Dr. Marlene Daut Episodes Playlist
Host: Welcome back to the Nèg Mawon Podcast! I’m your host, Patrick Jean-Baptiste. In today’s episode, we have a fascinating conversation with the esteemed Dr. Marlene Daut, who takes us on a journey through the origins of Black Atlantic Humanism. We delve into the life and work of Baron de Vastey, a key figure in the early 19th century, and explore his groundbreaking ideas about racism, slavery, and colonialism.
But before we jump into that, Dr. Daut first introduces us to the concept of Glissantian opacity and explains how it is often misunderstood in scholarship. We learn that it’s about the choices we make in our lives without fully comprehending the reasons behind them. It’s a thought-provoking perspective that challenges us to embrace the unknown.
As we dive deeper into the episode, Dr. Daut uncovers the lives of Vatte and Christophe, shedding light on the motives and identities that remain shrouded in mystery. She emphasizes the importance of accepting what we do know about historical figures, even when we can’t fully grasp their complexities.
We also explore the intriguing intersections of race and identity in the Black Atlantic. Dr. Daut shares her own ancestral background, which includes Polish officers and individuals from Haiti, highlighting the diverse tapestry of human experiences.
Throughout the episode, we examine the historical context in which debates about race unfolded in the French Atlantic Text. From discussions on the regeneration of the New World to the labors of the Haitian people and the influence of natural historians, every aspect brings us closer to understanding the complexities of this pivotal era.
But this episode is not just about history—it’s also about the resurgence of interest in the scholarship on Haiti. Dr. Daut reflects on the remarkable contributions of earlier historians, whose voices were often unheard. We discuss the growing attention to Haiti today and how it’s shaping the field of research.
We then shift gears to explore the fascinating narratives of early Haitian writers. Dr. Daut draws captivating parallels between the ways Haitian and African American authors wrote during different periods. It’s an exploration of power dynamics and the unique perspectives that shaped their literary voices.
Finally, we delve into the life and ideas of Baron de Vastey, whose beliefs challenged Western thought in the 19th century. Dr. Daut reveals his staunch opposition to racism, slavery, and colonialism, and how his ideas laid the groundwork for Black Atlantic Humanism.
So, with all that said, get ready for an intellectually stimulating and enlightening conversation as we embark on this episode of the Nèg Mawon Podcast.
[Verse of theme music]
Host: And we’re back! Thanks for joining us on this exciting journey through the origins of Black Atlantic Humanism. I hope you’re as captivated by Dr. Marlene Daut’s insights as I am. Let’s dive right in!
02:14 More attention now to various aspects of Haiti.
06:46 Glissantian opacity: accepting unknowns in life.
10:48 Haitian and African American writers differ.
13:21 Different movements, personal stories, interesting dynamic.
18:26 White British person uncovers antiracist work.
21:14 Strafford’s defense: housekeeper planted incriminating evidence. Authorities believed him but he was still convicted.
24:48 Backbreaking labor in Haiti, desire for independence.
29:23 Haitian writers discuss regeneration and rehabilitation, acknowledging the lasting effects of colonization. They emphasize the rapid progress they have made compared to Europeans.
31:56 Book explores Haiti’s social and diplomatic history.
34:59 Inconsequential isolation leads to real effects for Haiti.
39:48 Legacy of Dessalines: All Haitians considered black.
40:52 Ancestry traces Polish officers and Haitian individuals. Blackness challenges whiteness as normative. Race is only mentioned if not white. Default assumption is black; identity hidden. Empire documents reveal ways to identify.
44:41 Enjoyed episode? Follow us on social media!
Topics covered in this text:
- Glissantian Opacity and Understanding:
- Misunderstanding of Glissantian opacity as inscrutable
- Glissant’s concept of making choices without fully understanding them
- Accepting the Limitations of Knowledge:
- Accepting that there are things we don’t know about the world and others
- Sitting with and accepting what we do know about others
- Ancestry and Whiteness:
- Speaker’s ancestry including Polish officers and individuals from Haiti
- The presumption of “whiteness” as the normative standard
- The default assumption of someone being black, with other backgrounds mentioned if relevant
- Pseudo-Scientific Debates on Race:
- Pseudo-scientific debates about race in the French Atlantic Text
- Belief in the degeneration of the African race and the need for regeneration
- Impact of feudalism in Europe on degeneration
- Focus on the regeneration of the French people and its impact on Europe after the French Revolution
- Joseph Banks and Haiti:
- Joseph Banks as a natural historian who supported Haiti
- His praise for the laws of Haiti as a basis for agricultural societies
- The euphemism of “cultivated by free hands” for labor in Haiti
- Haiti described as the most free and moral association of men according to historians and literature
- Different labor system in Haiti compared to buying and selling people
- Growing Interest in Haiti Studies:
- Increasing literature being written about Haiti in various areas
- Not a “golden age” but more attention being given to Haitian studies
- Previously unheard voices in Haitian studies are now being recognized
- Studying Different Movements:
- Importance of studying different movements side by side
- Reading deeply and between the lines to understand personal lives of writers
- Differences in the way early Haitian authors write compared to African American writers
- Understanding Anti-Slavery and Anti-Racism:
- Julien Raymond’s writing about himself, while others did not view their personal stories as emblematic
- Treatment of enslaved people as the true emblem of anti-slavery and anti-racism
- Influence of being free on perspectives of individuals like Thyssen du Vercier
- British Author in Haiti:
- A British person bringing a book to Haiti for translation
- The book’s anti-racist content dismantling theories of inequality
- Questioning the justification for enslaving, killing, torturing, and raping people based on perceived inferiority
- Questioning the purpose of humans on Earth if their main objective is to destroy one another
- Labor and Independence in Haiti:
- Difficult and backbreaking forms of labor in Haiti
- Desire for Haiti’s independence to avoid slave ships docking in their ports
- Occurrence of clandestine slave trade in certain countries
- Interest in cultivating crops and reducing dependence on colonialism and slavery
- Haiti’s De Facto Recognition:
- Analysis of court records, legal writings, and letters between Haitian and foreign officials
- Examination of Haiti’s de facto recognition by the US and Great Britain
- Implications and effects of recognition on trade between Haiti and other nations
- Rehabilitation and Regeneration:
- Focus on regeneration and rehabilitation in early Haitian writings
- Comparison of progress made in Haiti to European progress over time
- Haiti’s accelerated path and course of development
- Identity and Recognition in Haiti:
- All Haitians now considered black, tied to Dessalines
- Renunciation of foreign citizenship to become Haitian
- Presence of white people in Haiti under Dessalines who embraced Haitian identity
- Critiques and Arguments:
- Colombe’s arguments about Watte and the response from Watte himself
- Mention of Dimel’s book discussing Watte’s arguments against Mazaire
- Evaluation of Watte’s originality despite writing on behalf of a king
- Baron de Vastey and Black Atlantic Humanism:
- Baron de Vastey’s role in the early 19th century
- Belief in the wrongness of racism, slavery, and colonialism
- Groundbreaking ideas about colonialism in Western thought
- Make connections to African American colonization efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone
The Growing Interest in Haitian Studies: “there were actually always a lot of People, relatively speaking, studying Haiti and working on Haiti, but they weren’t getting Their voices weren’t really being heard, and so I think that’s the dynamic.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:03:16 → 00:03:29]
Black Atlantic Humanism: “But all of that question of of The actual politics of making it independent Haiti aside, what underlies it, even though it’s a monarchy, even though he argues on behalf of a king, Is an attitude that racism is they call it color prejudice in the early 19th century, is unequivocally wrong. Slavery is wrong and that colonialism is evil. And that was really, I think, Wathey’s major contribution to, Not just black Atlantic humanism, but to western thought, quote, unquote.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:05:18 → 00:05:52]
Glissantian opacity and the acceptance of unknowns: “We make choices in our lives, and we don’t even always know what completely animates us. And he essentially proposes if you have strong feelings about something and you don’t necessarily understand why or about someone or some other idea that it’s okay to accept that there will simply be things we won’t know about the world, we won’t be able to know about the world, and that we won’t be able to know or figure out about other people.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:07:07 → 00:07:25]
The Importance of Studying Different Movements: “And so I think there’s just a different way of there and and for example, there’s just a different way of of being in the world, and I think that’s why it’s so important to actually study, these different movements side by side and to resist the desire to collapse them into one another.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:13:22 → 00:13:40]
“Colombe is out of his league. His argument about Watte, which Watte points out when he responds to him, His argument about Vahte is, oh, all you do is just write on behalf of Christophe to enrich yourself. And Vahte essentially says, Actually engage with my argument because is what I’m saying wrong?”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:16:02 → 00:16:21]
“The Most Antiracist Work”: “Also, if you could prove that we were inferior to you, would that be a reason to enslave, kill, torture, and rape us? The idea that any difference, if you thought someone was really actually not your equal, that it would be then justified to do these things, He says, where is the animal that would do this to another animal?”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:19:47 → 00:19:58]
The Kingdom of Haiti: “This is the most free and moral association of men in existence.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:24:34 → 00:24:37]
The Importance of Haiti’s Independence: “They knew that the forms of labor, they were very, very hard. It’s There it’s backbreaking labor as much cutting sugarcane. All of this is backbreaking labor to this day that people continue to do backbreaking labor, And this is what’s going on, and yet at the same time, they say they’re they’re free people, you know, so they’re doing it for themselves.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:24:48 → 00:25:08]
Haiti’s Negotiation for Recognition After Revolution: “And it’s so all it’s all about all of the ways that Haiti negotiated, Not formally having recognition, but having a de facto recognition that existed in particular from the United States and from Great Britain that allowed trade to subsist, between the nations and among the nations.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:32:17 → 00:32:36]
Viral Topic: Challenging Norms of Whiteness
Quote: “Actually, the default assumption is that you’re black and that if we write that you’re French or Spanish or whatever, Then… we do see that there’s a way to figure out who is who.”
