Migration and Refuge

BookOpen AccessMigration and Refuge

Migration and Refuge

An Eco-Archive of Haitian Literature, 1982-2017

Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 58


March 27th, 2019


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An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched. Haitian writers have made profound contributions to debates about the converging paths of political and natural histories, yet their reflections on the legacies of colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism are often neglected in heated disputes about the future of human life on the planet. The 2010 earthquake only exacerbated this contradiction. Despite the fact that Haitian authors have long treated the connections between political violence, precariousness, and ecological degradation, in media coverage around the world, the earthquake would have suddenly exposed scandalous conditions on the ground in Haiti. This book argues that contemporary Haitian literature historicizes the political and environmental problems brought to the surface by the earthquake by building on texts of earlier generations, especially at the end of the Duvalier era and its aftermath. Informed by Haitian studies and models of postcolonial ecocriticism, the book conceives of literature as an “eco-archive,” or a body of texts that depicts ecological change over time and its impact on social and environmental justice. Focusing equally on established and less well-known authors, the book contends that the eco-archive challenges future-oriented, universalizing narratives of the Anthropocene and the global refugee crisis with portrayals of different forms and paths of migration and refuge within Haiti and around the Americas.

'Walsh provides a well-written and well-researched piece of work, one that scholars of Haiti will be excited to read. The book carries out a close ecocritical engagement with Haitian literature, using a broad corpus of primary works and drawing on the extensive body of recent work in Haitian studies. Walsh is a thoughtful and sensitive reader, and with this work further establishes himself as a leading scholar of Haiti.'
Martin Munro, Florida State University

‘Dans une approche internationale qui commence à dépasser l’attitude de déni pour mettre en relief les problématiques concernant l’environnement et les relations historiques et humaines, ce volume nous permet d’alimenter le débat et nous offre une bonne démarche de travail.’
‘In an international approach that is beginning to go beyond the attitude of denial to highlight environmental issues and historical and human relations, this volume allows us to fuel the debate and offers us a good working approach.’
Emanuela Cacchioli, Studi Francesi

‘The book is persuasive in the best ways: gently, intelligently, insistently, so that it achieves finally something that is quite rare—it leads you to rethink a whole literary tradition in ways that will resonate for years and generations to come.'
Martin Munro, New West Indian Guide

Author Information

John Patrick Walsh is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction Tè glise, Continents à la dérive: Haiti between Shifting Continents, Past and Present11
Part I. The Eco-Archive37
1. For an Eco-Archive39
2. Haitian Odysseys79
Part II. Literary Witness113
3. The Banality of Disaster115
4. The Distant Literary Witness and the Ghosts of History in the “Other America”149
Part III. The Anthropocene from Below183
5. Fictions of Migration and Refuge from the Anthropocene185
Epilogue: Land and Seas of Migration and Refuge, Past and Present228