Haiti and the Americas

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Haiti has long played an important role in global perception of the western hemisphere, but ideas about Haiti often appear paradoxical. Is it a land of tyranny and oppression or a beacon of freedom as site of the world's only successful slave revolution? A bastion of devilish practices or a devoutly religious island? Does its status as the second independent nation in the hemisphere give it special lessons to teach about postcolonialism, or is its main lesson one of failure? Haiti and the Americas brings together an interdisciplinary group of essays to examine the influence of Haiti throughout the hemisphere, to contextualize the ways that Haiti has been represented over time, and to look at Haiti's own cultural expressions in order to think about alternative ways of imagining its culture and history. Thinking about Haiti requires breaking through a thick layer of stereotypes. Haiti is often represented as the region's nadir of poverty, of political dysfunction, and of savagery. Contemporary media coverage fits very easily into the narrative of Haiti as a dependent nation, unable to govern or even fend for itself, a site of lawlessness that is in need of more powerful neighbors to take control. Essayists in Haiti and the Americas present a fuller picture developing approaches that can account for the complexity of Haitian history and culture.