Cover image for Hegel, Haiti, and Universal history
Hegel, Haiti, and Universal history
Publication Information:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania : University of Pittsburgh Press, [2009]



Physical Description:
1 online resource (177 pages) : illustrations.
Hegel and Haiti -- Universal history.
Local Note:
Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, MI : ProQuest, 2016. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest affiliated libraries.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Ebook XX(1424122.1) 1

On Order



In this path-breaking work, Susan Buck-Morss draws new connections between history, inequality, social conflict, and human emancipation. Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History offers a fundamental reinterpretation of Hegel's master-slave dialectic and points to a way forward to free critical theoretical practice from the prison-house of its own debates.

Historicizing the thought of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the actions taken in the Haitian Revolution, Buck-Morss examines the startling connections between the two and challenges us to widen the boundaries of our historical imagination. She finds that it is in the discontinuities of historical flow, the edges of human experience, and the unexpected linkages between cultures that the possibility to transcend limits is discovered. It is these flashes of clarity that open the potential for understanding in spite of cultural differences. What Buck-Morss proposes amounts to a "new humanism," one that goes beyond the usual ideological implications of such a phrase to embrace a radical neutrality that insists on the permeability of the space between opposing sides and as it reaches for a common humanity.

Reviews 2

Choice Review

Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History, an expansion of the author's 2000 Critical Inquiry essay ("Hegel and Haiti"), is a lively tour through Hegel's philosophy of history, contemporary histories of late-18th- and early-19th-century revolt, and the European response to the Haitian Revolution. Its main contribution to Hegel scholarship is its well-argued case that Hegel knew of the Haitian Revolution and took it as the unidentified model for his master-slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit, only to later distance that dialectic from its concrete historical manifestation (even adding to the racial bias of his historical sources) in the Berlin lectures on the philosophy of history. The volume's second part, "Universal History," is less focused than the first, but clarifies the true point of Hegel and Haiti: the future does not match the past in the way that the modern philosophers of freedom supposed. A truthful universal history of freedom finds new chapters not in the orderly narratives of Western progress, but in the "historical anomalies" the Haitian Revolution exemplified. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. J. John Southern Virginia University

Library Journal Review

Hicok's new collection will further broaden the reputation of a poet already celebrated at mid-career; his Animal Soul was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award in 2002. Hicok is known for his muscular, witty, and charming language, and if poetry is a surrealist mechanism made of words, then this is a perfect poet. But is poetry such a mechanism? Though Hicok never misses a chance to make fun and to have fun, his poems offer a great deal more than ready playfulness. What elevates Hicok above many talented--but limited--pyrotechnists is his brave openness toward his (and our) feelings. He does not merely show off his tricks in front of the world; he embraces it. As he says in a poem about cancer, "There is a piece of a second/during which a jet is not flying/nor is it on the ground.//I'm working on a theory/that no one can die/inside that piece of a second.//If you are comforted by this thought you are welcome/to keep it." Ultimately, this collection works because it dwells on human experience and because at its best the language is charged with unforgettably lyrical wisdom. Recommended for all poetry collections.--Ilya Kaminsky, San Diego State Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.