Monthly Archives: March 2010

Haiti: Art Histories

Haiti’s art is a primitive Negro folk art overflowing with decorative exuberance and childlike observation of Haitian scenes. “Haitian Painting: American helps island natives develop a primitive folk art,” Life Magazine (September 1, 1947) One must travel in the hinterland of Haiti, through its mountains, to observe the way of living of the poorest peasants […]

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Haiti: Art Histories

Jean-Michel Basquiat wasn’t just interested in history—he wanted to breed with, butcher, and avenge it. Engaged in a ritualistic act of historical restitution, he crossed the black diaspora with pop culture, religion, and drugs. Jerry Saltz, “To Hell and Back,” The Village Voice (April 12, 2005) In third grade, Jean-Michel Basquiat sent a drawing of […]

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Afghanistan: Architecture

Koh Daman is a favourite country residence of the wealthy inhabitants of Kabul, and is almost as thickly studded with castles as with gardens. They are strongly built, and are, in fact, mimic representations of the old baronial residences in our own land. John Wood, A Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Source of […]

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Haiti: Architecture

When a person has been acquainted in France with colonists, and above all with Creole colonists, he cannot approach Port-au-Prince, now become the residence of the civil and military powers, the capital of the richest country on the face of the globe! the most fertile in delights! the throne of luxury! the center of voluptuousness! […]

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Afghanistan: Boundaries

I know that it has become a custom in this century for great Powers to absorb small countries; and to carry out their desires of annexing the weak countries they adopt various modes and schemes. ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Khān, The Life of Abdur Rahman: Amir of Afghanistan (1900) It cannot be said that the Amir Abdur […]

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Haiti, Afghanistan, and the Public Archive

The Public Archive’s fortieth post is as good a time as any to reflect on its aims and its future. The Public Archive was a response to the coverage of Haiti after the January 12th earthquake. We felt a sense of despair at the depiction of Haiti in the North American and European press with […]

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Haiti: Diplomacy

It is usually the wrong sort of reporter who decides to stop off for a couple of hectic weeks in Port-au-Prince or Cap Haitien in order to get the real low-down on Haiti and Haitians. Such a fellow is usually looking for scandal and sensation-reeking local color and not the truth. He is already burdened […]

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Haiti: Architecture

There is little or nothing in the average street vista to arouse the admiration, though there is a certain cause for amusement in the strange juxtaposition of the most primitive African reed huts with the attempts of Paris-educated mulattoes to ape, with improvements of their own, their favorite French chateaux. Harry A. Franck, “Under the […]

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