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Reverberations of RevolutionTransnational Perspectives, 1770-1850$
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Elizabeth Amann and Michael Boyden

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474481588

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474481588.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Revolution in Colonial Translation: From Saint-Domingue to Haiti

Revolution in Colonial Translation: From Saint-Domingue to Haiti

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 4 Revolution in Colonial Translation: From Saint-Domingue to Haiti
Source:
Reverberations of Revolution
Author(s):

Jeremy D. Popkin

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474481588.003.0005

Jeremy Popkin’s essay explores how French political concepts and discourse were appropriated in the Haitian Revolution and what was lost in translation. Its point of departure is the decision in 1793 by two representatives of the French Republic in Saint-Domingue to translate the 1685 Code Noir into Creole. Although this document, which reinforced the institution of slavery, was clearly at odds with the representatives’ revolutionary principles, it did guarantee certain rights and protections for the slaves. Popkin points to the many difficulties of translating ideas such as “liberty,” “rights” and “equality” into a colonial context, in which the slaves had very different political notions and the revolutionaries’ actions often contradicted their ideological principles.

Keywords:   French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, Saint-Domingue, Code Noir, slavery, Creole, translation of political discourse

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