet, notwithstanding tensions between urban and rural populations, this reference to the rest of the island, to what is beyond the metro area as the proper island is a genuine state of mind that imagines space and power in relation to distance from the metropole.

peninsula-samana-

Indeed, an island does not need to be a piece of land completely surrounded by water to be called an island. In other words, an island does not have to display all the physical traits of an island to be such. It simply needs to be its image, something resembling an island. The Random House Dictionary (2013) suggests this as one of its definitions for the term island. And the geo-political history of the Peninsula of Samaná, in the Dominican Republic, seems to confirm this idea. Samaná history also helps explain the epistemological assumption that those in lower ranks of power need to be controlled. It is the erotic pull that draws control over exotic islands emitting their naturally rebellious charm. An island is, thus, the erotized fresh and vivacious female requiring domesticity.

John Thomson, “Haiti, Hispaniola or St. Domingo,”

For most of the modern period, the Samaná Peninsula has been in an ambiguous category: an undefined status between an island and a peninsula. Today we know that it is a peninsula linked on the ground to the rest of the island of Hispaniola, the second largest in the Caribbean Sea. But that is not how it always was.

24x36 Poster; Map Of Hispaniola Haiti Dominican Republic 1767; Antique Reprint

Historical documents are to blame for our current uncertainty of the region’s real physical status in the past. They often refer to Samaná as an island, and historical maps frequently show it as a separated piece of land, but sometimes not. The pattern with most documents seems to point to a change after the mid 19th century. Historians are now trying to determine the exact last time Samaná was referred to as an island. The idea is to find what may have changed its geographical status; why it is no longer an island? It seems that geological or other natural changes may have lifted up, or dried up the “estéros” or swamps that stood between Samaná and the rest of Hispaniola. Was it the 1824 earthquake? Could it have been the new farming and irrigating methods extracting water from the Yuna? One thing is sure, that the present-day mangrove swamps of Maria Trinidad Sanchez, along the Rincón River’s estuary, is what is left of a larger wetland isolating Samaná and covering the neck from Bahia Escocesa to Bahia de Samaná.

24x36 Poster; Map Of Hispaniola Haiti Dominican Republic 1762; Antique Reprint

My scholarly interest goes beyond simply searching for the “event” that changed Samaná from an island to a peninsula. The reports we have from historical records show a persistent ambiguity about the nature of this region. It is very probable, as some historians have pointed out, that Samaná’s enigma resulted from occasional natural changes. At different times, the Yuna and Rincón estuaries at the neck may have flooded the area making passage through it almost impossible (in fact, a few of the colonial stories point exactly to this kind of experience). It may also have been that the region may have finally risen above the sea level after 1842, making land-access to Samaná easier.

Yet, what is most fascinating to me is to see how and when Samaná is presented as an island, and when is not. Its physical ambiguity, being sometimes accessible through land and sometimes not, lends Samaná to imaginative manipulation. Since you could never be completely sure about what it was (an island or a peninsula), you may call it whatever you felt it was right at the moment. So, looking at the contexts of these references to Samaná may offer us an insight about past geo-political perceptions of the regions.

My argument is that the rhetorical process of making Samaná an island or peninsula, in writing or in drawing, reveals at least two things. First, calling it an island or not is a matter of convenience. Claims for ownership would impact this perception, of course. Second, the perceived physical distance of Samaná in the minds of the authors and cartographers. If the region was seen as easily reachable, then, there is no mention of it as being an island: the distance to Samaná from Puerto Plata as opposed to the distance from Santo Domingo or Port-au-Prince.

Constitution Hayti Samana

This document is a portion of the 1805 Haytian constitution, also known as the Dessalines Constitution (Julia Gaffield made an interesting discovery about this documentHere is her blog). As mentioned at the bottom of the piece featured above, Samaná is not only considered part of Hayti, but it is included as an island.

At this time, Hayti claimed the entire archipelago of Hispaniola–not only the major island, but also all the smaller islands, islets and cays near its coastline. But this was also a time for regrouping and consolidating the gains made with independence of 1804. Haytian leaders could not yet enforce their claim over the eastern side– or more accurately, they could not yet liberate the island’s eastern side from slavery and European colonial yoke (French émigrés in Samaná still owned enslaved Haitians). The Spanish Santo Domingo was still under the control of some obstinate French soldiers led by Louis Marie Ferrand, who had arrived with Leclerc in 1802, and survived the resounding defeat at the hands of the united Haytian forces.

Not only did Samaná appear far from Port-au-Prince, but Haytian claim for it was only in name. It had no soliders there yet. And there was no other practical way of reaching this roadless region from the Haytian capital (which was at its exact opposite), but through water, the same way you reached an island.

Late 18th Century French naturalists wrote extensively about the natural wonders of Samaná. This was at a time when French expansionists impulses were checked by the Spanish control of Hispaniola’s larger eastern region. The case was different in Samaná since here the Spanish had but a precarious hold. So, the French writers’ focus of attention on this region shows more than the region’s wonders. It reveals what they thought was within their reach of controlling. The Samaná region, island or not, was begging to be controlled. I see no reason why these perceptions of geography would not have influenced Haytian leaders in 1805.

