Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Francesca Sautman

Subject Categories

Epistemology | French and Francophone Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Epistemology, Haitian Literature, Marronnage, Phenomenology


The word "marron " represents both a totality, and a specificity. Totalizing, the term refers to the slave who fled from the plantation, against the colonial order, that is, the fugitive slave. Specific, in the Haitian lexicography, it stands for a shifty and cunning individual, particularily a " Woule m debò "1. One has to recognize that there is a double meaning associated with the word, and at the same time, the syntagmatic locution "partir marron " reflects the individual's dependency on phenomenology. The moment of crisis is one of an explosion, through which one can only be free by severing all ties from this lieu , the colonial plantation. While running away, the fugitive slave engages materialistically his own survival. It is through this dual, sometimes pluralistic, register that I intend to decipher the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of marronnage , as well as the antithetical inversions encountered across Haitian lexicography and literature. My intention is to locate the continuities and discontinuities of this semantic transformation, while looking through the forgotten or missing links of Haitian collective memory. I aim, through a narrative (re) construction, to understand and clarify the meaning of being afugitive slave and a maroon and what that implies in a colonial and postcolonial order. My purpose is to extract, from this semantic strength and richness, what is tributary to history, as socio-cultural heritage. But most fundamentally, I aim to revisit and question the toponymic assignation of the term itself. It seems evident, in my opinion, that the " Marron ", if he originates from a lieu, carries in him all "lieux de mémoire ". In so doing, he echoes the significance more than the signified version of the term.