Laurent Dubois on Aeon on the Haitian Revolution and writing Atlantic History:
“That is notably true when we think about how to write the history of slavery, and more particularly of the enslaved themselves and how they experienced, viewed and, at times, rebelled against the institution. The Atlantic was the site of one of the most dramatic movements of people in human history: the slave trade, which brought at least 12 million Africans to the Americas between the 16th and the 19th centuries. The history of the slave ship is at the centre of Atlantic History.
“About 45 per cent of the Africans brought to the Americas came to the Caribbean, a region that has been one of the most generative in terms of both theory and practice surrounding the problem of writing history. The region’s intellectuals, writers, visual artists and musicians have long grappled in particularly rich ways with the question of how to narrate and confront the history of indigenous genocide, European colonialism, the slave trade and the plantation, and the rich and layered cultural history that emerged out of this interaction of global and local forces. Historians such as C L R James and Eric Williams, whose work has been pivotal in the development of Atlantic History, were part of this broader cultural and intellectual matrix. In the decades since, other thinkers – notably the Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot – have been at the centre of discussions about how we write modern history from a perspective rooted in the Caribbean. And at the centre of much of this thinking about history and politics in the Caribbean has been one of the most interesting epics in modern history: the Haitian Revolution….”