HI New Faculty Seminar Series
Reconstructing Haiti? Security, Territory and Decentralization
This paper explores development discourses and practices in Haiti since the earthquake. Washington-based donors and the Haitian government are directing funds to the construction of export trade zones based on principles of security and the decentralization of the state and the economy. In the Haitian context, the political demand for decentralization has long been mobilized by excluded sectors and regional elites to articulate a counter-hegemonic politics in the face of the centralized form of 20th century capitalism and the state, a pattern hastened by the US occupation (1915-1934) and consolidated under the Duvalier regime. I argue that the drivers of current policy are well aware of this history, and are drawing upon it to resignify reconstruction as an imperative to attract and secure foreign investment in areas outside the capital city.