Friday, 19 July 2013

'Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant' by Nick Nesbitt

Nick Nesbitt, Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant. Liverpool University Press, 2013. 346 pp. ISBN: 9781846318665.

Caribbean Critique seeks to define and analyze the distinctive contribution of francophone Caribbean thinkers to perimetric Critical Theory. The book argues that their singular project has been to forge a brand of critique that, while borrowing from North Atlantic predecessors such as Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, and Sartre, was from the start indelibly marked by the Middle Passage, slavery, and colonialism.

Chapters and sections address figures such as Toussaint Louverture, Baron de Vastey, Victor Schoelcher, Aimé Césaire, René Ménil, Frantz Fanon, Maryse Condé, and Edouard Glissant, while an extensive theoretical introduction defines the essential parameters of 'Caribbean Critique.'


-Introduction: The Caribbean Critical Imperative

Part I. Tropical Equality: The Politics of Principle
- Foundations of Caribbean Critique: From Jacobinism to Black Jacobinism

- Victor Schoelcher, Tocqueville, and the Abolition of Slavery

- Aimé Césaire and the Logic of Decolonization

- ‘Stepping Outside the Magic Circle’: The Critical Thought of Maryse Condé

- Édouard Glissant: From the Destitution of the Political to Antillean Ultra-leftism
Part II. Critique of Caribbean Violence

- Jacobinism, Black Jacobinism, and the Foundations of Political Violence

- The Baron de Vastey and the Contradictions of Scribal Critique

- Revolutionary Inhumanism: Fanon’s 'On Violence'

- Aristide and the Politics of Democratization
Part III. Critique of Caribbean Relation

- Édouard Glissant: From the Poétique de la relation to the Transcendental Analytic of Relation

- Césaire and Sartre: Totalization, Relation, Responsibility

- Militant Universality: Absolutely Postcolonial

- Conclusion: Aimé Césaire: The Incandescent I, Destroyer of Worlds


“This is a very important and exciting book. Extending his previous work on the philosophical bases of the Haitian Revolution to the whole of the French Caribbean, Nesbitt has produced the first ever account of the region’s writing from a consistently philosophical, as distinct from literary or historical, standpoint.”
(Celia Britton, University College London)

“Essential reading for researchers and graduate students of contemporary French philosophy, especially the currently flourishing revival of neo-Marxist thought around Badiou, Ranciere, and Zizek. For specialists in postcolonial theory, the book offers a challenging reconceptualization of their field, while for specialists in French Caribbean writing, it provides a new perspective on already well-known authors.”

NICK NESBITT is a Professor of French at Princeton University. He is the author of Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment; Voicing Memory: History and Subjectivity in French Caribbean Literature; and editor of Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution and Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of Music.