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Rob Taber @RobTaber
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Now at #AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti on "Saint-Domingue and Disciplinary (Dis)Loyalties: Literature and History" with @Soccerpolitics, @JohnGarrigus, Julia Prest, Yvonne Fabella, and Logan Connors. Here's the theater database @soccerpolitics just mentioned:

theatreinsaintdomingue.org
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@Soccerpolitics starts with a broad question, "What is it that we know about Saint-Domingue? What do we still need to know?"

@JohnGarrigus comments on how much MORE there is at the AHA on Saint-Domingue / Haitian Revolution than in the 1980s.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@JohnGarrigus - more people are recognizing the importance of Saint-Domingue, the plantation machine. (PS, Garrigus and Trevor Burnard co-wrote a book by that name comparing Saint-Domingue and Jamaica.)
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@Soccerpolitics notes the tremendous work by Jean Fouchard on Haitian culture in the colonial period, including on theater, literature. Leads to question about the "bigger story"

Connors - lots of different models we can use to talk about theater in S-D.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Prest: I'm in a difficult position vis-a-vis Fouchard because I want to acknowledge the debt, but there are also mistakes to correct.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

It's striking to me that Fouchard's best known works are on theater and marronage, which looms large in our current moment & in Haitian nationalism, but there are lots of other books on Saint-Domingue

Prest wants the missing Kreyòl theatrical works - yes!
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Continuing my own thinking, it occurs to me that theater complies with Lockhart's law of the conservation of energy of historians - written about in the newspaper, about plays that (sometimes) exist in typed form.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Fabella points to larger cultural questions about Saint-Domingue as a colonial society. @Soccerpolitics - what is Saint-Domingue meaningful for?
@Soccerpolitics #AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Next question from @Soccerpolitics is about what approaches we use in our work - is it literary, historical?

@JohnGarrigus brings in Fouchard's work on marronage, resistance, revolt. Here the Haitian Revolution looms really, really large.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@JohnGarrigus mentions the work of @christinamobley on understanding the society, interiority of the enslaved through her linguistic work. @Soccerpolitics mentions Vincent Brown's work on Tackey's Revolt which has implications.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Prest discussions the importance of teamwork, the different skills we bring, particularly in digital projects.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Fabella - we need to recover the voices of women (of all races) and poorer whites.

(NB: Fabella's cultural, literary, gender, politics work has been very influential on my own understanding of Saint-Domingue.)
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Fabella: we need to locate these texts in their specific geographic, chronological contexts. Moreau de Saint-Méry's views, for instance, change over time from the 1780s to the 1790s. He's not just casual stand-in for the white male élite.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Fabella uses a lot of notarial records, parish records, the colonial newspaper Affiches Américaines, but often frustrated by the limits of the archives. Admires and emulates scholars who are able to coax more meaning out of these archival fragments.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Fabella: we can fill in gaps in a plausible way, in a grounded way. Archives are also texts that can be, must be deconstructed.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Next question from @Soccerpolitics is for the theater scholars - how did their work change as they moved to studying the colony?

Connors: we need to look at the colony context.

Prest: I want to start in S-D and work out, instead of the reverse.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Gotta admit, I'm struggling to catch the names of these plays, though I appreciate the difficulty of reconstructionist approach, or presenting these plays today.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@JohnGarrigus - I see lots of collaboration across disciplinary lines for Saint-Domingue, much more division for national Haiti. There is a wide spread in different tools to which we have access, ability, such as GIS and historical linguistics.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Conversation has now turned to the digital. Fabella is providing an overview of the wonderful marronnage database found here: marronnage.info/en/interroger.…
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

I also note that Affiches Américaines is online in toto thanks to @uflib here:

ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00000449/000…
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@JohnGarrigus notes that digital projects improve access, but access for Haitians is still difficult. Prest notes that placing websites in Haitian Kreyòl help with access, but don't solve it.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

@Soccerpolitics notes that #DH access also requires sites that are light in bandwidth.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Emily Clark points back to @JohnGarrigus initial comment about Saint-Domingue as an exemplar of the 18th century. Pennsylvania economy totally dependent on Saint-Domingue in 18th century. But field in danger due to cuts to Modern Language departments.
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

Prest is helpfully summarizing Les veuves créoles. First play that we know came out of the French Caribbean in around ~1767.

books.google.com/books/about/Le…
#AHA19 #s115 #HHaiti

The first play printed in Saint-Domingue was Le Siège de Calais in the early 1760s, being summarized by Connors.

mhra.org.uk/publications/L…
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