— Dr. Marlene Daut [00:40:52 → 00:42:03]
- How does the concept of “Glissantian opacity” challenge traditional scholarly understandings of literature and history?
- In what ways can reading between the lines of historical texts provide insights into the personal lives and motivations of writers?
- How do the lives and experiences of historical figures like Julien Raymond and Thyssen du Vercier impact their perspectives on slavery and racism?
- What do you think is the significance of the author bringing copies of an anti-racist book to the kingdom of Haiti? How might this have influenced the local population?
- Why was it important for Haiti to become self-sufficient in terms of agricultural production? How did this relate to their desire to avoid dependency on colonialism and slavery?
- How did Haiti’s isolation after gaining independence affect their diplomatic relations with other countries, particularly the United States and Great Britain?
- In what ways did early Haitian writers discuss the concept of regeneration and the rehabilitation of humankind? How did their perspective compare to that of European writers at the time?
- How did the concept of blackness become associated with all Haitians, and what implications did this have for the country’s identity and citizenship?
- Why do you think some foreigners, such as the Polish legion, chose to remain in Haiti and become Haitian citizens after the revolution?
- How did the ideas of Baron du Vastey contribute to the concept of black Atlantic humanism and challenge Western thought on colonialism and racism during the 19th century?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:00:00]:
In awakening the ashes, I’ve broken the book down into 3 parts, and the first part is called colonialism. The second part is independence, and the third part is sovereignty. And within each of those three parts, each chapter just has a word as its title.
And so under colonialism, we start with indigenous go on to tackle slavery and prejudice. And the reason I’ve broken the book down in this way is to, think about what Haitian revolutionary thought, how it helped us to kind of understand the development of these phenomena but also of the very terminology used to explain and describe them. And so the second part is, under independence, we have revolution abolition and freedom.
And then in the 3rd part, that is, anti colonialism, anti slavery, anti racism, because even though the revolution has so much to tell us about democracy and formulation of democracy and the idea of formulating a republic, Actually, its most nonlasting legacy is in this the state that it builds after getting through the indigenous period slavery prejudice. Revolution abolition on Alta Freedom.
That’s where we can really see anti colonialism, anti slavery, and anti racism as philosophies of both statehood, nationality, culture, and activism developed. And I should also mention that the introduction is called history. So I sort of, start at the end of the story and then, work my way back to the beginning, beginning in chapter 1
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:01:45]:
Let’s talk about dedications. I went back and I looked at the Vate book. You wrote this. Mhmm. And then I went to the tropics of Haiti book and you wrote for my 2 Sammy’s in Sebastian. And now for this book, awakening the ashes, It’s for Sammy and Sebastian. So we got French in the first book, English and now. Why creole this time around? I feel like this book is is your most Haitian book. Like with this one. Am I off based on that?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:02:37]:
So this is a very interesting question and one I have never gotten before. I definitely think this is the most Haitian book in the sense that I got to write exactly the book that I wanted. In fact, for my dissertation, when I was a graduate student, at the University of Notre Dame in the early 2000, I want to write my dissertation on nation intellectual history. But at that time, there was really a sense that you know, night that one couldn’t just write a dissertation on 19th century Haitian literature, let alone something kind of more broadly construed as 19th century haitian thought, that it needed to be something more comparative that there needed to also be some English language works in there. And, you know, Michelle Holcillo has talked about this, idea of writing about some place else before you turn to the place where, you know, you’re connected to through through your identity, and why he did not write about Haiti first and and later came back, and it helps to put things in perspective. So even though I had to do a more comparative project, which ended up being related to, but not exactly the same at all as the this book that became tropics of Haiti, for my dissertation. It was fruitful because it helped me to not fall into the idea of, seeing Haiti in ice solation or seeing Haitian thought in isolation, or, I wouldn’t have been able to understand what points in Haitian Intellectual History and is particularly Haitian revolutionary intellectual history were forms of radical ingenuity, which I talk a lot about in the book, and which were sort of adaptations and reformulate reformulations and crerealizations of different forms of enlightenment thought and and criticisms of enlightenment thought because, of course, in order to see the critiques of that, I have to be familiar with that. So, so, yes, it’s my most Haitian book, in a way, but it is also where I get to explain the radical and enormous and profound impact that Haitian Thought and the Haitian Revolution had, not just in the western world, but on ideas more broadly of universal human rights.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:05:11]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:05:12]:
professor Doubt about the significance of the title of her book awakening the ashes it’s origin. How one should how we should think about it.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:05:22]:
So Latte is pretty adamant, throughout his writings that he has kind of walked through, so in chapter 1, he also discusses, the chapter 1 that’s called Indigenous that he’s kind of walked through Haiti, so to speak, different places on the island, and he’s been in caves, and he seemed seen the bones, and he’s looked at them, and he’s pulled them up, and they are telling the story of Haiti’s ancestors, the Ayeshaians, the first Haitians as he calls them. And what I noticed is that, when you Charlotte and Earl Doumel, in particular, begin to speak about interrogating or asking the ashes or asking the ancestors in both of their accounts they give the response. They say, I I went and I ask, you know, them, the aborigines, the term that Timelle uses, who are the rightful inheritors of the Haitian Earth, and this is what they said. And so you could think of that as metaphorical but you could also think about it as here are people who feel that they are very connected to the Haitian Pass. That the spirit world, it has much to tell them, Jamelle, as he’s going through his voyage, don’t know, is really talking about the earth and the land. And I think that anyone who, engages in contemplative practice and has sort of, you know, gone deep into forests and watched trees dance and feel like you can suddenly understand it. And think about the language of trees. And there are actually scholars who’ve written about this, or you sit by the ocean and you hear the sounds and you recognize that there’s an entire world under there, and how do we understand and access this world. And so I think it’s important to take very seriously the idea that for these early Haitian thinkers who lived through forms of tragedy, witnessing forms of violence, and, deprivation that I think it is hard for people in the United States in particular, to imagine at this particular moment that to take very seriously the idea of how they comforted themselves, how they spoke to themselves, and then translated that way of being and understanding the world, and making sense of it to other people so that they would have that as well. There’s a passage, from Via Jean Renaud De Yitzi that I discussed where to Mel basically who was a child when all this is going on. So on the one hand, you might say, oh, he’s so young. He doesn’t remember, but on the other hand, you might remember even more profoundly because you were a child, right, and you have less mechanisms of coping. And so he says something like you know, it comforts me to think that the that these, you know, Holocaust offered up to tyranny that that’s what fertilized the heart of liberty, that that’s what we use to propel and drive forward the revolution were all the tragedies, and horrible violence that we suffered. And and Vate says sort of similar things at various moments in Nusystem, colonial, that, you know, the only way that you can put a positive spin on any of this is that what they were doing, the white French colonists was so horrible that the only that it only fueled the revolution. It only accelerated. It’s, coming into existence. So it’s not the French revolution. It’s not French enlightenment or the European enlightenment more broadly, it’s that if you treat people in this horrible manner of slavery with torture and all the depredations that come with that, that it is only a matter of time before they will seek their just right of reprisal in Vate’s terminology.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:09:33]:
Here’s, what you wrote. In 18 16, Vate expressed the principles of restitution, reparation, and compensation that formed the backbone of modern claims for restorative justice after mass atrocities. What where do you stand on on restoring restorative justice for Haiti?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:09:55]:
