HACIA UNA HISTORIA DE LO IMPOSIBLE: LA REVOLUCIÓN HAITIANA Y EL LIBRO DE PINTURAS DE JOSÉ ANTONIO APONTE.
In its first two sections, this dissertation offers a discussion of contemporary debates about the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), its relation to Western Modernity, and its immediate consequences in the Caribbean of the early 19th century. The argument begins with an extended critique of Modernity Disavowed (2004) and its theorizations of cultural hybridity and alternative modernities as a model for understanding the Revolution and the possibilities it opens up. Fischers perspective does not give sufficient attention to the political and cultural practices of the insurgent masses of slaves. To do so requires criticizing the prevalent distinctions between tradition and modernity or between the pre-political and the political in the most influential historical representations of the Revolution (CLR James, Genovese, Buck-Morss, etc). Following Alain Badious reflection on the notion of event, the second part also interrogates the underlying historicism of some of these representations.
These two sections function as a general background for a third, final one, which focuses on a historical document that is one of the most important expressions of the social imaginaries created by the Haitian Revolution in the Caribbean. This document is the record of the interrogation of José Antonio Aponte, a free black artisan, who lived and worked in Havana between the final decades of 18th century, and the first years of the 19th who was accused, in 1812, of being the mastermind behind a conspiracy against slavery and colonialism in Cuba. The center of the interrogation by the authorities was a cultural artifact of his own described as a libro de pinturas or book of paintings. This artifact regarded by the authorities as the main evidence against Aponte- was clearly influenced by the Haitian Revolution and contained a vast amount of images that seems to be a kind of visual history of Africans and African descendants, including the leaders of the Haitian Revolution Toussaint, Christophe and Dessalines. Part 3 studies the description of some these images as a form of political theology concerned with articulating a genealogy for a form of statehood, suspended problematically between the teleology of modernity and a different, non-Western form, of historical teleology.
Advisor:JEROME BRANCHE; GERALD MARTIN; Alejandro de la Fuente; JOHN BEVERLEY
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:hispanic languages and literatures
Date of Publication:07/06/2006