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Freedom as Marronage$
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Neil Roberts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226127460

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226201184.001.0001

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Sociogenic Marronage in a Slave Revolution

Sociogenic Marronage in a Slave Revolution

(p.113) Four Sociogenic Marronage in a Slave Revolution
Freedom as Marronage

Neil Roberts

University of Chicago Press

This chapter deciphers principles developed during the Haitian Revolution by slave masses in flight. Its twofold objectives are a refutation of scholarship reducing the notions of freedom in the revolution to Toussaint’s vision; and explanation of the transhistorical, macropolitical, sociogenic conception of flight. Prior interpretations of marronage and the revolution describe flight while reifying a long-standing false binary in studies of slave societies: flight or structural reordering, whereby acts of flight are separated from investigations into revolutionary politics. The chapter argues sociogenic marronage allows us finally to discern how revolutions are themselves moments of flight ushering in new orders. Frantz Fanon’s philosophy illuminates facets of the sociogenic and reaffirms the importance of the psychological to the lived experience of freedom. Sociogenic marronage has four core principles: 1) naming, 2) imagined blueprints of freedom [vèvè architectonics], 3) the state of society, and 4) constitutionalism. Examination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s Declaration of Independence, the activities of slaves, Haiti’s 1805 Constitution, and an Edwidge Danticat short story vis-à-vis these principles underscore revolution’s relation to flight. It also highlights an adage of marronage philosophy: the ability of individuals to become free and to exit from that condition is fundamental to the human condition.

Keywords:   constitutionalism, Edwidge Danticat, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Franz Fanon, freedom, Haitian Revolution, slave revolution, naming, sociogenic marronage, vèvè architectonic

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