I think restorative justice for Hades is absolutely imperative. I not sure that there are more clear cut cases on the question of 1, the reparations for slavery, which I do think, need to be decoupled from reparations for the indemnity and in that latter case, has there ever been a more clear cut case where, the New York Times investigation, but of his deeds earlier than that, investigation into the matter, very, very clearly laid out a dollar amount and the logic for it with as we say in modern parlance, the receipts. Right? It’s that this is this is not hypothetical This is that’s not a question of a world that could have been. It’s about actual money that was paid, interest, fees, and, you know, adjusting for inflation. There is also the question, of course, of reparations for slavery, which I wholly support. I don’t think that you can say that patients are the only victims of mass atrocity who don’t deserve reparations. And, of course, you know, I’m exaggerating to a certain extent that Haitian case. It’s not the only case where this has happened, but for example, when I see the the Sandy Hook parents. What a horrible tragedy, this, Connecticut school shooting that results in the death of all these school children and and some of their teachers and other school personnel, terrible, terrible tragedy, but when I see the judgment against Alex Jones, who was not responsible for the killings, but had peddled this conspiracy theories that, the Sandy Hook Naspers didn’t really happen, and it encouraged, in so doing, you know, harassment against these poor grieving parents the judgment against it was something like $999,000,000, like almost a $1,000,000,000 for the that that we it just suggest to me that our world, we very much understand that if you harm other people, you may have to pay them, for their suffering. And so there is the payment for, you know, sort of lost opportunities through slavery, but there’s also the traumas that have been caused and have been handed down, through generational trauma and from generation to generation along with all these stories and we can see very plainly the economic effects on Haiti because, of course, in the latter part of the book of awakening the ashes, particularly, in the the in chapter 8, where I talk about the Kingdom of Haiti at length, you can see that, Haitians were interested in building wealth. And like other 19th century nations, they didn’t always do that in ways that are commensurate with sort of modern understandings of, like, workplace regulations. And so so that’s not an excuse for Christophe, etcetera. It’s just simply to say Hady was on this trajectory, and that trajectory was stopped by Bouygues Indemnity. And Haitian intellectuals very clearly understood that to be the case. And so in chapter 9, I bring up and because I want it to be through their words that they explain. I also talk about, the French abolitionist, Victor Chancher, who, probably, writes on Haiti and in some sense is his critiques of which are sometimes contradictory, but one thing that he really acknowledges is the destruction, caused by the indemnity and how it stopped this path of kind of forward progress and kept Haiti, in a kind of stagnant place and then caused a kind of retrograde to a certain extent, with the code and this kind of reclassification of all Haitians as workers with little, protections, many of the protections that were starting to be put in place, in the Christophe era, actually, kind of getting to the end of his reign and realizing some people are very, very unhappy with him in the kingdom that, and trying to redistribute wealth a little bit more and a little bit more fairly that all of that just stops, and the the focus becomes, oh, we need to pay back this indemnity. So so that’s just to say, on the question of restorative justice, you know, when looking into and learning more about sort of modern restorative justice, there are all kinds of other things that go into that. It’s not just money. There is restoring justice to people and communities, but the the, perpetrator has to restore justice to themselves. And one of the ways that do that is by making things right in the communities that they harmed and putting measures, whether those be laws or other regulations in place to prevent — the similar harms from ever occurring again.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:14:40]:
I want you all to put a pin on her answer there regarding, restorative justice for Haiti because an part 3, she goes much deeper into the discussion of of reparations for Haiti and its and its effect. This particular segment of what you’re about to hear where I read a passage, and then you hear doctor Daut’s answers, really resonated with me because it undergirds the, you know, one of the main reasons why I’ve been doing this podcast for the last 2 years, right said many times in different spaces that, we might have won Haiti might have won the military or against, France, but we’ve we’ve been losing the media 1 for the last 200 plus years. It’s encouraging to hear that our ancestors were fully aware of that post independence, and they did everything they could to to keep the receipts to let the world know what was going on down there in San Jose.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:15:49]:
As 2 of Hades, 1st historians, and help create a framework, a framework of sovereign defiance against the colonial drive for oblivion. They derived their method directly from Haitian Revolutionary thought. The insistence that slavery and colonialism, revolution, and sovereignty be meticulously documented by Haitians and therefore discussed and not silenced stretches back to the earliest days of independence. Tell us
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:16:24]:
some more about how, ancestors kept receipts meticulously.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:16:31]:
So if you look in the back of the earliest, Haitian texts, which, post independence texts, We’ll get into the pre independence ones in a minute, but let’s go to it has this kind of short pamphlet called before, these both of those are from 1804. So before Sean Watts kind of major works. It’s very short seven page pamphlet he writes. And, they are using their memories as evidence. And in case of Blomontonier, they he, you know, includes letters. So there’s some letters from there’s some letters from French soldiers and officials, and this is supposed to support the narrative. This is supposed to show we have kept this documentation you aren’t going to get away with peddling the story that, you know, we’re the aggressors. And they’re really following along, some advice that they’re dating as well. The foreign newspaper saying patience, you need to tell your story because the French are going around crying about how much you decimate their forces in San domain, and you need to reframe the narrative. And so that’s exactly what Desalene does when, he found the gazette, polityke commercial, which creates the the gazette’s, the letter that Kristoff will later, found in 1807. And in this kind of these first issues is let’s go back over the Leclaire expedition and let’s talk about what really happened, in his April 28th famous proclamation, speech and proclamation. This Alene also says, let’s not forget that it’s not just Sandomang, Haiti. It is also Let’s talk about Martinique. Let’s talk about Guadalupe. So he really shows that he has this key historical understanding and awareness and that as much as the French want to try to cover up and make it, not seem like a big deal that they become the 1st state anywhere in the world to reestablish slavery after abolishing it. They want to, you know, it’s colonial indifference. Like, oh, it’s not a big deal. They want to show the world that it is a huge deal. And they say things. Vante says this over and over again. Sean Watts says this, like, One day we have we have monuments. If one day our works reach you across the seas, which of course they did, then the world will know and posterity will know And this, I mean, even says, you know, you can try to tarnish my name as much as you want, but I’m going to do, what is right And one day, this will be recognized, and it’s interesting to me to think about that we are at the moment where if we listen to Desanien’s words, he says, I promise you, if you let the colonizers back on this land, I promise you they will do untold destruction. And this very profound thing he says, in that April 28th speech, he says if my if those who come after me allow them to come back, you know, he’s basically gonna be trembling in his grave, and it will be the Haitian people who suffer. And that’s what we see that when not just foreigners because they make a very big distinction. It’s colonists. And so we can take that perspective in many different directions about the various forms Colindus who have been in Haiti since post independence era, and the very different forms of colonialism that hadia seen since that era, he said that will be the time when you see that the protections I’m trying to put in place are so that we can live peacefully without slavery and without serving a master. And, in the epilogue, I discussed this kind of very poignant passage from the Gazette Royale which is the the newspaper that Christophe sounds, after he becomes named king by his, councilor of state, in 18 11. And, so in a later issue of the paper, he says, you know, there’s really only 2 political parties in Haiti despite what people might think. There’s the ones who are part the partisans of the French, and he says some of those people are Haitians. And there’s those who are not. And the partisans of the French want to return us to slavery, and those of us who do not want to remain free and sovereign and completely independent. And when we think about things in those terms, wow, it just opens up a whole world of thought. I think about Michel Duclough talking about the relationship between French and and linguistic apartheid and all of this that it’s not done. Haiti moved more into the sphere of control and domination from the United States. But that didn’t mean that, that the influence and domination control of the French went away, which creased off articulates very clearly early on by saying as long as we speak French will be dominated because your your language, you know, has something to do with your mind the way you think and habits of mind, and their language reflects their values and their world view And so we have to shift. And, you know, he wasn’t at the moment where he could say Haitian Caole because that was just not in their consciousness in the kingdom at that time. So he thought English would be the way And we clearly see that that didn’t happen. And now the spear has shifted a little bit more towards recognizing the imperative, for Haitian Kyle to be the 1st language recognized first language schooling of all Haitians, the language governance that it must be in order to actually include the people in their own sovereignty, the Haitian people more broadly, not just elites or politicians, those bits establishment in Haiti, that in order for there to be true popular sovereignty, Haitian creole has to take its rightful place as the first language of the Haitian people.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:22:16]:
You said this.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:22:23]:
18th 19th century Haitians were remarkable record keepers. So much would be lost to us today if not for the painstaking efforts of Sandou Meng Slash Hades various writers who were determined to archive and otherwise preserve written evidence of slavery colonialism and Revolution in Saint Germain. The colonists were covering the Earth and shrieking testimonials about the Haitian Revolution which they usually refer to as an, quote, unquote insurrection. Why is the word insurrection problematic for you? I even catch myself using it sometimes, when referring to the Haitian Revolution. Can you expand on that for us, please?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:23:20]:
