Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, History, University Of Cambridge

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2010
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of Chicago
Property and Political Violence: Peasant Development in Post-Emancipation Hispaniola, 1802-1844

This dissertation will examine political violence, land ownership, and class formation in early nineteenth century Hispaniola from the beginning of the Haitian War of Independence in 1802 through the end of the unification of Hispaniola under Haitian rule in 1844. This work will examine the ways in which former slaves and agricultural laborers living in independent Haiti continued to resist attempts from state officials and elite landowners to resurrect systems of plantation production and forced labor. In a historic exception to the meteoric expansion of the world capitalist market in the early modern period, the former slaves of Haiti created a comparatively inward-looking society and a relatively autarkic economy. This dissertation will focus on the political and economic activities of the rural population of early nineteenth century Haiti with regard to land ownership and labor. In this regard, the relatively unexplored history of early nineteenth century Hispaniola is particularly relevant to the growing literature on post-emancipation societies. More than in any other post-slave society in the Americas, people in early independent Haiti who had themselves lived as property successfully struggled to possess property of their own. This study will begin by tracing the emergence of Haitians’ perspectives on land ownership and agriculture amidst the violence of revolutionary slave emancipation during the Haitian Revolution and it will follow the development of both state land policy and patterns of popular land usage during Haiti’s first four decades of independence.