Charlton W. Yingling

Assistant Professor

About


Chaz Yingling works on Atlantic, Caribbean, and Latin American history with a focus on race and slavery during the Age of Revolutions.  His articles appear in History Workshop JournalPast & Present (forthcoming), Atlantic StudiesEarly American Studies, and Sociales (Dominican Republic).

Chaz is preparing his first monograph, tentatively titled ‘Their Siblings of Soil’: Dominicans and Haiti in the Age of Revolutions.  Built from extensive archival work in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Vatican, and the United Kingdom, this book investigates Dominican notions of national belonging amid the formation of Haiti, the wider Age of Revolutions, and causative intersections of race and religiosity. The book commences with an analysis of slavery, piety, and African ethnicities in Santo Domingo to the 1780s. After the Haitian Revolution began in 1791, material conflicts over republicanism and monarchism, abolition and slavery, and secularism and belief created cosmological upheavals that compelled participants to question, affirm, or reimagine the metaphysical meanings that explained their incorporation into hierarchical bodies politic. Case studies include the pious performances of ex-slave insurgents from Saint-Domingue who formed the Black Auxiliaries of Spain in the 1790s, covert pro-British plots, invasion by Toussaint in 1801, the Dominican Reconquista of 1808-1810 against Napoleonic French occupation, collaboration between Haitian politicians and anti-colonial Dominicans thereafter, and competing Dominican declarations of independence in the 1820s. When President Jean-Pierre Boyer led his Haitian army into Santo Domingo in 1822 he secured one of the most peaceful transitions from imperial rule in Latin America. As “their siblings of soil” thousands of Dominicans of color embraced Haitian citizenship as their realization of liberty, equality, and independence. Years of cross-Hispaniola collaboration culminated in perhaps the most deliberately inclusive, multiethnic, and progressive nation-building projects in independence-era Latin America. Nevertheless, Dominican elites soon reasserted irreconcilable Catholic and Hispanic differences with Haiti remembered from late colonial collisions. They cast Haitians as depraved, violent, and irreparably black, and the 1822 annexation as an act of invasion, not invitation, recurring rhetoric that that justified exclusivist versions of Dominican identity from the Trujillo dictatorship through 2018. This book punctures that nationalist narrative with evidence of cooperative anti-colonialism and racial solidarity while engaging this Dominican case with historiographies of the Haitian Revolution, Latin American independence, Caribbean emancipation, African diasporic religion, and race and citizenship.

Chaz is developing projects on the profitability of plantation economies and racial hierarchies through the lens of the burgeoning field of Animal Studies.  Specifically, his co-authored article and book projects with Tyler D. Parry (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) examine dogs as biopower in dominating blacks across Caribbean plantation societies, the first installment of which will appear in Past & Present in 2020. Canine violence marked Spanish conquests against the indigenous Americas, and became a transnational tool for managing plantation economies. In the eighteenth century Cuban breeders exported specially-trained dogs to attack maroons in Jamaica and rebels in Haiti. Planters in the US South later deployed the same dogs against fleeing slaves, who in the nineteenth century ran to Mexico or across the Ohio River onward to Canada. Hounds meant profit to planters whose sense of biological racial hierarchy was 'proven' by their notion that dogs could scent blackness.  These dogs were also proof of slavery's depravity to abolitionists.  More than the chain or the whip, enslaved people across Americas recounted these attack hounds as the most frightening tool of white power.

He is co-authoring a project with Andrew Kettler (University of California, Los Angeles) that will study the trials and errors of breeding European and African cattle herds for domestication in tropical climates during early Spanish colonization of the Caribbean and formation of an Alimentary Atlantic.  Many cattle fled Spanish pens, later providing food sources for pirates and rival empires.  Feral cattle thus facilitated English capture of Jamaica during the Western Design, and also by devastating native flora which assisted in opening landscapes for plantation crops.  Bovines then provided essential labor in plowing, pressing sugarcane, and transporting export crops across Jamaica and Barbados, while also offering dairy foods that were essential to English appetites and identities.  Cattle were also legally and culturally significant to conceptualizations of chattel, servitude, labor, and domination.

Chaz is also co-authoring the article "Beyond Visualizations: Mapping Desire and Race onto Early Modern Caribbean Space" with Angela Sutton (Vanderbilt University), which they developed during a 2018 fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library.

In 2018 Routledge published Free Communities of Color and the Revolutionary Caribbean, a book he co-edited with Robert D. Taber (Fayetteville State University).  Problems of belonging, difference, and hierarchy were central to the operation of Caribbean colonies, and formed the motivations and ambitions for some free people of color amid the formation of new states.  The chapters in this project explore how free communities of color deployed religion, literature, politics, fashion, the press, history, and the law in the Caribbean during the Age of Revolutions to defend their status and at times define themselves against more marginalized groups in a rapidly changing world. Their displays of social, cultural, and symbolic capitals at times reinforced systemic continuity and complicated revolutionary-era tensions among the long-free, enslaved, and recently-freed. 

His work has been funded by the Ministry of Culture and Education of Spain, the Conference on Latin American History, the Bilinski Foundation, the Academy of American Franciscan History, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Harvard University Atlantic History Seminar, among others.