This book explores the ways in which Haiti, its history and contemporary realities, have been constructed and circulated outside of the country not only by the international media and political pundits, but also by development and humanitarian aid workers, missionaries and even academics engaged in the field of Haitian studies. Drawing on the discipline of anthropology, and more specifically cultural anthropology, the book investigates the persistent and constraining narrative of Haiti's exceptional nature. This book shows that Haiti and anthropology have been — and continues to be — very much mutually constitutive. The chapters argue that, for all its exceptionalism, the island nation has also served as a cautionary tale, a model for humanitarian aid and development projects, and a point of origin for general theorizing of the Third World. By analyzing the long-standing reciprocal relationship between Haiti and anthropology, the book attempts to make sense of the dialectic of exemplarity and alterity as well as to identify specific moments of knowledge production in and on Haiti.
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