Fanm Rebèl: Recovering the Histories of Haiti's Women Revolutionaries
The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 was the most radical antislavery and anticolonial struggle of the modern Atlantic World and the only successful slave revolution. Yet the dominant, white-authored colonial archive, which privileges written texts over forms of non-literary expression that flourished in the archive of slavery, conspicuously occludes the insurgent experiences of women.
Even the histories that emerged out of Haiti in the wake of independence gave partial and fragmented insights into the lives of the women at the forefront of the struggle. Nicole Willson's research project 'Fanm Rebèl: Recovering the Histories of Haiti's Women Revolutionaries' represents the first major scholarly attempt to resurrect Haiti’s women revolutionaries from archival silence. In this seminar, she will talk about some of the important discoveries that she has made, shedding light on the stories of women that have too often been consigned to the margins, and thinking through ways that these histories can be recovered through art and material culture. In particular, she will spotlight two of the major projects that she has overseen: the creation of a digital archive (fanmrebel.com) and the production and release of a documentary following the life of the first Queen of Haiti in Britain (available to view here.