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9362: Re: 9348: Questions for the list (especially academics) (fwd)

From: "Carrol F. Coates" <ccoates@mail.binghamton.edu>

After Bob's last attack against me (on my "imperialist" desire to impose
the spelling "Vodou," an orthography that I still consider preferable for
many reasons), I resolved to post nothing more on his net, but this is too
good to pass up.  I made the same observation as the messages came in about
the "best" book on Haiti.

First, I think the person who penned the above message is right:  it is a
bit outrageous to consider that the best books on Haiti are those done by
non-Haitians.  One problem, however, is that the majority of Haitian
specialists (historians in particular) on Haiti write in French, or
sometimes in Kreyol, not in English and, since those works, many of them
excellent, have relatively small market potential, they are less likely to
get translated.

Second, there are some very readable and worthwhile works in English by
Haitians:  Michel Rolph Trouillot's SILENCING THE PAST (I forget whether
somebody mentioned this); Alex Dupuis's HAITI IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER;
Dupuis  will be complemented next spring by Robert Fatton's study on recent
functioning of the government (1991 on, if I remember correctly)--I have
seen this ms. but unfortunately I forget his title--maybe he will supply it
if he sees this--to be pub. by Oxford, I believe; Patrick Lemoine's
FORT-DIMANCHE, FORT-LA-MORT, orgi. version in French, has been pub. in Eng.
translation of FORT-DIMANCHE, DUNGEON OF DEATH (1999; available from
Haitian Book Centre or other book distributers); Edwidge Danticat's two
novels and volume of short stories should not be forgotten as
valuable/readable contributions on Haitian culture in English (THE FARMING
OF BONES with a clear, specific historical background).

I do not offer these several titles judgmentally (they are "the best"), but
they are readable and valuable contributions by Haitians!