You know, it’s funny you should ask that because I have also used a cop myself saying it before. And it has to do with the sort of forms of silencing that made it seem like, the Haitian Revolution was not as big of a deal. Or an even bigger deal, which, of course, is my argument in awakening the ashes than the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Because if you wanna talk about a restructuring of society, The only one of those revolutions that did that was the Haitian revolution because it the American revolution just swapped out one form of elites for another form of elites. Sure. It changed in name for, you know, you’re no longer at Kingdom. Now the United States is is a republic, but white men, a white male oligarchy for life better term remained in place, white male elites. It didn’t formally and, or or rather of materially restructure society. The French revolution, France bounces back and forth between monarchy and republic and and then empire And, so it doesn’t fundamentally change the structure of society either. It sort of led to more fractureings of those societies. And if you think about the significant transformation that Haitian authors themselves point out, happened after the Haitian Revolution in terms of labor because, of course, France keeps right on enslaving, especially as soon as Napoleon comes right back into power. And not for a little while, for 46 years, they reinstate slavery in Guadalupe and others territories in 1802, and it’s not abolished until 1848, the United States can’t achieve unilateral emancipation until 18 65. So the fundamental structures Who gets to be rich? Who gets to be empowered? Do not change in either of those societies with it overwhelmingly the structures of power tilting towards white men. Think about in Haiti. One day white men are in charge, and metaphorically speaking, the next day, black men are in charge. They have completely reversed the power structure of this society and have said that white people can live in this society, but they cannot live in this society under the power structures of whiteness. And so in the chapter where I discuss, desalines, quote unquote property exclusion, infamous property exclusion, I talk about how it’s, you know, sort of not correctly reading the situation to say he’s banning whites or banning property white property owners He’s saying you can be here and be white, but you have to understand that this is an egalitarian society. And since the word white carries connotations of domination, we’re gonna go with the word black. So all Haitians are gonna be recognized as black, which is, of course, as I’ve discussed before, commensurate with in Haitian Cleo, the word Meg meaning, ma’am, And and the the desire to read that article 14th too literally in desamin’s constitution is just a kind of sleight of hand on the part of the French colonists to say, oh, you know, who’s being racist now. And so the word insurrection as they used it was actually, in the era in the 18th century was to take away from to make it to make it’s back to that colonial difference, that this is something that causes fear and alarm and and unrest, but it’s not gonna fundamentally be a big deal. And so interesting that the French continue to carry that perspective forward into the 19th century when they’re trying so hard to get back this place, Sando Meng, as they continue to call it, that was lost to them, they recognize that every turn, what a huge deal this is, what a huge blow it is, but there’s some type of cognitive dissonance there for them because to recognize what a huge deal with that the Haitian Revolution was would be to recognize the massive loss that they suffered there and the massive, you know, Vate says one point about a colonist named Maser that He calls us overgrown simple minded ignorant children, but doesn’t realize, like, these these people that you’re calling using all these epithets to describe. They beat you in battle. So what does that mean about you? What are you then if these are the people who beat you? And so there’s so much of downplaying the seriousness and the longitudinal consequences of the revolution, even as every action of the friends, shows that they recognize very much This is a revolution of the highest order, and they want to retrograde and go back to the age of slavery, even though they view themselves as kind of the having opened good one of the doors to the age of revolutions.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:28:05]:
What’s the 1804 principle?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:28:09]:
I talked about how the 1804 principle is an opening and invitation. I call it the rest of the world to for the rest of the world to join humanity because slavery and colonialism are incompatible with humanity. This the enslavers and the colonists are inhumane. Therefore, words we find in the declaration of independence, Hades Declaration of Independence. That is the April 28th proclamation from Desaline, in the works of Shamlac, Bajon Donnel, Bajon De Vate, that slavery and colonialism, and then the Haitian State is going to add in in 1805 racism, really. That these are incompatible ideas, philosophies because one of the sort of unrecognized parts of the enlightenment and enlightenment thought European enlightenment is that it authorizes legalizes, slavery to a certain extent by refusing to pronounce upon, in the 17 89 declaration of the rights of man, for example, who is considered a man by refusing to clearly state that, yes, black people, black Africans Africans in general, other people from the rest of the world, including the Native Americans indigenous populations of the Americas, are, quote, unquote, men. And whereas, French writers like we’re able to clearly see, okay, the 17 89 declaration of the rights of men excludes women. And so she writes the declaration of the rights of woman, there there’s still this kind of, way in which there’s a refusal to see there’s a negation because it’s not just an inability. It’s a choice not to include that language not to do anything to interrupt this very profitable regime of slavery and its corresponding colonialism that sort of allows it to flourish And, when the Haitians come to power in San domain, they say we’re going to build our country on the principle that no form of slavery can be legalized by any government, and we’re not going to try to enlarge our territory outside of the bounds of the island because I talk very, sort of in detail about Haitians see the schism between the Eastern Western parts of the island as unnatural. And so there is a desire to wanna unify the entire bounds of the island, but to export the revolution beyond that, no, or to, expand patient territory beyond the limits of, which the Spanish renamed, No. There’s not a will to want to do that. And so, the 1804 principle as an invitation invites the rest of the world to come along and join the age of abolition, started by the Haitian Revolution or to stay in the age of slavery to retrograde and to stay in an inhumane position vis a vis the rest of the world.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:31:17]:
You you you have 2 words, acts, which is deeds, a a c t s the, English word, and then you have act a c t e s, the French word, meaning discourse. You said that you had to reconfigure or rethink your definition of the intellectual history of Haiti because acts
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:31:49]:
and act became the the the two sides of the same intellectual coin for you. Can you can you expand on that for us, please? Tell tell me more about that.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:32:01]:
So when it sort of hit my brain, that acts you know, the the actions that people take, the English word acts, and act, as you mentioned, the French word for kind of a discourse or a declaration of some sort. We have the Haitian Declaration of Independence is actually lacked dandepandos, that it struck me that the tensions, that Michelle was pointing out and that that I see in, you know, Haitian revolutionary historiography with paying attention to kind of proclamations and deeds that that declare things like the end of slavery. And then all and or the ones that wanna fold back and say, well, let’s look at slavery bills and rebellions more broadly. Let’s look at marital nudge. Look at other acts of resistance as kind of laying the groundwork or themselves being what comes first and then they act and French, the diss the declarations, the proclamations, the discourses that those come later So when it when I started to see the relationship between these 2 kind of words that are, false friends, because they don’t really mean the same thing, they look like they would, but they don’t translate to each other in these separate languages, English, and French. And so when I started to see this less as attention, and it’s something that we must understand together and not necessarily so that, we better understand the act that led to what we call the Haitian Revolution and Haitian Independence. I that is also very important to me that we consider that, but also on the intellectual side that it’s not a separate process from the writing, the scribble techniques that give us And once we begin to see them together, we can see they’re not at odds that people who are acting are acting in an intellectual manner. They’re showing you their discourse. They’re showing you their proclamation. And so probably the greatest example from the book is is in chapter 1 with the Ayesians, the Ayesha, the 1st Haitians, that’s called them. They don’t call them taillos and aroax. For reasons, I explained in the in that first chapter there. But those terms came later and those are, you know, European invented terms. That we can say, well, we don’t have any writing from, you know, this population. So we don’t know what they were thinking And yet they showed us, the, in Ricchio, as a Spanish called him, showed us very clearly what he was thinking when he ran away to the mountains of Barracko, what is now the Dominican Republic and created a maroon state for more than 10 years. And that was a very, very clear act, in both senses of that word to me. And the Christmas time rebellion in 1521 is another one. Those enslaved Africans from Diego Colon’s plantation who rebelled were very clearly showing us and telling us what was on their mind, which was freedom, what was their philosophy freedom, which is getting away from these enslavers and making the life for ourselves in the mountains, and resisting this captivity that we’ve that has been forced upon us by the Spanish and slavers.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:35:27]:
What did you mean by the Haitian story is both local and global.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:35:41]:
So this sort of goes back to, something I was I discussed in an earlier, as a response to an earlier question, which was, you know, when I was trying to write my dissertation on Haitian intellectual history kind of very broadly, just necessarily the intellectual history of the revolution and the idea that this was like some type of niche or very local history and that to really speak in a broader ways to academic audiences, the market forces a job market, getting a job that I have to show that, you know, I understand, a sort of larger set of principles that can be derived from this. And the best way to do that is to do comparative studies, right, and to put the Haitian writers in conversation with European and US writers in particular. And, I, again, I don’t actually think that was a wrong move in the sense of, It just opened my eyes to many things. I became extremely conversant in French, literature, and history, and US American. Literature and history of the 19th century and particularly African American Studies, which many chapters in my first book deal with 19th century African American literature thought intellectual history and print culture. And so that really I was able to see what was distinct and specific about Haitian Literature print culture philosophy intellectual history of the 19th century, what was in what was a conversation that they were having with other intellectuals what were critiques that they were having, and I was really able to understand all of that. And, in in this book, I wanted to show that actually, I the comparativity is kind of baked in, but you have to buy into the idea that, this history is important for the world, not just for Haiti and Haitians. And once you sort of can see that we can’t get to the age of abolition, in the way that we got to it without Haiti. Now I’m not saying we wouldn’t have gotten there eventually, but who knows how long it would take because Katie opens the door to the age of abolition. And as I explained, Great Britain’s not gonna walk through that door until 1833, 1834. France is not gonna do until 1848. The United States really okay at emancipation proclamation earlier, but unilateral emancipation in 1865. The Netherlands. They declared, but it’s not implemented until much later. Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, so late. We have the examples of Grand Columbia, Mexico a bit earlier, but still we’re talking decades. Not years, not not a few years, I mean, not a few months. Not a few hours, decades later it takes for the rest of the world to catch up. And that’s not the ineffectiveness of the Haitian Revolution. That’s the stubborn violent determination of the slaving powers to continue to enslave when they had an example of free labor, quote unquote, that’s what they call it. Haiti had the most free labor system in the world in the early 19th century. You know, all of these intellectuals from around the world who were interested in this question on remarking upon, the code Ari and and other elements of society and on on petion’s side, for example, and it’s not labor again that we would consider extremely progressive today by any stretch of imagination, but compared to chattel slavery. So the the European onlookers are comparing it to the systems of labor that they have, which are the most unfree labor systems in the world. Right? And so that’s really once you see that, okay, you have to look at this Haitian law, and you have to start with law banning slavery. And you have to see that there’s 3 precisions made so that no, kind of, misunderstanding could happen. You know, he uses the word servitude there. Forever abolished, he says free and French in that in that article of the 1801 Constitution, at that this is not something that just affects sand domain that we can go to the US newspapers and see how they were reporting on it to show that they were like, wow. This is an actually amazing thing that is happening in the world right now. Jump to the 1805 Imperial Constitution under, that is reiterated, and then it’s reiterated under for the republic. It’s reiterated under Christophe for the state he builds. It’s going to be constantly reiterated, and each of those iterations is like a little bomb and a dart sent to the rest of the world showing and exposing their inhumanity because why can’t you abolish slavery? The Haitians did it. Look at this massive Kingdom. Look at this opulence. Look at these schools he’s building, which is what I talk about in chapter 8. So each of those is like a a little bomb, and a little expose. Another point of embarrassment for the rest of the world. And it takes them again a while to get there for the laws to come and to catch up to Haiti, but that doesn’t mean that what the patients did was not the most sort of radical, event, of the era at the Haitian Revolution, I mean.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:41:30]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:00]:
So a little bird tells me you’re not a big fan of Bonaparte. So before we get into chapter 6, what was I always wanted to ask you. What was your experience like, after you wrote that essay that, you know, basically, if I remember correctly, you’re like, yes. He’s a genocidal maniac. Right? So till till this day, whenever I bring up your name, so, you know, folks sometimes draw a blank. But the minute I say, you know, the Haitian scholar who wrote that takedown piece on Napoleon, and to a person, their their eyes light up, they’re like, yeah. She’s a badass, you know. So what prompted you to write that, and the the white lash that ensued from the quarters
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:00:46]:
anyway. White lash. Yes. That’s exactly what that’s the exact perfect descriptor.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:52]:
And, also, what’s your thought in the movie coming out
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:00:54]:
about it? Goodness. Whoo. How much time do you have? So the what prompted me was really I honestly was genuinely you know, I try not to be such a cynical in honor of the, quote, unquote, bicentennial of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death in May 18 21, and so The year 2021 was the bicentennial of that. I could not believe because to me and to the the the 19th century Haitians who I’m discussing at this book and to many contemporary Haitians, that is exactly the same, Not a king. Exactly the same as if Germany declared this is the year of Hitler. This is a person who had no problem Authorizing massive amounts of armies to cross the seas for the purposes of re enslaving people or killing them. That was the only purpose of the mission. You will do that in Guadalupe.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:01:59]:
You will do that in Saint Domingue. And I honestly thought French people should be ashamed of themselves, and I’m going to tell them about themselves right now. I really did not think it was going to have the effect that it did have with the white lash, like, I figured, you know, peep some people in the United States would say, oh, you know, whatever. Like, who cares about Napoleon or something since it’s not he’s not really part of US kind of discourse the way that Jefferson is or George Washington is. And I knew certainly that some French people would read it, and, you know, the New York Times is read in Paris, and they have a a international edition, but I did not expect so many people to email me, Harass me on Twitter sent me death threats over bona me saying, here’s some facts about Napoleon Bonaparte. And, they were completely the people who emailed me in this vein. And I should say, I got lots of emails from French people saying, Thank you so much for discussing this. I’ve always found it strange for other reasons.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:02:58]:
I didn’t know about this, but that we celebrate Napoleon for all of the, you know, murderous wars He waged on Europe also. And I had French people writing me saying, on the other hand, he created the Lycee system, which is not exactly true. He created the bump national, which is also not exactly true. He created the that we are still under in certain ways today. As if all of that, you’ll take a bank, some high school systems, some laws that didn’t benefit any black person from Guadalupe and Martinique, places that remained in France’s control because they were slaves until 18/48. And you think that all of that merits the lives of the hundreds of thousands of black people who died because of his actions and they have nothing to say except insults and you you’re the problem with the world. You know, Very strange. It’s, they can’t they can’t accept it, in a way that you don’t see with most discourses around Hitler except from white supremacists.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:04:06]:
And so that to me was is this an entire, almost an entire nation of people who are fine with white supremacy. And, I mean, we sort of already know the answer to that. We live in the United States. But when it’s called out and pointed out, it’s like calling someone’s out their racism is worse than actually being the racist. And this is what we continuously see even in, you know, African American discourse when we wanna talk about the past of of slavery. We wanna talk the passive segregation here, and that’s what we’re seeing in Florida right now as well. Mhmm. On the question of the movie, you know, I want to See the movie, for for multiple reasons, but I from what I have seen so far, it it will not deal with Haiti.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:04:47]:
It will not deal with Saint Domingue. It will probably not mention at all, slavery. And if it does, I suspect that it will be in some type of very brief aside. I think that if there were any part of it that had to do with Toussaint Louverture and his horrible captivity and death under Bonaparte in France that we probably would have heard about it. But, and so I definitely intend to write a review of that movie after I see it.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:05:14]:
Mhmm. So so it sounds like you weren’t consulted.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:05:17]:
I was not consulted.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:05:29]:
There’s an old Haitian expression that goes something like, throw the rock, hide the hands, and so you end up just focusing on on the victim at the end of that rock and the perpetrator who threw that rock it’s nowhere to be seen. The following question to doctor Dot was prompted by a book I think everyone should read. It’s titled Racecraft, The Soul of Inequality in American Life by Karen and Barbara Fields, the authors talk about how how the white perpetrators the white perpetrators’ guilty hands often hidden and the most seemingly anodyne phrases, here’s what what they wrote, it’s on page 16 of the Kindle version. Quote, consider the statement, black southerners were segregated because of their skin color. A perfectly natural sentence to the ears of most Americans who tend to overlook its weird causality. But in that sentence, segregation disappears as the doing of segregationists, and then and the puff of smoke reappears as a trait of only one part of the segregated whole. So let me rephrase that sentence in a decolonized framing. Black southerners were segregated by white southerners because of their skin
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:07:07]:
color. Here’s what you said about the use of the terms, slavery and slave terms you you write that Vate and, and Shanlat didn’t shy away from. Yeah. They they uttered those terms, however painful, the kind of memory work they were doing. They still use it. So here’s the quote from you. The word slavery and slave are ugly, dehumanizing terms that are falling into descriptive disfavor by contemporary Haitians who prefer enslavement and enslaved. But in the 19th century, Haitian thought the continued usage of the humanizing language of slavery and slave, were necessary reminders of what the Europeans had done to Africans.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:07:52]:
They captured and forced to work the land in the Americas, are we performing some kind of erasure or silencing of the horrors of slavery by calling it, you know, by not calling it by by the original names that, ancestors did, I mean, I mean, they had no problems calling calling the thing by its name. Right? Are we sanitizing things with terms like enslavement or captive or enslaved? Where do you stand on that?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:08:20]:
I I don’t know that I would say we’re sanitizing it, but we are unwittingly, forcing the language to become more passive. So even though I do use, enslaved Africans, the those terms, and, enslavers, I tried never I tried never to unless I had to for, like, you know, grammatical purposes, say the enslaved because that by whom. And so some of the sentences like the one you just read, you know, although thank you for reading that. It sounded much to my own ears, it sounded kind of unwieldy, and But I I wanted to have those words that this is what the people are doing. I did not wanna just say the enslavers. I wanted to say they forced them to do this labor. And because when we are reducing it to enslaved as a replacement for slave, something feels off about that Mhmm. Because it’s not the same way that I the the issue with slave for me is that, Because it’s so much a part of contemporary vocabulary, it seems to not capture the horror That was discussing.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:09:33]:
