Society for French Historical Studies 2
The first session, “Thinking Within and Without 1791-1804,” moves beyond the thirteen-year period of 1791-1804 and explores the fluidity of the revolutionary era unhindered by prefixes of pre and post. The four papers also challenge scholars to think beyond imperial boundaries and archives to shed light on the actions of revolutionary figures who have often been relegated to the margins: religious intermediaries, free women of color, and the enslaved.
Robert Taber draws on over 2,000 notarial and 1,500 parish records from Saint-Marc and Léogane to explore the social relationships of women of color. Tracing these archival connections illuminates the bonds of community that formed between women of color in the late eighteenth century, including across the boundary between free and enslaved, providing a needed corrective.
Erica Johnson examines the history of the religious body of Saint-Domingue from 1789-1804. She contends that interactions between the religious, the French government, and the peoples of African descent influenced the revolutions in Saint-Domingue.
Jesús Ruiz explores evidence from Spanish colonial archives that suggests the existence of a counterrevolutionary conspiracy in Saint Domingue, where royalist whites and free blacks sought to destroy French Republicanism in the colony and uphold the monarchy of Louis XVI. His paper offers new thoughts on how we might read the events leading up to August 1791 in Saint Domingue through a deeply transimperial perspective.
The final paper builds on Ruiz’s transimperial gaze and turns our attention to Kongo contributions to the Revolution. Christina Mobley argues that Kongo used knowledge and practices as tools to recreate autonomous communities of belonging in the aftermath of slavery and that they constituted the building blocks of independent Haitian society.
See more of: AHA Sessions