Overall, I enjoyed Mr. Popkin’s lecture on the nuances of the Haitian Revolution, but a few things stood out to me that I thought could have been improved. One thing that I think could have certainly improved the lecture was a bit more explanation about the Haitian Revolution in general and the context in which it took place. Being a history major, I have been briefly acquainted with the events of the Haitian Revolution in some of my other classes. However, not everyone else has. Based on some of the other responses in this forum, it appears that many other students had never heard of the Haitian Revolution and the significance it had in making Haiti into what it is today. Mr. Popkin dove right into the nitty gritty details of the historiography of the event, which gave more time for his in-depth discussion of the topic, but I think it would have been helpful to the students in the audience if there was a bit more context given at the start of the lecture. This brings me to my final observation regarding the Haitian Revolution. Mr. Popkin made the point that often times, the Haitian Revolution is virtually unheard of by the rest of the world. He then went on to further argue that the reason for the lack of education on the Haitian Revolution is due to racially biased curriculum that favors Eurocentric perspectives and historical events, which I would disagree with for a number of reasons. First of all, I would argue that the Haitian Revolution is sometimes taught, primarily because it is an example of a non-white revolution succeeding against European powers. I would also argue that beyond this characteristic of the Haitian Revolution, there is little point teaching it in an American classroom. In my experience, American school curriculum usually tends to focus on the parts of history that are crucial to understanding our country and the world at large, so besides American history, most of the history that is taught pertains to extremely important events, like the birth of civilization or the domestication of agriculture. The Haitian Revolution is neither significant to the course of American history, and outside of the subject of the history of French colonialist endeavors, the Haitian Revolution is fairly insignificant on the global scale. I would also contest the notion that American curriculum does not teach certain subjects due to Eurocentrism or racism because much of the history that I learned even as early as 1st grade was centered around the struggle against slavery and why racism is wrong. Perhaps things are different in the Southern states, but in the schools I attended, there was plenty of awareness for the folly of racist policies.
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