Prof. Malick Ghachem earns another award for book on Haiti

June 19, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – Professor Malick Ghachem of the University of Maine School of Law has won another award for his book, The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution.

The Caribbean Studies Association, an independent professional association of more than 1,100 members, selected the book as one of two winners of the 2013 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award. The second winner was Erica Caple James, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ghachem’s wife, for her book, Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti.

The award honors the best books published in the past three years in a field of Caribbean Studies. More than 35 manuscripts were considered by the selection committee.

Malick Ghachem’s book also won the 2012 J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association, recognizing the best work in English on any aspect of French history.

The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution, published in March 2012 by Cambridge University Press, is the first comprehensive account of the role of law in the transformation of Haiti from a slave colony into an independent nation.

The book spans the period from 1685 to 1804, when Haitians became the first formerly enslaved people to overthrow a colonial power. Drawing from a wide range of historical sources, Ghachem takes the reader into the intense legal and political debates of the time. Many of those debates centered on the Code Noir, the law that governed the relations between masters and slaves in the far-reaching French empire. Code Noir recognized that the behavior of masters – not just the behavior of slaves – was a threat to the stability and order of the plantation system, such as the one that developed on Saint-Domingue, which would later become Haiti. Ghachem follows a series of challenges to the law of the empire, culminating with the Haitian Revolution.


Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email:

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