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Publisher's note: Bob Corbett offered this on-line version of his Haitian history course in the Summer of 1995. Some marginal material has been removed or placed in other contexts. The series of lectures presented here remains incomplete.
This is a course in Haitian history. However, it has an overall thesis which is not in itself historical. I maintain that in order to understand Haiti today, her politics, economics, culture, daily lifeform—anthing, you MUST understand her in her history and genesis. Thus I am not doing the history merely as an historical curiosity, but in order to understand Haiti today.
This is a first beginning in Haitian history. I will not assume you
know much if anything, and the first
lecture will be a very
basic one of geography and some demographics, current situation.
Those of you who are more experienced, please remember that this is a
basic first course in Haitian history and I urge you to be especially
patient with those who don't know Haiti well. Hey, I've been
teaching this course for several years and I've had students in the
past who don't know Haiti from Tahiti, and couldn't place them
geographicaly vis-a-vis the U.S. or one another.
We will begin with BASICS.
My plan is to run the course 8 calendar weeks, and hope to get all the
material done in that time frame. But, no matter what, we will not
finish until we
cover in some fashion, 21 topics. (Actually 22,
since I snuck in on A and B topic #.)
Obviously if we're doing this in 8 weeks, plus some introductory materials, which we are, that's about 3 topics. Some of these topics will be very very very superficially treated. Sorry, can't help that. But, OUTSIDE class, anyone who wants to take any of these topics and work with me and others to do more—well, so much the better. The topics could keep us going for the next 10 years and then some.
Bob Corbett, instructor
Course taught exclusively on-line
This course will attempt to overview Haitian history from the pre-Columbian days until the current time. The central thesis of the course is this:
IN ORDER TO ADEQUATELY UNDERSTAND THE CURRENT SITUATION IN HAITI, ONE MUST UNDERSTAND THE ORIGINS OF THE HAITIAN SOCIAL, GOVERNMENT AND ECONONIC SYSTEMS. THUS AN UNDERSTADING OF THE GENERAL HISTORY OF HAITI IS NECESSARY TO GRASP THE CURRENT MILEAU.
A brief Introduction
However, if your local library doesn’t have this book (written in the 1970s, but long since out-of-print), then you'll have to pick another, and do so with my approval.
I do accept these books:
—Black Democracy by H.P. Davis
—Haiti: Her History and Detractors by J.N. Leger
—Haiti: Color and Class Politics by Lyonel Paquin
In addition, a totally non-required book, but one I would recommend (not as the mandatory book, but as an extra book) would be THE NEGLECTED AND THE ABUSED: A PHYSICIAN'S YEAR IN HAITI by Joe Bentivegna. (I'll send out ordering information on this one, which you could get by mail.)
This is a powerful book to give one some of the emotive tone of the poverty, misery and powerlessness of Haitian people today.
In the main that's it, but I will have a few other small items here and there. There are no formal tests. I don't want to do that here.
The last thing I want this to be is my normal classroom course just
don't on-line. I am hoping that the presence of a sizeable group of
observers or group 3 folks will enrich the whole course.