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution – Simon Schama – Google Books

Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution – Simon Schama – Google Books.

Front Cover Schama, a well-known art historian, jumped ships to write a highly evocative and detailed history that should be central to the Black Atlantic. He did so after his popular work on A History of Britain, which should have given him the research background he needed to have written this work. It is arguably a history that only a British scholar could have written, and thus, a much needed one against the blinding American patriotic narrative. We should expect that his critics are not a few–we will get to that later, and mostly from the United States’ side.

I regret not having read it before.

In a way, this is a “British Atlantic History” done in reverse to what has been happening from the United States shores, which has emphasized the position of the former British North American colonies (i.e., 13 colonies) within the broader context of the English-speaking Atlantic. Schama, instead, raises the voices of those who has been writing about Blacks outside of the traditional U.S. patriotic paradigm by showing, more evocative than most, how for Blacks the rhetoric of freedom was clearer from the British than from the U.S. Patriots’ side. In doing so, he is able to help revise U.S. Black History.

Using tragedy to promote dependency

I wrote the post below in response to an attempt to use Camacho’s death for partisan purposes. The original post I read appeared in the otherwise admirable blog “Repeating Islands.” But it had first come from Time.com, written by Tim Padgett

“I am surprised to see such a partisan and pro-colonial (and ahistorical) post in this blog. The pro-statehood movement on the island has been on an evangelical-like impetus that ignores the facts for the “positive” vision.

The main reason Puerto Rico, as well as much of Latin America, has sunk into what it seems as social disarray (as seen in the surge of violence) is in fact because of its colonial status and the neo-liberal policies affecting the entire region. Adding Puerto Rico to the integral political structure of the colonial master (statehood) would not only miss the goal of producing a solution to the problems affecting the region, but it would simply be impossible.

Understanding the nature of nation-building and nationalism would help explain why the U.S. would find it impossible to assimilate the island as an equal. There are plenty of historical examples that would also highlight the foolishness of this idea. France in the Caribbean is perhaps the most salient one, where the colonial territories have been integral and full members of the French political apparatus (unlike Puerto Rico’s “commonwealth” status, which by the way, it reads radically different in the Spanish version).

And yet, the French “Overseas Departments” have not been nor will be in the same social or political level as the rest of France. They are rather dependencies “well treated,” or better yet, “people hanging from the borders of the more progressive nation that is France” (which happens to thrive at the historical expenses of their colonial possessions). No wonder the French have not accepted them as real social equals.

The U.S. seems farther behind the French in admitting this possibility with Puerto Rico–even less of accepting Puerto Ricans as full members of their society (in the continental U.S., they are considered “immigrants” in the process of becoming “Whites” as the Irish and Italians once were, if they are willing to shed away most of their cultural traits and join the “melting-pot”). So, there are enough evidences showing the final destination of the “statehood” pipe-dream.

Puerto Rico has a long history of reactionary and pro-colonial support, and this post seems to follow in such a tradition (this thought also relates to plantation owners in Cuba who sought union with the U.S., and discredited Dominican caudillos who wanted the U.S. to re-colonize their country in the 19th Century).

Yet, there are also traditions of more genuinely native and more creative lines of thinking that put a premium on emancipation, collaboration and fair equality rather than on pernicious social hierarchies. I suggest that we tap on these latter traditions, improve on them and rethink our future more brightly than joining a cause of futile begging for acceptance.”

Postcolonial Ecofeminism (Robert J. C. Young)

1863_world_map_You would not come to this class to read and learn about what you would normally get from standard media. So, the title of Monday’s discussion should not be a complete surprise. Its newness may require that you would read and meditate about these issues more carefully than you would with more familiar topics. These types of topics, nevertheless, would surely help you appreciate the human experience on the other side of nationalism.
battle-algiersYou already know that in this context postcoloniality means the people’s ambivalent experience and subordinate position even after independence from a colonial power. In other words, it is that state in which a former colony has nominal sovereignty because the former master (or new foreign ones) has not left entirely or has taken on new forms of domination. The struggle for freedom, thus, continues, not so much by pushing the foreign away, but in redefining the social structures that continues to promote inequality and subordination, which colonialism donated to the new nation (“inherited from colonialism”).

But what do ecology and feminism have to do with postcoloniality?

morroRobert J. C. Young’s challenge in chapter 5 is simply asking us to appreciate the perspective of the women who struggled against colonial and later postcolonial domination in India and other parts of Asia and Africa. Their experience is not totally transferable to other postcolonial female experiences because each group had faced different set of trials and had had different types of needs. Rather, it is the overarching theme of resisting a modern patriarchal nationalism that puts them together in the same crowd.

iron-ladies-The section titled “Gender Politics in India” illustrates how notions about traditional roles for women are hard to reject. Even Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the great reformer who appropriated ‘feminized’ modes of struggle, came at times to reinforce, instead of rejecting, conventional Hindu and puritanical Victorian concepts of women and femininity. Young vindicated Gandhi, though, by showing that he genuinely realized that women’s politics was more radical than most nationalism. It argued for equitable relations between men and women, sustainable connections to the land, and a life-style and medicine that encourage collective health. These are the contributions of postcolonial women and their politics.

