Citation

Developing Resistance: Radical Environmentality and the Haitian Ecology of Survival

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Abstract:

This paper locates the radical praxis of the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804 – the only successful slave revolt in history – in slaves’ “environmentality,” framing how survival practices constituted a decolonizing environmental epistemology. I read the slaves’ constitution of a body of resistant environmental knowledge via ethnobotanical, subsistence agricultural, and land management practices as embedding a particular relationship to the land in the overthrow of the planter class. I argue that survival practices such as marronage (fugitive slave subsistence communities), ethnomedicine, collective agricultural labor, and redistributive land management constituted a challenge to the exploitation of the colony’s land and the slaves’ labor by the plantation economy and in service to Eurocentric interests.
This paper also considers the imbrication of 18th century Western environmental epistemology and natural history in the ‘age of discovery’ with the French colonial project in the West Indies. It thus interrogates the ideas of nature embedded in colonial global capitalism; it locates the particularity of Haitian environmentality in the production of a nation-state that both resists and constitutes the developmentalist paradigm emergent from 18th century environmental and political thought. It examines the role of environmental knowledge in commodity colonialism and the expropriation of nature, and locates slaves’ revolutionary practice against this colonial ecology. This paper argues that the Haitian Revolution deployed an ecology of resistance against the colonial appropriation of nature, setting slaves’ survival practices against the plantation economy and Eurocentric natural history, and thus linking a rootless people to the land on which they labored as new-forged indigenes. Ultimately, it argues that dominant narratives of Haiti’s ‘failure’ to develop misrecognize rural Haitians’ ‘indigenous’ ecology of survival, and that this ecology operates within and against (neo)colonial narratives of environmental degradation, state failure, and chronic poverty.

Author's Keywords:

environmental epistemology and development
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Association:
Name: ASEH Conference – San Francisco
URL:
http://aseh.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p677373_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sapp, Sophie. "Developing Resistance: Radical Environmentality and the Haitian Ecology of Survival" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Conference – San Francisco, Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, San Francisco, California, Mar 12, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p677373_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sapp, S. , 2014-03-12 "Developing Resistance: Radical Environmentality and the Haitian Ecology of Survival" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Conference – San Francisco, Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel, San Francisco, California <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p677373_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper locates the radical praxis of the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804 – the only successful slave revolt in history – in slaves’ “environmentality,” framing how survival practices constituted a decolonizing environmental epistemology. I read the slaves’ constitution of a body of resistant environmental knowledge via ethnobotanical, subsistence agricultural, and land management practices as embedding a particular relationship to the land in the overthrow of the planter class. I argue that survival practices such as marronage (fugitive slave subsistence communities), ethnomedicine, collective agricultural labor, and redistributive land management constituted a challenge to the exploitation of the colony’s land and the slaves’ labor by the plantation economy and in service to Eurocentric interests.
This paper also considers the imbrication of 18th century Western environmental epistemology and natural history in the ‘age of discovery’ with the French colonial project in the West Indies. It thus interrogates the ideas of nature embedded in colonial global capitalism; it locates the particularity of Haitian environmentality in the production of a nation-state that both resists and constitutes the developmentalist paradigm emergent from 18th century environmental and political thought. It examines the role of environmental knowledge in commodity colonialism and the expropriation of nature, and locates slaves’ revolutionary practice against this colonial ecology. This paper argues that the Haitian Revolution deployed an ecology of resistance against the colonial appropriation of nature, setting slaves’ survival practices against the plantation economy and Eurocentric natural history, and thus linking a rootless people to the land on which they labored as new-forged indigenes. Ultimately, it argues that dominant narratives of Haiti’s ‘failure’ to develop misrecognize rural Haitians’ ‘indigenous’ ecology of survival, and that this ecology operates within and against (neo)colonial narratives of environmental degradation, state failure, and chronic poverty.


Similar Titles:
THE PRAXIS OF POOR PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS: THE POLITICS OF SURVIVAL, THE LONELY STRUGGLE OF EVERYDAY RESISTANCE, AND THE RADICAL INCREMENTALISM OF WELFARE RIGHTS

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