The City and the State: Construction and the Politics of Dictatorship in Haiti (1957-1986)
“The City and the State: Construction and the Politics of Dictatorship in Haiti (1957-1986)” charts a new history of place-making in the Caribbean. It analyzes construction practices in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince—ranging from slum clearance, transportation infrastructure, to the political economy of cement—to reveal the multifaceted relationship between the Duvalier dictatorship and rapid urban transformation in the mid-20th century. It argues that through the patterns and practices of building Port-au-Prince, the social, political and economic dimensions of the Duvalier regime became embedded in material space of the city. At the same time, the nature of these spatial and material changes informed the regime’s tumultuous internal dynamics. This thesis also situates these intertwined themes within a broader context of uneven geographies of power produced through the country’s long transition from slavery to freedom.
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