Professor Chris Bongie’s lecture on Baron de Vastey

Last week I attended a lecture by Professor Chris Bongie (Queen’s University, Ontario), one of the leading scholars in Francophone Caribbean Literature. The lecture took place in the beautiful Magdalen College in Oxford, and was organised by Dr Toby Garfitt. It was a very interesting paper and discussion about Baron de Vastey (1781-1820), ‘the first Haitian intellectual’ as Bongie defines him: a writer and politician who was very close to Jean-Jaques Dessalines and, after his death, to the famous king Henri Christophe. He wrote a lot of political and historical essays, among which Le Système colonial dévoilé (1814). Bongie’s paper was a very close and critical analysis of this text, proposing some important links with the more mainstream postcolonial thought. An English translation of this important and quite unknown text is forthcoming for Liverpool University Press in spring 2014, with supplementary essays by Bongie himself, Marlene Daut, Doris Garraway and Nick Nesbitt.

Baron de Vastey, 'The Colonial System Unveiled'

Baron de Vastey, ‘The Colonial System Unveiled’