HIST233 - FRENCH & HAITIAN REVOLUTIONS

Description: 
On July 14, 1789, a crowd of Parisian artisans and shopkeepers stormed and occupied the Bastille prison, a looming symbol of monarchical despotism. Their actions propelled the dramatic political and social reforms of the first year of the French Revolution. Two years later, in August 1791, enslaved Africans on the northern plain of Saint Domingue (colonial Haiti) rose up in a coordinated attack against their French colonial masters and plantation overseers, launching the initial revolt in what would come to be known as the Haitian Revolution. Historians have long considered the French Revolution a seminal moment in European and world history, marking the end of feudalism and absolutism while manifesting principles of meritocracy and universal rights into law. The Haitian Revolution is only now recognized as a similarly significant event, resulting in the abolition of slavery in the most lucrative colony in the Americas, followed by the overthrow of the French and the founding of the first “black republic.” In this seminar we will examine the two revolutions side by side, as profoundly interconnected movements, studying their points of ideological, political, and cultural intersection while comparing their revolutionary trajectories. How, we will ask, did ideas and events in France and the Caribbean influence one another, and what are their legacies? Structured around discussions of primary and secondary readings, the class will address a series of themes: the relationship between Enlightenment and revolution in the French Atlantic world; the redefinition of citizenship and its limits; the origins of revolutionary emancipation and abolition; popular violence and its rhetorical function; the relationship between authoritarianism and revolution; and the role of gender in revolutionary political culture.
Instructors: 
FABELLA, YVONNE
Day and Time: 
W 0200PM-0500PM
Room: 

VAN PELT LIBRARY 402

Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: 
  • AFRC234402
  • LALS233402
Registration Notes: 
CROSS CULTURAL ANALYSIS