And so to me, it’s some of our sentences may just need to get a little bit longer. The planter who forced Such and such African, as Vate, points out their names constantly, to do x, y, and z instead of just saying the planter who enslaved This, you know, Africans on this plantation, that we actually might just need to recognize that the topic we’re dealing with is unwieldy, And some of our sentences are gonna be unwieldy because of that.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:10:08]:
So Varte may have coined the phrase white supremacy. Yes. I’m just you know, because of your work and and Chris Bunch, I’m just amazed by, you know, all the first with this guy. Talk about that.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:10:25]:
Honestly, I was floored because so in a little little known detail of tropics of Haiti, you know, you You know, since it was my 1st book, I would kind of workshop it around and get advice, and people kept telling me you can’t use the words white supremacy because those words didn’t exist back then. And I’m, Well, the concept exists back then. You know? So I had looked up white supremacy, and, you know, I’ve read lots and lots of Watte’s writing, but Sometimes the same thing happens to me when I read Silency in the past. I teach it almost every semester, and something new jumps out at me. And so as I’m kind of reading, I’m noticing well, actually, does use the brick supremacy of the white type. So it’s not exactly White supremacy, but it that’s what he’s saying. And then continuing to go back and try to unfold, well, where did this terminology come from? And to see that he might be the 1st person to use that terminology. And, you know, I make the point in the book that it’s not that being first is important, but, You know, isn’t that something that’s always said by by people who’ve always said that they were first, but then if you show them you were, then it’s not important to
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:11:31]:
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:11:32]:
Exactly. You know? So it’s like, oh, well, when the United States does something first or when France does something first, it’s very important, but the Haitians do it. And so I just wanted to point out the irony of it that, the Europeans have created the logic of white supremacy and purport to be the creators of that terminology and purport to determine who can use it in what era and when. And yet here we have Watte very clearly in the 19th century, deconstructing the entire premise upon which European slavery was founded and based and perpetuated and continued into other forms of imperialism and unfree labor in In today’s world, and and so it makes sense that having been some of the 1st people to break free of that system, That they would create terminology to describe what had happened to them.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:12:26]:
Mhmm. The word, what is that? You use it a lot in your
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:12:33]:
book Yes. So it’s essentially the process of unmaking. There were already people migrants as archaeologists call the inhabitants of the Caribbean migrants because they migrated there from South America. So they are, in a sense, the kind of first settlers, which is, the face of things a kind of harmless term, but has come to take on these kind of post colonial imperial, connotations of domination. So it was important, to sort of describe what the Europeans, the Spanish in particular, who came to La Espanola to Ayiti, what they did when they got there was to disrupt a community of settlers or communities rather because there were 5 main Principalities are on the island at that time, and they dissettled what was previously there. So they didn’t just settle, which is the kind of Sounds very innocuous with that they moved there and decided to take up residence. They actually had to do something or they felt they needed to do something rather about the people who already lived there, and first, they tried to enslave them. Obviously, the first inhabitants of the island, resisted that, and their the Europeans subsequently made war against them and continued to tried to dominate them until they had reduced their numbers so, severely as to almost make the population
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:14:07]:
disappear. You mentioned, Josh Chanlat. I think he was born in 17 in 17 sixties, if I recall correctly. Yeah. You you you found a Haitian Creole in his writing. Is that is that the earliest evidence of written Haitian Creole? And how is how is it different from current Creole? These are there some similarities or differences? I I thought that was fascinating.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:14:34]:
It’s not the earliest written evidence of it, but it’s pretty high up there in terms of There’s some 18th century examples mostly from Europeans who are trying to, imitate or describe the language of Cliole, so not necessarily for the purposes of recording it Or creating, you know, a a a fictional work as Sharma does in his operas and plays. So there are some other examples, But his are among the first to that we know about, from independent Haiti, certainly, we need To the question of how similar it is to contemporary Creole, you sort of see much more the influence, of French, and that has to do not necessarily with the way that people spoke, but with Jean Lot being educated In France
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:15:32]:
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:15:34]:
And that his, you know, orthographic style is clearly coming from his knowledge, his deep knowledge of French language literature philosophy, spelling, all of that. So the biggest differences you’ll see are spelling Or phrases that sound kind of maybe what a linguist would say is Frenchified, Cleo?
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:15:52]:
Oh, gotcha. Okay. So it wasn’t phonetic in representation and the way that it is today. Right?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:15:59]:
No. Definitely not. No. Much more related to the French spelling system.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:16:03]:
Okay. And I saw later on, Leclerc tried to use Creole too. Right? Like, to end this, I guess, propaganda. Yes. It’s okay. We can get into that later. So a lot of corollaries. You provide a lot of evidence of the connection you see you see between, you know, the the the the first Haitians, which we’ll get into, and and, I guess, the post independence Haitians.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:16:34]:
Right? Yeah. As you call the first
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:16:36]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:16:37]:
Quotations. So you state examples, for example, like, Mateu lamenting, sad demise instead of. Why why is that kind of historical connection important to consider in the intellectual history of the Asian revolution that you cover?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:16:56]:
It’s it’s important because the the writers themselves are making the connection. Right. And so I feel that sometimes there’s a tend tendency to say, you know, we’re too Strongly trying to push a connection between, for example, the Christmastime rebellion that I discussed from 15/21 or, Kaunavos, kind of, quote, unquote, maroon treaty or peace agreement, with the Spanish and the Haitian Revolution when, actually, it’s not that we’re pushing it too far or wanting to make connections that aren’t there, that actually, Haitian intellectuals have been making those connections for a really long time, and sort of that’s kind of a thread that is running through many different, sectors of the book is that some of the arguments that people consider scholars consider to be of more recent date, for example, the idea that the Haitian revolution is silenced, Well, Louis Joseph, Jeanvier, Jean Blot, Gmail, they pointed that out. You’re not even recognizing what we’ve done. You’re calling it an insurrection. You’re Colleen, as you’re saying that we live in Saint Domingue, continuously trying to bring back slavery, and all of that is within an effort to silence, the radical import of the revolution. So that’s essentially what I was trying to point out by showing that Watte and Ngo, Ngo had made these Connections that later Haitian authors like Henri Chauvet picked up and also sort of continued that discourse of If we really wanna understand independent Haitian society and how sovereignty unfolded and how the nation was founded, then we actually have to go back Several centuries and think about the, quote, unquote, first Haitians or the.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:18:49]:
Can you tell us about, Juniel Raymond’s, a little bit about his background, and then talk about I find this this was fascinating. Talk about Raymond’s description of the desettlement of Saint Domingue, via the the restrictive laws that that you know, to keep social control of the gendous couleurs. Right? Talk about the 3 phases. I thought this whole notion I had I never thought of this before. This whole notion of, like, there were very few white women in Saint Domingue during that period, and then that also sort of revealed the absence of color prejudice against the Jean de Couleur. Right. But things change, later. Right? Yes.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:19:29]:
So talk about that. That was
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:19:31]:
fascinating. Yes. So his perspective is that, yes, Slavery existed, but as, you know, I’d point out very strongly, he he can only take things to a certain, logical stream because he knows that he grew up in a family of enslavers. And, yes, he moves to France to try to get away from that. Yes. It’s Disrupted. Yes. His relationship to it is always vexed, but he because he is maintaining this perspective that color prejudice is something that happens to the free people of color, that creates a space where he can’t really, Fold the enslaved population into that argument.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:20:11]:
And so he breaks it down, as you mentioned, the phases of the colony, and he says, you know, in the beginning, you had you know, bolstered by the edict of 16/85, Louis the 14th that became later the. You had this idea that the white men who were there, who had, immigrated or, you know, came to colonize the island, helped to colonize it, that they could marry the women whom they had purchased, quote, unquote, to be their slaves and in so doing, free them, convert them to Catholicism, and then the children would follow the condition of the mother in freedom. But if the reverse were to happen, which we know it must have happened because otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a law against it, they would, the the children would follow the condition, of the mother continuing to follow the condition of the mother. So it whatever the status of the mother was, that would be the status of the children. So that required any white enslavers to free the women that they enslaved if they didn’t want to become the enslavers of their own children. And so his His logic, there is a certain ring to it, something compelling to it when we think about how in the later phase, The white enslavers have no problem at all enslaving their children. In fact, it is exceedingly common. And so that’s what leads him to say, is he not a monster, the man who creates another being just to enslave him? Mhmm.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:21:35]:
