Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Haitian Declaration of Independence in an Atlantic Context

[We are grateful to have this review, by Julia Gaffield, PhD, of the conference, The Haitian Declaration of Independence in an Atlantic Context, which was held at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, on March 7-8, 2013.]

Last week twelve leading scholars on the Haitian Revolution and the Atlantic World gathered at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies to discuss Haiti's founding document: the Acte d'Indépendance or the Haitian Declaration of Independence. Julia Gaffield and Andrew O'Shaughnessy co-chaired the conference The Haitian Declaration of Independence in an Atlantic Context, sponsored and hosted by the ICJS.

In recent years, scholars have paid increasing attention to the Haitian Revolution and have recognized its central role in the making of the modern world. Based on the world's only successful slave revolution, Haiti's Declaration of Independence in 1804 now represents a major turning point in the trajectory of social, economic, and political relations in the Atlantic World.

This conference brought together Haitian and American scholars in order to undertake a thorough analysis of the content, context, and legacy of Haiti's Declaration of Independence based on new research in diverse archives. The participants explored various aspects about the production and dissemination of the document as well as its significance at the time and for the development of the modern world. [A list of the participants and abstracts is here.]

Please also visit the website to participate in the discussion and to access and share sources. Throughout the conference, three of the participants were live tweeting, which generated further discussion and expanded the audience (for a summary of the tweets, see David Armitage's storified version.)

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