Chochotte Gains Recognition for Recent Article

Marvin Chochotte recognized for his "originality and insight."

Marvin Chochotte, Mellon Faculty Fellow/Assistant Professor, received honorable mention for the Jack Woody article prize. The award is granted by the leading history journal, Comparative Studies in Society and History (CSSH), to the article that best represents the mission of the journal, in a given volume.

The panel of judges impressed by Marvin Chochotte's "Making Peasants Chèf: The Tonton Makout Militia and the Moral Politics of Terror in the Haitian Countryside during the Dictatorship of François Duvalier, 1957–1971" (CSSH 61-4, 2019), have awarded it an Honorable Mention. They write:

"This article is an ethnographically rich study of great originality and notable insight and sheds new light on a surprisingly understudied phenomenon."

The article abstract states:

"Drawing on never-before-utilized archival and oral sources, "Making Peasants Chèf" contends that decades of peasant marginalization from political power created the social and political conditions for the rise of the infamous tonton makout militia under the dictator François Duvalier. After coming to power in 1957, Duvalier militarized and rearmed peasants in exchange for their loyalty. Thousands of previously ostracized peasants enlisted in the dreaded makout militia to access status and political power. This explains why the peasant-based militia formed an arm of state repression. With the support of an armed peasantry, Duvalier successfully repressed the political opposition, allowing the regime to stay in power for almost three decades."

Marvin Chochotte is a historian who studies black African descendants in the Americas and their historical experience with political repression and participation in popular revolutions. He is currently working on a book that comprehensively explores the national history of the world's first black republic, "The Black Agrarian Democracy: A History of Haiti from the Haitian Revolution to the Fall of the Duvalier Dictatorship, 1804–1986" (under contract with Yale University Press).