Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction is an engaging biography of Jean-Bertrand Aristide that examines his intellectual life, theological ideas, and political vision. The book also explores how his theology has influenced his politics of solidarity and relationality and his social activism on behalf of the working class and the poor in Haiti, and it considers the implications of his ideas for Christian ethics and engagement in society and the democratic life. The book seeks to answer three questions: What is the relationship between theology, ethics, and social activism and transformation in the writings of Aristide? What is the relationship between (political) theology and defensive violence in Aristide’s thought in the struggle for democracy and human rights in Haiti? Or can a theology of peace and a theology of bellicosity and violence coexist? Celucien L. Joseph also considers Aristide’s efforts to foster democratic change, development, and human flourishing in the context of Haitian society.
Celucien L. Joseph currently serves as professor and chair of the English Department at San Jacinto College and visiting professor of theology at Emmaus University in Haiti. His most recent books include Theologizing in Black: On Africana Theological Ethics and Anthropology (2020), and Theological Education and Christian Scholarship for Human Flourishing: Hermeneutics, Knowledge, and Multiculturalism (2022).
Chapter One: Decolonialism and Postcolonialism in Intellectual Discourse: Method in Political Theology & Developing World Liberation Theologies
Chapter Two: Toward the Intellectual and Political Life: Intellectual Foundations for Aristide’s Political Theory and Democratic Participation
Chapter Three: Biblical and Theological Foundations for Aristide’s Political Theology and Hermeneutics
Chapter Four: Toward a Politico-Theology of Relationality and Justice as Solidarity
Chapter Five: Aristide and Critical (Theological) Anthropology and Ethics
Chapter Six: Connecting Democracy and Human Freedom with the Ethics of Ubuntu
Chapter Seven: Ubuntu as a Humanism of Love and Interdependence: Aristide’s Theology of Love and Relationality
Chapter Eight: Theology, Retributive Justice, and Violence in the Struggle for Democracy in Haiti
Conclusion: Haiti After Aristide: Hope for a New Future in the 21st Century
Appendix I: Selected Documents of Universal Catholic Social Teaching
Appendix II: English Translation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s famous Pere Lebrun Speech (Sept. 27, 1991)
Appendix III: “One Step at a Time: An interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide” (July 2006)
Haiti holds a revered place in the long history of the Black liberation movement, as the first Black republic in the west and the scene of the greatest anti-colonial uprising the world has ever seen. This hugely impressive book on Aristide by Celucien Joseph provides a theo-political commentary on the continued struggle for Black liberation on this Caribbean island where self-determination remains an essential marker for a people who will never give in or give up on their dreams to be free.
This book provides a needed and interesting theological approach to the study of Aristide’s political trajectory.