19 Jan New NWIG article on icons of nationhood & memories of theft in Haitian narratives
New advanced article in the BRILL-KITLV journal New West Indian Guide: ‘Stealing the citadel icons of nationhood and memories of theft in Haitian narratives of Kout Kouto’, by Lauren Derby.
This essay analyzes popular Haitian tales about sovereign theft by stealth which seek to expose machinations of graft and usurpation by outsiders and politicians. The foundational act for this genre of popular narratives in Haiti I argue is the indemnity that the Haitian State was forced to pay France of 150 million francs in exchange for international recognition to compensate for losses in property incurred by the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) which Haitian statesman Frédéric Marcelin described as an “act of dispossession.” But popular rumors of national theft kept returning. I argue that these stories linking sovereignty, debt, and theft represent truth claims on the part of those who have long been “hermeneutically marginalized” and should be seen as a call for testimonial justice that challenges the triumphalist story of Haitian independence through revealing and denouncing deceitful chicanery on the part of those in power.
Published continuously since 1919, the New West Indian Guide (NWIG) is the oldest scholarly journal on the Caribbean, featuring English-language articles in the fields of anthropology, art, archaeology, economics, geography, geology, history, international relations, linguistics, literature, music, political science and sociology, and includes the world’s most complete review section on Caribbean books – covering some 150 books each year. NWIG is a peer-reviewed journal and regularly publishes contributions by authors in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, England, Germany, Guyana, the Netherlands, Suriname, the United States, and Venezuela, as well as every part of the insular Caribbean.
As the journal receives a subvention for publication from the learned society Vereniging KITLV, the Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived and all articles are published in Open Access at no cost to the author. Editor-in-chief is Rosemarijn Hoefte.