Using the field of humanitarianism as the critical locus, this essay reflects on what Haiti, called the “Republic of NGOs,” can teach us about unsettling the coloniality of being, power, and freedom if we acknowledge in our critical thought system the acts of humanitarianism this nation has performed. By pursuing the issue of agency otherwise denied to any organism—be it political or intellectual—that departs from Western paradigms, the author aims to contribute to the call on critics and historians to rethink the ideologies that have informed and continue to inform the patterns of research methodologies entrenched in various disciplines to address the vexed question of epistemic dependency. In response, the essay focuses on the episode of inter-minority solidarity between blacks and Jews when, following the 1938 Evian conference, the Haitian government offered asylum to the undesirables of Europe based on the principles of the 1804 Haitian Revolution.
Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and “Failed” Nations: Haiti and Jewish Refugees in the 1930s
nadège veldwachter is an associate professor of francophone literatures and cultures at Purdue University. Her research focuses on literary sociology, globalization, translation, postcolonial historiography, and genocide studies. She is the author of Littérature francophone et mondialisation (2012). In recent years her research has addressed the evolution of human rights, humanitarianism, and reparation issues in Europe, Israel, and the Caribbean since the Second World War.
Nadège Veldwachter; Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and “Failed” Nations: Haiti and Jewish Refugees in the 1930s. Small Axe 1 July 2021; 25 (2 (65)): 1–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9384170
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