The 2014 Alfred E Golz Memorial Lecture: “Democracy at the Roots: Understanding Haiti’s Political Culture”

Laurent Dubois, who spoke at Bowdoin Oct. 23, is this year’s Alfred E. Golz lecturer. The Alfred E. Golz Lecture Fund was established by Ronald A. Golz ’56 in 1970 in memory of his father and supports an annual lecture by an eminent historian or humanitarian.

Dubois, the Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, is the author of several books on the history and culture of the French Caribbean and Atlantic World, including Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004), A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (2004), and his latest work, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012).

“Democracy at the Roots: Understanding Haiti’s Political Culture” explores three intertwined legacies of the Haitian Revolution on political thought and practice in the country: the largely hostile reaction to it outside the country, the formation of new political institutions and structures, and — most importantly — the creation of a new set of cultural, social, and economic structures that Jean Casimir has called the “counter-plantation” system. Dubois identifies both the main currents and critical counter-currents within each of these legacies, calling attention to the aspects of the latter legacies that seem to him to be the most valuable and worth comprehending and nourishing in constructing new Haitian futures.

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