'So Much the Worse for the Whites': Dialectics of the Haitian Revolution

George Ciccariello-Maher


This article sets out from an analysis of the pioneering work of Susan Buck-Morss to rethink, not only Hegel and Haiti, but broader questions surrounding dialectics and the universal brought to light by the Haitian Revolution. Reading through the lens of C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins, I seek to correct a series of ironic silences in her account, re-centering the importance of Toussaint’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and underlining the dialectical importance of identitarian struggles in forging the universal. Finally, I offer Frantz Fanon’s reformulation of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic—overlooked in Buck-Morss’ account—as a corrective that allows us to truly rethink progress toward the universal in decolonized dialectical terms.


Haitian Revolution; Hegel; Fanon; dialectics; decolonization

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jffp.2014.641

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