Joseph La Hausse de Lalouvière, Harvard University
Friends of the MCEAS Dissertation Fellow
“Enslavement and Empire in the French Caribbean, 1793–1848”
France was the first nation to abolish slavery in its Atlantic empire (1793/4), but was also unique in subsequently re-enslaving its black citizens. Joseph’s dissertation studies how re-enslavement shaped the politics of France’s Caribbean empire from the Haitian revolution (1791–1804) until abolition in 1848. His research traces cases of re-enslavement in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana through a wide range of manuscript and print sources. The study argues that the legal restoration of slavery after the Haitian revolution normalized the confiscation of black citizens’ rights to maintain a plantation labor force. Efforts to overturn abolition forced a large black population to live between freedom and slavery. Their precarious existence on the plantation periphery challenged the resurgent power of planter elites and enacted emancipation from below.