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Tropical Apocalypse

Haiti and the Caribbean End Times
Martin Munro

BUY Cloth · 240 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813938196 · $69.50 · Aug 2015
BUY Paper · 240 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813938202 · $29.50 · Aug 2015
BUY Ebook · 240 pp. · ISBN 9780813938219 · $29.50 · Aug 2015

In Tropical Apocalypse, Martin Munro argues that since the earliest days of European colonization, Caribbean—and especially Haitian—history has been shaped by apocalyptic events so that the region has, in effect, been living for centuries in an end time without end. By engaging with the contemporary apocalyptic turn in Caribbean studies and lived reality, he not only provides important historical contextualization for a general understanding of apocalypse in the region but also offers an account of the state of Haitian society and culture in the decades before the 2010 earthquake. Inherently interdisciplinary, his work ranges widely through Caribbean and Haitian thought, historiography, political discourse, literature, film, religion, and ecocriticism in its exploration of whether culture in these various forms can shape the future of a country.

The author begins by situating the question of the Caribbean apocalypse in relation to broader, global narratives of the apocalyptic present, notably Slavoj Žižek's Living in the End Times. Tracing the evolution of apocalyptic thought in Caribbean literature from Negritude up to the present, he notes the changes from the early work of Aimé Césaire; through an anti-apocalyptic period in which writers such as Frantz Fanon, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Édouard Glissant, and Michael Dash have placed more emphasis on lived experience and the interrelatedness of cultures and societies; to a contemporary stage in which versions of the apocalyptic reappear in the work of David Scott and Mark Anderson.


Tropical Apocalypse is a fascinating and informative study of recent Haitian cultural representations of a series of natural and man-made disasters. In addition to appealing to a wide audience of specialists, this book will inspire and enlighten the thousands who travel to Haiti as members of religious and humanitarian missions, as it will help them understand how Haitians conceive of their own reality.

Mark D. Anderson, University of Georgia, author of Disaster Writing: The Cultural Politics of Catastrophe in Latin America

Tropical Apocalypse is a probing and provocative meditation on the place of apocalypse in Haitian experience—understood as both event and the possibility of its expression in the Haitian literary and visual imaginary. With passion and erudition, Martin Munro examines the ecological, historical, political, and human disasters of Haiti and the struggle to work through their traumatic legacy.

Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University, author of Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment

Munro’s groundbreaking, highly interdisciplinary study sheds new light on arelatively neglected area of francophone postcolonial studies — Haiti — by presentingfascinating, masterful readings of contemporary films and texts. It will no doubt be oftremendous interest to students and scholars alike, of francophone postcolonial andCaribbean studies.

French Studies

About the Author(s): 

Martin Munro, Winthrop-King Professor of French at Florida State University, is editor of Edwidge Danticat: A Reader (Virginia) and author of Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas, among others.

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