You know? Mhmm. And and so that’s when he Kind of that’s where he gets closest to his most forceful critiques of slavery. But as you see later, it’s Still gradual emancipation. It’s the idea that you could just wipe away slavery and say it’s done. Everyone is free. It’s just can’t enter into his frame until it happens, and then he has no choice but to accept it.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:22:02]:
So so there was a part in there where you he described how as the white women started coming to Saint Domingue with their daughters Yes. With the expectation of marrying them off to the white French men there, but the white French men preferred the the the the the mixed women and and that was that what precipitate? Is he correct on that? Is that what precipitated all these laws also coming out against the at some point? Because the what because the white women, yeah, could marry off their daughters?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:22:39]:
Yes. Because if you think about the kinds of people who were coming to Saint Domingue, They were coming the kinds of French people, they were coming there to make their fortunes. So I’ll give you 2 examples. Julia Reymond’s father marries his mother, Mavi, who’s from a very a mixed a woman of mixed race, quote, unquote, a free woman of color, who is from a very wealthy plant, plantation family plant family of planters, she’s wealthier than he is. But but if you’re a white woman and you’ve just arrived in the colony, you likely do not have this level of wealth because the kinds of wealth that were created from the French enslaving Africans on that island We’re enormous. It’s sums that just defy the imagination and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of colonial. Money that’s a lot today is what I’m saying, you know, so we can think about how much it was even then. So there’s also the case of Bernd DuVatte.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:23:38]:
His father, Jean Valentin Vater is from Normandy. He comes to the island to make his fortune. What does he do? He marries Marie, Elisabeth Dumas, who’s the, quote, unquote, illegitimate daughter of Pierre Dumas And, becomes extremely rich. Pierre Dumas is one of the oldest inhabitants of the, Kind of Cartier or of the region of Marmalade and has multiple plantations to the point when with Jeanzatte’s marriage to Marie Elizabeth Mimi, they get all of these plantations. They get 1 in Gonaives. They have 1 in in Erry. And so the the laws come about To make it a bit more distasteful, to to try to, put attach some forms of shame To being a part of a, quote, unquote, mixed race or interracial family. And according to Raimond, those laws have the, produce the intended effect And make it more likely that white men will try to keep a woman of color as their, quote, unquote, concubine rather than to marry Them, which only increases the levels of violence directed at free people of color through the laws, but also physical violence, material violence, lawsuits, all kinds of things against them for, you know, not showing proper respect for a white person Or getting out of their way when they’re walking down the street together.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:25:07]:
The ridiculous things that Vatte points out are so absurd. They probably sound less absurd to somebody who grew up in segregated, you know, the United States in the period of segregation where, yes, That’s how absurd color prejudice is. You they don’t want to drink the same water as you as if something you know, what’s going to happen? They can never tell you, but it’s just you know, obviously, it can’t be so in the in the logic of, ill logic rather of white supremacy.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:25:43]:
Okay, so now let’s talk a little bit about, not not just Bonaparte and white supremacy, but also about France’s so called republican universalism, which you put in equivalent quotes, and and their so called declarations of the rights of man and, and how it’s indivisible throughout the empire and in the metropole. Right? So men of color, like, we go, they weren’t gullible, were they, the way the French were talking out of both sides of their
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:26:14]:
mouth? No. And it’s, it’s one of the kind of the Rico section. This is sort of one of the most painful parts to write because it’s not gullibility. It’s, faith that if true Republican principles were put into operation, that the world would be better And that the world would be better for people of color like him. And, in his he was a voluminous writer in the 17 nineties, And he talked a lot about his mother and brother and, his mother having been previously enslaved by his own father, And that this really kind of marked him and made him want to be a defender of freedom and that these he had faith that the French revolutionary principles, the declaration of the rights of man, that all of this language of equality was good, that the French were not that they couldn’t even put into operation their own principles Because they didn’t want to for economic purposes and that if the revolution were just left in his hands and initially in Toussaint’s hands, so they they are not initially mortal enemies, That, they could put into operation a better society, one that was more equal, but as you see, would still be determined by a forms of labor that to us now, you know, don’t look that great. You know, they were fans of the engagement system where you basically kind of have a tenancy On a piece of land and you’ve got a if you had a contract, let’s say, for 3 years, you’ve gotta stay there for 3 years, except it’s not clear how much Say, you know, it’s not like they had a written contract with the former, in enslaved population, the laborers, to keep them on that land. But what happens during and all these testimonies that are taken, after is the one who really starts This engagement system say, no. The the former enslaved population have to stay on the plantations where they were previously enslaved to work the land.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:28:13]:
They will be compensated. But they protest that and in dozens of testimonials say why they are protesting it, and, I just felt like that story and, was was so like, things could have gone in such a different direction. You really see people grabbing and Holding on to their agency and and protesting and trying to make a different society come about, and that’s what I really when In focusing on and in those sections is to show, you know, people make choices and they make mistakes. And but if you try to see what they were trying to do, you, you know, come away with a different perspective that They knew the world could be different, and they thought that they could make it so. And that’s one of the biggest tragedies, I think, of that part of the Haitian revolution.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:29:03]:
Mhmm. Let’s go into the, constitution of 1801. You described it as sort of the draft for for the 18 05
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:29:20]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:29:21]:
Constitution, you also contrast it with the US and France’s founding documents. What made the 18 0 1 Haitian constitution institution so unique during, the so called age of
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:29:33]:
revolutions. Well, it was the constitution that actually said That there could be no more slavery and that it was forever abolished, that word forever being really important given what France, was later going to try to do, And because Toussaint Louverture knew that Napoleon, had changed the constitution of the Republic of France to say that there could be different laws in the colonies From the ones that reigned in the metropole, and in Toussaint’s mind, why would Napoleon do that Unless he intended to make some laws that would be unfair to the colonies. So instead of doing what Raimond did, which was to protest that
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:30:15]:
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:30:16]:
To send you the rep to her says, okay. You want there to be different laws in the colonies, that’s fine. We’ll make them. And so that becomes the most radically free set of laws around at the time because the US couldn’t manage it. In fact, skirts the question indefinitely 3 fifths of a person doesn’t even mention slavery in the constitution. And, you know, some of these scholars no. They’re leaving the door open for abolition. Well, the doors had to stay open for a really long time then because, you know, the draft is in 17/89, and we don’t get even Haitian proclamation till the 18 sixties.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:30:49]:
Right? Mhmm. And so in the Haitian case or Saint Domingue case in that sense, they work really quickly. I think it’s pretty remarkable, and it shows that it’s not hard at all To make laws to abolish slavery. It’s not hard, and it doesn’t take a long time. And when Santonax and Polverell do it, we also see that. It’s not hard, and it doesn’t take a long time. And yet so many people would like us to believe today, oh, the framers in the United States, they couldn’t do it. They just couldn’t.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:31:18]:
The South would have protested x, y, and z would have happened, and yet all the French colonists protested at for Saint Donnex’s, proclamation, And they had to accept it. They had to accept it or leave because it’s about choices. Of you know, one of the things I talk about is I I wanna move away from the idea of historical inevitability. Things were the way happened the way they did because people made those things happen based on their choices. It was not inevitable that slavery would have been abolished in the way it was, but for the example of the Haitian revolution and Haitian independence.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:31:54]:
You, this and this I call these the connective passages from your book, and I love this one, you said this, the freedom fighters of Guacaima and the maroons of Saint Domingue, the very ones who refused to put down arms even when Diasu and others were negotiating with French authorities in the fall of 17/91 are in many ways the ghost writers of the 18/01 constitution. Mhmm. It’s another example of deeds and discourse.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:32:30]:
