Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History, University of Arkansas

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Johns Hopkins University
A Larger Atlantic: A French Indian Ocean History of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions, 1767-1804

In the final decades of the eighteenth century, France and her colonies in the Caribbean became increasingly connected with the Mascareignes, the region encompassing the French Indian Ocean slave colonies of Île Bourbon (today Réunion) and Île de France (Mauritius). One of the most concrete effects of this rapprochement was the exportation of Atlantic norms in the realms of slave law, regulation of miscegenation, social organization, and even missionary strategy. The tensions between these norms and the ethnic and racial realities of the human landscape on Île Bourbon in particular posed a problem. Shaped by a different history, the island's models of race were quite distinct from those in the Atlantic world. The eruption of the French and Haitian Revolutions (1789-1804), with their accelerated advances in egalitarian discourse and citizenship rights, shook the uneasy racial hierarchy that undergirded the colony's society, which the "Atlanticization" of the previous decades had already fragilized to a point of crisis. In exploring how Atlantic notions were imposed on Île Bourbon, and of the very different ways they worked—and faltered—there, my dissertation aims to rewrite the history of Atlantic Revolutions in an Indian-Ocean light.