|Source: Editeurs Panthéon-Assas|
|Source: Editeurs Panthéon-Assas|
The Haiti Seminar /Le Séminaire Haïti
Money, Finance and Sovereignty
The Haiti Seminar
While not exclusively centered on Haiti, the Haiti Seminar finds its motivation in the profound impact of the tragedy of Haiti's debt on collective memory, as underlined for instance in the series of articles the New York Times devoted in the Spring of 2022 to the legacy of Haiti's debt of 1826. Haiti's "odious debt" started with the indemnification of slave-owners imposed by the French government in 1825 as a condition for acknowledging Haiti's sovereignty. This episode serves as a pivot, a prime illustration of the importance of sovereign debt, and a significant case study.
Haiti's debt is particularly noteworthy due to its role in highlighting the intricate connections between money, debt, sovereignty, and international law. The mechanics of Haiti's so-called double debt -- on the one hand the reparations owed to former plantation owners for the loss of their property, and on the other hand, the financial debt which the state of Haiti owed to the investors who had subscribed to the bond issued to pay-off the indemnity -- summon crucial aspects of modern global capitalism.
While the original focus will be on Haiti's debt (to which we will keep returning), the Seminar intends to operate a broadening of the perspective, covering diverse historical experiences during the two centuries following the original settlement of Haiti's double debt. More broadly, the Seminar is meant to provide a venue for researchers interested in the international politics of debt, money and state-making. It will feature a combination of paper presentations (based on circulated drafts) and less frequently, round tables devoted for instance to the discussion of new books.
The Seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach, aiming to bring together scholars from diverse academic backgrounds. In particular, it will invite historians, economists and legal scholars to debate their perspectives and engage in fruitful exchanges. It seeks in particular to foster discussions that encompass both case studies and comparative approaches and enable to put in historical perspective questions of debt sustainability, debt forgiveness, conditionality, political control, etc.
The Haiti Seminar is led by Marc Flandreau at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and the School of Social Sciences and Government of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara. It is conceived to operate over a three-year period, commencing in 2023-24. The project will distribute a series of research grants. In particular, 10 Doctoral Prizes of 5,000 USD each will be awarded to registered PhD students located anywhere in the world and working on the history and economics of sovereign debt, a funding initiative supported by Crédit Mutuel, Paris. The Seminar takes place online on Thursdays at 12pm (Haiti Time)/ 6 pm (Paris Time). It will be concluded by an academic conference in the Summer of 2026.
The Law of an International Civil Society: The Road not Taken
This lecture will take place in Room I.0.02 on the VUB's Campus of Humanities, Sciences and Engineering at 09:45. It is also possible to attend the lecture online.
Prof. Koskenniemi's lecture is the keynote of a symposium Imagining Peace in the Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914). In Search of New Actors and Vocabularies assembled by drs. Wouter De Rycke and dr. Raphaël Cahen.
The symposium ‘Imagining Peace in the Long Nineteenth Century. In search of New Actors and Vocabularies’ aims to investigate unofficial forms of normative peace-thinking in the long nineteenth century. In the period roughly between 1789 and 1914, political, legal, economic, and cultural developments made a radical and lasting impact on the possible representations of peace. Significant sections of European and American society came to define peace not simply as the mere ‘absence of war’, but as a desirable, long-term condition in which disputes were consistently settled pacifically. Changing patterns of communication and political agency increasingly enabled new actors from within civil society to contest these realities. Outside of the narrow circles olaat f government and high diplomacy, a plethora of new actors campaigned for a new kind of international law. Their ideal was ‘peace through law’. Our symposium investigates the legal imagination of ordinary lawyers, philanthropists, economists, feminists, nationalists, and pacifists. In his public opening lecture, professor Koskenniemi will engage with these questions. What were the roads not taken?
Contact the organizers for further information.