Yeah. Definitely. Because, you know, Toussaint is a part of that BSU. He’s not the most powerful at that time, but he’s part of that kind of, group of of people who are negotiating with French authorities, And they know that the enslaved population that’s in rebellion at that time in fall of 17/91 is not working, has shut down the plantation economy, is refusing slavery. They know that they cannot Just say, oh, go back and and work in under the same conditions and without getting anything in return. And so, the, Affirmage system comes about because the former Enslaved population, which they refer to then as the laborers, the male and female laborers in the after slavery is abolished formally in 17/93, have to get something in return, and that something in return is at first 1 fourth of the properties minus some things and, Some sort of more complicated things about the how the inner workings of these, quote, unquote, farms no longer plantations. Although they did some they did still use the word, it starts to take on a different con connotation after slavery is abolished, that they have to get something in return that corporal punishment to a large extent to be eliminated, although we do see a difference between Santo Daix and System, but, Toussaint’s system doesn’t really mention anything about that at all, because this Question of whipping as punishment in quotation marks because they’re not committing crimes, the enslaved, but the enslavers are framing their rebellions at that way, that that this has to go away, that they don’t want to be treated in an inhumane way, and that the Creators of the 1801 constitution know this already and have to keep this in mind. Their system grinds to a halt, will never work unless they get the, quote, unquote, laborers on their side.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:34:30]:
And the interesting thing about that is that Henri Christophe, one of the 1st things that he does when he breaks off from the South and and, becomes president of the North is to give a speech to the laborers Saying thank you for coming along on this journey with me, and it ends up being published in the one of the first editions of the Gazettee de l’Et d’Iti from 18/07. Thank you from for coming along this journey with I promise to respect your rights. I promise I won’t violate them. I promise we’re gonna be prosperous. The That the laboring population of the island is the key to understanding how and why certain laws came about. They had to keep that front and center that if you want there to be a laboring class because they they think that this is how society is going and should be structured, That there has to be certain, there have to be certain benefits to being a laborer. It can’t all be on the side of those who are making the profit and this tension has existed since the founding of Haiti and continues to exist to this day. And it’s not just in Haiti.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:35:32]:
It’s everywhere in the world. That tension between the people who actually produce and the ones who profit from it.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:35:44]:
You had the word free italicized when you, when you were talking about Toucen’s legal this is chapter 6 which says legal trying to to manifest some kind of legal society. What what what do you think Louverture’s definition of freedom? And why did you I tell us is that another editorial thing, or was that deliberate on your part?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:36:07]:
Yeah. No. That was deliberate just to say that the the definition that 18th 19th century people have of freedom It’s highly variable and sometimes suspicious. We know this because let’s look at the example of United States and France love this word liberty, And nowhere do we see it in their lands, right, or only for certain people and very limited amounts of people. And So Leubertier wants to bring about a free society, but he was raised in a colonial society, A slave society to use, Toyot’s terminology that by which he meant that the only reason that people live there is because For the purposes of slavery, so we called that that’s the definition of a slave society. And so how does, Toussaint Louverture kind of, scrub his mentality of the kinds of contradictory freedoms or nonexistent freedoms that existed in the land that where he grew up. So he doesn’t go as far as I talk about Amelie Cleese stuff later in the book does with, well, let’s try to overturn and basically kinda do the opposite of everything that the colonial era. Is a reformer is, I think, the best way to describe him.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:37:23]:
So the labor system is was bad because it required forced labor, and it was violent and horribly inhumane. Okay. What if we keep the same labor system in place, but we make it humane, we make it not forced, although There’s a question there, that we’re compelled. I don’t know what what word we should use. I mean, it’s not, you know, Cracking people with a whip, but you, you know, subject them to a military tribunal if they don’t do what you want. It’s, you know, not exactly, what we would consider free today. And so he and Rigo and Raymond and Santonets and Poverell, you know, Rigo’s phrase, without work, there is no freedom, is really to me, it the entire philosophy of this group of people, and it’s not until they all have to go away. Guaymond dies.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:38:12]:
Toussaint Louverture is arrested, horribly deported, you know, dies in captivity. Is sent was sent packing prior to that. Is already dead. It’s not until they literally disappear from Haiti. Rigo goes into exile, doesn’t come back until 18/10, that A new group of people can come and replace the system, although they were all raised, for the most part, in colonial or in colonial societies, and they too can’t completely divest their minds of the forms of labor that existed In the San Domingue where they grew up, and we see that very clearly when we look at the laws emanating from independent Haiti under its various rulers and various iterations as empire or republic kingdom.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:38:56]:
So I wanted to ask you, will men love Prophetess? Yes. What’s the deal? Was he a cross dresser or I know you I don’t think you cover him. I don’t
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:39:07]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:07]:
I don’t. You don’t. So I ran into him and Kellen Fick’s book, and then there was another book on him no. No. Somebody, somebody mentioned that Robert Taber’s rendition of is more reliable then that book. I forgot the name of
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:39:22]:
that book. Terry Ray’s book.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:24]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:24]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:26]:
Yeah. So what can you tell me about? I find him to do a fascinating is he was instrumental in the way that, Calvin Fick presented him as sort of, you know, marshaling the the west and the south of Haiti, sort of holding the line as it were. At least that’s my impression of it. I read that a while back. What what what is the significance in in Haitian history compared to to these folks that you’re talking about in this book?
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:39:53]:
Yeah. And I appreciate this question a lot it allows me to kind of, you know, talk about what is the difference between the kind of form of history that I am writing and, for example, what Carolyn Fick or Terry Rae and, Robert Taber, etcetera, others are doing as social historians versus intellectual historians. Mhmm. So one of the things I tried not to do was To introduce characters into the text, revolutionary figures and actors who are not, I don’t wanna say they’re not important to Haitian intellectuals, But who don’t don’t gain the same like, Mac Candel is in there because he’s important to Haitian thought. And even if the social historians come along and tell us, well, here’s the True story of Macamal. I’m very interested in that, and I put it in a footnote. Mhmm. But what matters for this story is what was important to the Haitian intellectuals Yes.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:40:41]:
About that story. And so they focus more on Gaumont for the kind of marshaling of different areas that you describe, But it’s Gomez, and the and the 3 maroons from in in Peugot’s terminology that really Hold the key to understanding, how Haitian sovereignty both developed and then fell apart. That it was about Forcing people to Haitian sovereignty became about forcing people to adopt this kind of overarching dominant narrative of the state and top down power, but there were people like Gammonk who weren’t necessarily interested in that, although he does Sort of hold sovereign power, but not in the same way as Christophe or Dessalines or or Petznel, after Dessalines. But But, so that’s who they focus on. So that was interesting to me to think about the people who I thought would come up and figure prominently but weren’t and what what that tension has to tell us about how historical memory works, but also how, personal memory works because And Wathey and Charlotte and Gillette, they lived through this revolution, Dessalines, and they’re telling us about it as it’s unfolding. And so to talk about like, that’s why, even though now we’re like, oh, that’s not the moment we should be focused on, But it was certainly the moment that these writers were focused on because it did create a huge shockwave throughout the world of How are you torturing people in broad
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:16]:
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:42:17]:
And not even trying to hide it? You know? And so so that’s why a figure like Vitessev has a very, very fascinating history and career as a revolutionary, but doesn’t, figure in the past.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:29]:
And into. Okay. Yeah. In Vincent Oje’s death, you said that was more of a
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:42:36]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:37]:
Than his actual contribution as a revolutionary.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:42:40]:
Yes. Yes. And I think the same with Macandall. It it I don’t wanna say it doesn’t matter if he was poisoning people or not. Of course. Like, It matters, but what mattered at was what happened in the to the people who were being enslaved after that was that they They started to rebel based on that fact, based on Mhmm. His execution, which is what happened with Vincent Oje. Now you just set people even more because this is so inhumane.
Dr. Marlene Daut [00:43:08]:
They’re doing these things in public squares, and the world is commenting upon And people are a little incredulous, with all the horrors. And that’s why Vate’s, you know, is so powerful is that he basically took off their clothes and forced them to pray through the street and said, I’m gonna lay bare every single thing that you did starting with you, and they couldn’t handle it. And the story is a a part of the history that gets silenced in the European narrative and, like, kind of coaxed and, oh, he was just, you know, you know, not really doing this or not not really arguing on behalf of the enslaved when it didn’t matter if he was or not because the the white French colonists behaved as if he did, and they told them that if he did. And that’s what the lesson that the revolutionaries took. Brings it up constantly because it was so horrific, and they didn’t forget it. 10 years could go by, and they still all remembered This horrible execution.