This essay explores the genealogy of historian and anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s writings as related to broader trends in historical scholarship. The author suggests that it was through Silencing the Past’s acceptance and ascendance within the very North Atlantic “guild” that Trouillot deconstructs in his historical writings that the ideas of nineteenth-century Haitian historians such as Baron de Vastey, Hérard Dumesle, Beaubrun Ardouin, and Thomas Madiou produced an immeasurable influence on the direction of historical scholarship across the world. The author argues that the influence of these nineteenth-century Haitian authors can be seen everywhere in social history, especially in the concept of history from below, even though most historians in Europe and the United States have never even heard the names of these other Haitian authors.
Beyond Trouillot: Unsettling Genealogies of Historical Thought
Marlene L. Daut is a professor of African diaspora studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789–1865 (2015) and Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism (2017). She is currently finishing an intellectual history of Haiti, tentatively titled “Awakening the Ashes.”
Marlene L. Daut; Beyond Trouillot: Unsettling Genealogies of Historical Thought. Small Axe 1 March 2021; 25 (1 (64)): 132–154. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8912823
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