Join us as Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall discusses her latest book Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games. The Haitian Revolution (1791 – 1804) was one of the most important events of modern world history. Taking place in what was then a French colony called Saint-Domingue, the Revolution was the first successful uprising of enslaved Africans in the New World. The Revolution sent shockwaves throughout the Atlantic world, terrifying enslavers while stirring hope among enslaved people. Despite its importance, the Haitian Revolution rarely appears on film; however, an increasing number of video games have featured stories about slave resistance in Haiti. Why has this topic seemed so radioactive to Hollywood executives, but attractive to certain game studios? What films and games on the Revolution exist, and how do they portray this key episode in Black history? And why should historians pay attention to games on topics like the Haitian Revolution, as sites of memory?
Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall is Professor of History at California State University – San Marcos, where she is a past winner of the Harry E. Brakebill Outstanding Professor Award. She earned her Ph.D. in History from Stanford University in 1998. Her newest book, Slave Revolt on Screen: The Haitian Revolution in Film and Video Games, was published in June 2021 by the University Press of Mississippi. Her previous works include The Abbé Grégoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism (UC Press, 2005; released in paperback, 2021) and Haitian History: New Perspectives (Routledge, 2012). Her research interests include the Haitian and French Revolutions; film and history; slavery and memory; and representations of history in video games.
This event is co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries' Silicon Valley Archives and by the Intercollegiate Media Studies at Claremont Colleges and the Dean of Faculty at Scripps College.