Democracy After Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica
An important work of Caribbean scholarship. . . . Clearly written and making skillful use of varied sources, this study shows that the struggles of former slaves and their descendants to achieve a real freedom, though ruthlessly crushed in the 19th century, are central to the continuing process of emancipation and democratization in the ‘Western' world.-- O. Nigel Bolland, Colgate UniversityMimi Sheller's ground-breaking comparative study analyzes the struggle for freedom and democracy in two Caribbean societies in the aftermath of the abolition of slavery.Pairing the revolutionary Republic of Haiti with the British colony of Jamaica, the author shows how peasants in the 19th-century Caribbean developed a radical critique of elite liberalism and constructed an alternative Pan-Caribbean African identity. Comparing two major peasant rebellions and the relation between them, she describes how Haitian and Jamaican survivors of slavery contributed to the making of democracy in the West.Scholars of the Caribbean and of postemancipation societies will find this book essential. At the same time, the issues Sheller addresses on democracy, citizenship, and subaltern publics will also be useful to the broader communities of sociologists, political scientists, and students of colonial and postcolonial studies.Mimi Sheller is a lecturer in the Sociology Department at Lancaster University in England. She is the author of articles in Theory and Society, Slavery and Abolition, New West Indian Guide, and Plantation Society in the Americas.