In From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought, Scholar, Intellectual, and Theologian Celucien L. Joseph engages Haiti's intellectual history by focusing on the ideas and writings of Haiti's four most important thinkers and writers: Toussaint Louverture, Joseph Antenor Firmin, Jacques Roumain, and Jean Price-Mars--ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth-century. The basic argument Professor Joseph articulates in this text is that Haiti has produced a strong intellectual tradition from the revolutionary era to the postcolonial present, and that Haitian thought has not been homogeneous or unevolved--whether the subject might be history, religion, race, literature, or culture. Hence, the book explores the rich diversity of Haitian intellectual history with regard to its cross-disciplinary and intersectional content.
By carefully examining the ideas of Toussaint, Firmin, Roumain, and Price-Mars, Professor Joseph contends that the general interweaving themes of rhetoric, the race concept, race vindication, universal emancipation, religious unorthodoxy, secular humanism, the particular and the universal, and cosmopolitanism are representative of Haiti's intellectual tradition. Haitian intellectuals and writers have almost never separated these prevalent motifs from each other and in their work.
Correspondingly, From Toussaint to Price-Mars is a work on history of ideas and an attempt to grasp the intersections of rhetoric, religious ideas, race, and secular humanism in Haiti's intellectual history, as well as the various ways they crisscross each other. As a scholar and interpreter of the human experience, Professor Joseph seeks to analyze the thought of Haitian writers and intellectuals in their regional, international, and cosmopolitan context, and with all their complexity and paradoxes. This sequel is an expansion of what he has formerly called in his first book--Race, Religion, and the Haitian Revolution: Essays on Faith, Freedom, and Decolonization--"Haitian modernity."