If you're looking to learn more about Haiti's history in the wake of Tuesday's horrific earthquake, you should check out Sybille Fischer's multiple-award-winning Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Fischer sees the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) as crucial to understanding Western modernity. Here's a great interview with Fischer in Bomb Magazine. When asked about Haiti's modern situation, she believes "Haitian history is characterized by a conflict that originates with the revolution," and that we must also take into account Haiti's isolation from the rest of the world. To learn more about Haiti's colonial past, consider Doris L. Garaway's The Libertine Colony: Creolization in the Early French Caribbean, a literary study which examines how French colonial writers characterized the Caribbean as a space of spiritual, social, and moral depravity. And if you're looking for expert opinion on modern Haiti, please contact Laurent Dubois, Duke professor of romance studies and history, and member of DUP's editorial board.
Two nice bits of news today. First, Monica Miller's Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity is reviewed in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Reviewer D. Scott Miller says he will now "direct all queries" regarding black dandies to Miller's book, which demonstrates "uncanny feats of scholarship that illustrate ways in which the figure
of the black dandy has been an elephant-in-the-room — albeit a
particualrly well-dressed one."
Thomas Chin, the San Francisco GLBT Literary editor for the Examiner.com, interviews Thomas Glave this week. Glave, editor of Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles, talks about writing, activism, and one of his other loves, watching ballet. Glave offers this advice to new writers: "I would say read as much as possible, as widely as possible -- and read
books, not only periodicals. It is in fact ridiculous, and even
arrogant, to expect to become a writer of any real merit if you don’t
read. And if you don’t read, why would you expect people to read your
Samuel Charters was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders" program on May 28, 2009. Listen to the interview here. Samuel Charters, one of the very first musicologists to study Afro-American music, has summed up his life's work in A Language of Song, which details his journey to Africa and to find Africa-influenced music in the United States, Brazil, and the Carribean.
Reggaeton, the first book on the popular Latin music, is reviewed in Remezcla. Alexis Stephens says, "Reggaeton is a well-(g)rounded and engrossing approach to a subject matter that is both mainstream and marginalized at the same time. Most definitely an essential read for anyone interested in modern Caribbean popular culture." If you're in New York, you can head over to Hunter College for the book launch tonight, followed by a fun afterparty at Que Bajo?! featuring DJ Wayne&Wax (aka one of the book's editors Wayne Marshall) and DJs Uproot Andy and Geko Jones.
Allen Wells was interviewed about his new book Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosúa, on Maine Things Considered yesterday. The book tells the story of 750 Jewish refugees who were offered an unlikely sanctuary from Nazi Germany in the Dominican Republic. Wells is the son of one of those refugees. He says, "I sort of grew up with the story, it was like a fractured fairy tale.
My dad talked about it all the time, he spent seven years at this
farming settlement in the Dominican Republic and like any good fairy
tale it had heroes, it had villians. The heroes were refugees who had
heroically fled Europe and rebuilt their lives in the tropics, and the
villain was Hitler who of course drove them out. I was a little more
ambiguous about the dictator Trujillo and the U.S. government at that
time. They were very grateful for the fact that this rascist dictator
had opened the doors and let them in when very few places would take
these settlers in."