Julia Gaffield F'18
ACLS Fellowship Program 2018
Georgia State University
The Abandoned Faithful: Sovereignty, Diplomacy, and Religious Dominion in the Aftermath of the Haitian Revolution
This project studies the role that Catholicism played in state-building processes and transatlantic relations following Haiti’s declaration of independence in 1804. The evidence reveals that Catholicism was central to Haiti’s self-identity and to its status as a new country. Catholic authorities in the Vatican, however, claimed religious dominion over new American jurisdictions in the nineteenth century and they refused for decades to establish normal relations with Haiti, despite the fact that they recognized its political independence. By systematically analyzing the competing assertions and practices of religious dominion in Haiti, this project presents a deeper understanding of the complex interrelations of sovereignty, diplomacy, and state formation in the Age of Revolution.