Claims to Memory: Beyond Slavery and Emancipation in the by Catherine Reinhardt

By Catherine Reinhardt

Why do the folks of the French Caribbean nonetheless remain haunted by way of the reminiscence in their slave earlier multiple hundred and fifty years after the abolition of slavery? What method ended in the divorce in their collective reminiscence of slavery and emancipation from France's portrayal of those ancient phenomena? How are Martinicans and Guadeloupeans at the present time remodeling the silences of the prior into old and cultural manifestations rooted within the Caribbean? This ebook solutions those questions through referring to the 1998 controversy surrounding the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of France's abolition of slavery to the interval of the slave regime spanning the past due Enlightenment and the French Revolution. by way of evaluating a range of documents-including letters through slaves, loose humans of colour, and planters, in addition to writings by means of the philosophes, royal decrees, and courtroom cases-the writer untangles the complicated forces of the slave regime that experience formed collective reminiscence. the present nationalization of the reminiscence of slavery in France has became those as soon as peripheral claims into passionate political and cultural debates.

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Additional info for Claims to Memory: Beyond Slavery and Emancipation in the French Caribbean (Polygons)

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Poorer people who are less well fed are generally rather ugly and not very well built, according to Buffon. They degenerate because of their miserable living conditions (340). It is for similar reasons that the Hottentots, whom Buffon considers especially savage, are ugly, dirty, unhealthy, and do not live to be much older than forty. The Africans’ physiognomy is a result of the people’s traditions. Considering a straight nose to be a deformity, mothers flatten their children’s noses. They are also known to pull their eyelids, to lengthen their ears, to thicken their lips, and to flatten their face, all of which explains their unusual features (311–12).

His position echoes the pseudoscientific explanations regarding racial variances. On the other hand, nature speaks against slavery altogether since “all men are born 40 Catherine Reinhardt equal” and slavery and equality cannot be reconciled. If “all men are born equal” and yet slavery may be founded on “natural reason” in “certain countries,” does Montesquieu consider inhabitants of torrid climates to be “men” to the same degree as Europeans? How can all men be born equal if natural servitude prevails in parts of the world?

11. 12. 21 education system at the middle and high school level. The slave trade and the abolition of slavery were briefly mentioned in only one of four textbooks I consulted: Histoire/Géographie-4e, nouveau programme (Klein and Hugonie 1998). In the other three textbooks I found absolutely no references to slavery, the slave trade, or the abolition of slavery: Histoire/Géographie-4e, nouveau programme (Ivernel 1998); Histoire-Seconde (Lambin 1996); and Histoire-Seconde (Quétel 1996). For more information on how the revocation of the first abolition of slavery influenced the course of events in Saint Domingue, see Fick (1990: 204–36) and James (1989: 289–377).

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