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Hernandez, Juan Antonio (2006) HACIA UNA HISTORIA DE LO IMPOSIBLE: LA REVOLUCIÓN HAITIANA Y EL "LIBRO DE PINTURAS" DE JOSÉ ANTONIO APONTE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In its first two sections, this dissertation offers a discussion of contemporary debates about the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), its relation to Western Modernity, and its immediate consequences in the Caribbean of the early 19th century. The argument begins with an extended critique of Modernity Disavowed (2004) and its theorizations of cultural "hybridity" and "alternative modernities" as a model for understanding the Revolution and the possibilities it opens up. Fischer's perspective does not give sufficient attention to the political and cultural practices of the insurgent masses of slaves. To do so requires criticizing the prevalent distinctions between tradition and modernity or between the "pre-political" and "the political" in the most influential historical representations of the Revolution (CLR James, Genovese, Buck-Morss, etc). Following Alain Badiou's reflection on the notion of "event", the second part also interrogates the underlying historicism of some of these representations. These two sections function as a general background for a third, final one, which focuses on a historical document that is one of the most important expressions of the social imaginaries created by the Haitian Revolution in the Caribbean. This document is the record of the interrogation of José Antonio Aponte, a free black artisan, who lived and worked in Havana between the final decades of 18th century, and the first years of the 19th who was accused, in 1812, of being the mastermind behind a conspiracy against slavery and colonialism in Cuba. The center of the interrogation by the authorities was a cultural artifact of his own described as a "libro de pinturas" or book of paintings. This artifact -regarded by the authorities as the main evidence against Aponte- was clearly influenced by the Haitian Revolution and contained a vast amount of images that seems to be a kind of visual history of Africans and African descendants, including the leaders of the Haitian Revolution Toussaint, Christophe and Dessalines. Part 3 studies the description of some these images as a form of "political theology" concerned with articulating a genealogy for a form of statehood, suspended problematically between the teleology of modernity and a different, non-Western form, of historical teleology.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hernandez, Juan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBeverly, Johnbrq@pitt.eduBRQ
Committee Memberde la Fuente, Alejandrofuente2@pitt.eduFUENTE2
Committee MemberMartin, Geraldgmmgmm@pitt.eduGMMGMM
Committee MemberBranche, Jeromebranche@pitt.eduBRANCHE
Date: 6 July 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 December 2005
Approval Date: 6 July 2006
Submission Date: 17 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Haitian Revolution; Jose Antonio Aponte
Other ID:, etd-04172006-152726
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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