American Imperialism’s Undead won the 2017 Gordon K. and Sibyl Lewis Prize for best book about the Caribbean, awarded by the Caribbean Studies Association. According to CSA, the prize is the organization’s most prestigious award. Prize committee chair Carole Boyce Davies describes the book as “accessible and well-written” with a “deep, continuous argument” based on “wide and deep research.” The book effectively “uses literature to make links across the Caribbean” even while being “fully interdisciplinary.” As a result, it “expands the boundaries of Haitian, pan-Caribbean, and pan-African studies.”
“American Imperialism’s Undead boldly and powerfully uncovers the crucial, if unintentional, role the United States’ imperialist occupation of independent Haiti played in the rise of radical anticolonialism throughout the Atlantic world in the first half of the twentieth century. With outstanding scholarship and searing prose, Dalleo shows how the U.S. occupation of Haiti has been systematically disavowed not only, as one might expect, in mainstream historiography but in a field of Haitian revolutionary studies eager to construct an unambiguous narrative of revolutionary liberation. A pivotal and long-overdue contribution.” –Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University, author of Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant.
“What is truly wonderful and captivating about this project is, among other things, its deep engagement with the spiral of history…American Imperialism’s Undead is not ‘just’ important because it resurrects and meticulously examines a neglected corner of the Caribbean past, though this is, of course, one of the project’s most crucial interventions…This book recalls – and calls out – familiar processes of silencing and disavowal, and it makes clear that the United States’ denial of its imperial agenda paves the way for its repeated foreign interventions. In this respect, Dalleo’s inquiry has a contemporary, ‘real-world’ significance that resonates in the very bones of the project. The book does exactly the kind of nation-language-busting, transnational, and transcolonial work that all scholars of the Global South should endeavour to make foundational to their own research projects. It is the kind of work that recognises the undeniable impact of North Atlantic imperialist ventures while thinking deeply about the local and regional engagements that reconfigure, resist, and otherwise inflect such neocolonial agendas.” –Kaiama Glover, Barnard College, author of Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon. Read the full review in Caribbean Quarterly.
“With skillful research and probing analyses, Dalleo shows the difference a focus on the occupation makes as he reveals the lively cross-fertilizations that shaped Caribbean and African diasporic thought in the middle decades of the twentieth century. American Imperialism’s Undeadestablishes the defining role played by the occupation in Caribbean self-fashioning and in the emergence and evolution of anticolonialism between 1915 and 1950.” –Mary Renda, Mount Holyoke College, author of Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940. Read the full review in New West Indian Guide.
“Wide-ranging in its critical concerns, interrogating some of postcolonial studies’ most fundamental assumptions about the imperial and anticolonial past, American Imperialism’s Undead develops a capacious argument through focused, beautifully narrated forays into a complex, multidisciplinary archive of black radical thought….Accessible and lucid, erudite and timely, archivally immersive and conversant in multiple subfields, American Imperialism’s Undead sets a high bar for what that future work might look like.”–Anne Gulick, University of South Carolina, author of Literature, Law, and Rhetorical Performance in the Anticolonial Atlantic. Read the full review in Clio.
“Dalleo’s study of the convolutions of radical memory proves the continuing value and pleasure of depth-seeking, proudly suspicious historicist criticism in a modestly posthistorical age…From postcolonial studies, Dalleo borrows the proposition that archival absence ‘is the story,’ one requiring ‘methodological creativity and flexibility’ (27). He shows that he possesses both of these methodological strengths in his history of the absent presence of the Haitian occupation, adroitly and sometimes brilliantly juggling fine-grained readings of plays, novels, and manifestos with expansive, widely read surveys of their later disappearance.”–William J. Maxwell, Washington University, author of F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature. Read the full review in American Literature.
“As an intervention in Caribbean, Latin American, and Pan-Africanist studies, as well as in the history of anticolonial struggle in the twentieth century, American Imperialism’s Undead offers an immensely valuable revision of the seminal role of the occupation of Haiti in altering the Caribbean region and thus follows a recent trend in American studies of examining American imperialism. It also offers innovative readings of transnational Caribbean authors who wrestled with dominant Western discourses to shape alternative imaginaries and counter-readings of their Caribbean.” –E. Joseph Sepulveda, Rutgers University. Read the full review in sx salon.