Medeiros Murmuring CoastIn “Gender and Modernity” Young threw us several ideas about modernity that could easily mystify us. On the one hand, he wrote that technology and a politics of egalitarianism defines modernity. On the other, he asserted that (mythical) cultural nationalists and their obsession for a fabled past, where women stayed at home and were submissive, is all part of modernity. But his more interesting contribution, by far, was that there are several types of modernities, that there are different types of Third World modern experiences, and that even the West represent a diversity of modernities (think about how different is New Zeeland from the U.S.). The best explanation of modernity, however, is Young’s, and it appears in this section: the interaction of the West with the Rest.

Kongo Astronauts presents Postcolonial Dilemna Track #03 (Unended) – A psychotronic Film from DR Congo (2014) – Curated by SPARCK in collaboration with Kongo Astronauts for FUSE 37-2/Speculation.

Kongo Astronauts presents Postcolonial Dilemna Track #03 (Unended) – A psychotronic Film from DR Congo (2014) – Curated by SPARCK in collaboration with Kongo Astronauts for FUSE 37-2/Speculation.

Women’s struggle for equality and sustainability is the epitome of the postcolonial predicament according to the section “Women’s Movement after Independence.” While nationalist movements sought desperately to present a unified face during the conflicts against the direct colonial rule, after independence, the same nationalists (i.e., Religious nationalism) who preached equality and freedom tried relegating women to submission. Since the role of women actually degenerated with the “nation,” postcolonial feminism had been at the forefront of a “politics of egalitarianism that supports diversity rather than the cultural uniformity demanded for nationalism.” (99)

The section “Feminism and ecology” shows how “macho” nationalism continued with the same colonial politics of exploitation. It reinforced the same old social hierarchy; it exploited workers, women and the environment. Like the colonial government, the new nations colonized forests and minds in responses to market-oriented and scientific notions of the time. This brought deforestation and desertification to local economies and otherwise clean ecosystems.

All of this colonization was for the short-term commercial values of the marketplace, “trying to control nature just as patriarchy tries to control women.” (102) Women, however, because of their experience as cultivators and family enablers possessed repositories of knowledges about balances in nature and the effects of ecological disruptions. It is no wonder, then, that it were women activists who began the Chipko (tree huggers) movement and developed a philosophy of politics that resisted centralization, corruption and exploitation. Instead, they promoted justice, self-sufficiency, and empowerment of local knowledges.

 

In the section “What makes postcolonial feminism ‘postcolonial’?,” Young asked if postcolonial feminism amounted to a separate strand within postcolonial thought. His answer was simply no. In this section, Young addressed the malleability of postcolonial theory by explaining how feminism is at its core, and thus inseparable. It is also applicable to a wide variety of politics, and even though they might not include obvious gender perspectives, they all work from the same paradigm: the pursuit of collective justice and equality. These struggles may be waged inside the nation or in exile, as the examples of Radia Nasraoui and Gisèle Halimi shows.

Men of the Untouchables Caste, Holding their Daughters - Poodalur 1946In the last section, “The untouchables: caste,” Young readily admitted that the postcolonial struggle is not limited to the legacy of the colonies. There are older vices that plagued modern society. In the Indian example, we see the caste system, which is much older than the British colonial government. The plight of the Dalits is its most explicit case injustice. “A quarter of the Indian population is made of such Dalits.” And they do most of the menial jobs and live segregated from the rest, with little access to anything we normally see as good from modernity.

In class, I want you to think seriously about the meaning of feminism and its opposite, namely, patriarchalism. How women’s social position as historically close to the land and responsible for sustaining families shaped their politics differently to that of men.

You should also ponder over the dark side of macho-nationalism, its insistence on cultural uniformity. Most importantly, I expect you to deliberate on the reasons and causes of nationalisms continuing with the same unfair hierarchies imposed by colonial rules, and with the exploitations inaugurated by the colonial masters.

How do you fit Young in Benedict Anderson’s frame of thought? What parts correspond, even if slightly, and what elements are diametrically apart?

Most Holy Death

Exploring the fastest growing popular faith in the Americas - La Santa Muerte

Eleven Points

The Wonderful World of International Table Tennis

Biblioteca Virtual de Puerto Rico

un proyecto creado y desarrollado desde 1997 por Javier Almeyda Loucil

Build Nation

"Truth told, untold and uncovered"

The Neighborhood

telling the story from every vantage point

The World of Jacques Roumain

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

dianapiskor

Commentary for Critical Issues in World History

Inter-racial Relationships In Real Life

Support and community for those interested or involved in inter-racial relationships

E-Learning

My MOOC blog

Jennifer McLaren

Exploring the past — stories and lives

Kurtis Scaletta's Site

Info about me and my books

Rossy Díaz

Música República Dominicana

Juansin Drama

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Jalinton

ANTROPOLOGIA DOMINICANA

teacherhead

Zest for Learning... into the rainforest of teaching and school leadership

ACADEME BLOG

The blog of Academe magazine

Quartz

Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

The Port Rail

The View from My Ship

%d bloggers like this: