Séminaire EHDLM – Deborah Jenson : “Beyond the Slave Narrative” (16 mai)

La 4ème séance du séminaire du projet Sorbonne Paris Cité EHDLM (Écrire l’histoire depuis les marges : le cas des Africains Américains) se déroulera le vendredi 16 mai 2014 de 17h30 à 19h, en salle 16 de l’Institut du Monde Anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, 5 rue de L’école de Médecine, 75006 Paris. Nous recevrons Deborah Jenson.

Deborah Jenson est professeur à Duke University, où elle dirige le Centre d’études latino-américaines et caribéennes, et co-dirige le centre de recherches sur Haïti. Elle est l’auteur de Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution (Liverpool University Press,2011, réédité 2012). Elle parlera de cette publication, dont on trouvera un résumé ci-dessous.


The Haitian Revolution has generated responses from commentators in fields ranging from philosophy to historiography to twentieth-century literary and artistic studies. But what about the written work produced at the time, by Haitians? This book presents an account of a specifically Haitian literary tradition in the Revolutionary era. It shows the emergence of two strands of textual innovation, both evolving from the new revolutionary consciousness: the political texts produced by Haitian revolutionary leaders Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines; and popular Creole poetry from anonymous courtesans in Saint-Domingue’s libertine culture. These textual forms, though they differ from each other, demonstrate both the increasing cultural autonomy and the literary voice of non-white populations in the colony at the time of revolution. Unschooled generals and courtesans, long presented as voiceless, are revealed to be legitimate speakers and authors. These Haitian French and Creole texts have been neglected as a foundation of Afro-diasporic literature by former slaves in the Atlantic world for two reasons: they do not fit the generic criteria of the slave narrative (which is rooted in the autobiographical experience of enslavement); and they are mediated texts, relayed to the print-cultural Atlantic domain not by the speakers themselves, but by secretaries or refugee colonists. These texts challenge how we think about authorial voice, writing, print culture, and cultural autonomy in the context of the formerly enslaved, and demand that we reassess our historical understanding of the Haitian Independence and its relationship to an international world of contemporary readers.


Organisation: Hélène Le Dantec-Lowry (Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle), Claire Parfait (Paris 13), Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Paris Diderot), Matthieu Renault (Paris 13)