“Welcoming the New Year with New Books”

“Welcoming the New Year with New Books”

To celebrate the coming of the new year 2019 toward self-care and intellectual formation, I am pleased to welcome five new books in my home library:

1. “The Expanding Blaze: How the American Revolution Ignited the World, 1775-1848” by Jonathan Israel

2. “Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics” by Josef Sorett

3. “Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 1915-1952” by Wallace Best

4. “New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration” by Judith Weisenfeld

5. “Now My Eyes Have Seen You: Images of Creation and Evil in the Book of Job” by Robert Fyall

*** The above books, although some of them were published three to four years ago, were in amazon’s wish list; I waited when the price was substantially reduced to order them. This is my technique or method to buy new books, which I have been practicing since I was an undergrad student. 🙂

“A Return to Toussaint’s engagement with faith”

Two years ago, I wrote a 56 page draft on the religious belief of Haiti’s founding father Toussaint Louverture, wherein I reread selected primary texts written by Toussaint himself, in which he discussed his religious sensibility and attitude through his own autobiography, the legal texts he ordered as Governor of Saint-Domingue to be instituted, and the various correspondences and letters he penned to British and French political leaders in the second half of the nineteenth century—within the historical trajectories of Enlightenment’s reason and modernity, the promotion of “civil religion,” an ensuing conclusion of the triumph of rationality by European philosophers and men of letters and a useful blend influential political leaders in the Americas such as Toussaint Louverture, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Jose Marti, and Simon Bolivar found it (civil religion) meaningful in the construction of nation-states and in legislating new laws to regulate citizens’ morality and ethical decisions and their interactions in the corresponding newly founded society and culture in the Americas.

In the year 2019, shall the good Lord continue to grace my life with physical strength and intellectual energy, I will revisit the above article and explore what Haitianists, both Haitian-born and non-Haitian scholars, have written about Toussaint’s faith. The chosen methodology is to evaluate (1) Toussaint’s faith in the context of Vodou scholarship, (2) Toussaint’s faith in the context of Haitian Catholicism, and (3) I will assess the historiography of Haitian religious scholarship in light of Toussaint’s own (religious) voice and “expressed religious piety and secular faith” through his written texts.

For me to write about Toussaint’s faith is to embark on an intellectual journey that will involve (1) the process of challenging and deconstructing “incorporated ideologies” into Haitian religious history and Haiti’s national history; (2) it is also an attempt to construct a more accurate narrative of Haiti’s founders (and the Haitian people’s) ambivalent experience with religion and faith; and finally, (3) this article is also a process to revisit and reconstruct the rapport between nationality, identity, and religious affiliation in Haiti’s national and intellectual history.

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