Haiti and the Politics of the Universal; 12.-13.3.2010, Scotland

The Centre for Modern Thought at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) is pleased to announce a conference on the topic of

Haiti and the Politics of the Universal

The conference is free and open to all.
Friday and Saturday, March 12-13, 2010

After two centuries of neglect and disavowal, the Haitian Revolution has suddenly become a fundamental reference point for global emancipatory politics, a touchstone for critical philosophers such as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, Susan Buck-Morss, Peter Hallward, and Hardt and Negri. This conference will address this contemporary theoretical turn in Haitian Studies, discussing Haiti’s place in Atlantic Modernity and its central role in political history and theory since 1791. Topics will range from the world-historical significance of the Haitian Revolution to the place of Haiti in the global political order since 2004. The conference will bring together a mix of academic and activist speakers to discuss the broad historical, philosophical, and political implications of Haiti since 1791.

Since 1804, Haiti has named the founding, repressed, ‘legitimate’ violence of Western Modernity in its totality: both our spectral fantasies of slavery, revolutionary violence, and the ‘failed state,’ as well as the site of an eternally disavowed egalitarianism without compromise.

Friday, March 12, 2010  (Elphinstone Hall, University of Aberdeen)

9:00-9:30 AM, coffee

9:30-9:45 Welcome and opening remarks, Christopher Fynsk (Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen)

10-00-10:50 Nick Nesbitt (Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen) ‘ Traversing Haïti, Beyond the Universal Phantasm ’

11:00-11:50 Charles Forsdick (Liverpool University) ‘”Our past, our presents, and our possible futures”: situating Toussaint Louverture’

12:00-12:50 Alberto Moreiras (University of Aberdeen) ‘Historicality and Historiography: Haiti and the Limits of World  History’

1:00-2:00 Lunch break

2:30-3:20  Deborah Jenson (Duke University) ‘Placing Haiti on the Geo-psychoanalytic Map: Hypnose, Pathologies of the Middle Passage, and the Creolization of the Unconscious’

3:30-4:20  Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte) ‘How the Earthquake has affected Haiti’s National Democratic Revolution and International Geopolitics’


4:45-5:45 David Scott (Columbia University) ‘The Theory of Haiti: The Black Jacobins and the Ethos of Universal History'

Saturday, March 13, 2010

9:00-9:30 AM, coffee

9:30-10:20 Andrew Leak (UCL) ‘Haiti's “Nouveau Contract Social” of 2005: a Simulacrum of Citizenship’

10-30-11:20 Chris Bongie (Queen’s University) ‘(Not) Razing the Walls: The Post-Politics of 'World Literature'

11:30-12:20 Patrick Elie (Haitian activist) ‘The Lessons of Haïti’

12:30-1:30 Lunch break

1:30-2:20 John Kranauskias (Birckbeck) 'Haiti's Marvelous Revolution: Reflections on Alejo Carpentier's "The Kingdom of the World"'

2:30-3:20  Valerie Kaussen (University of Missouri) ‘Ghosts of Universal History’


4:00-4:50 Peter Hallward (Middlesex University) ‘Self-Emancipation and the Politics of Violence in Haiti’

5:00-5:30 Discussion and concluding remarks

For more information, please contact Nick Nesbitt (n.nesbitt(at)abdn.ac.uk) or Laura Mackenzie (laura.mackenzie(at)abdn.ac.uk)

Visit us at the Centre for Modern Thought website at: http://abdn.ac.uk/modern/