Haitian Studies Association

Conference > 2020 Conference – Keynote Speakers

2020 Conference – Keynote Speakers

Saturday, October 10

12:10-1:50 p.m. Eastern Time

 

The theme is this year’s conference is nou la pirèd. It is an assertion that we are here, and we are here to stay. In Haiti and throughout the world, people are protesting against neoliberal austerity, state corruption, the shift to authoritarianism, and unbridled repression. This was how the call for proposals began, written long before COVID and George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor and countless others whose names and lives don’t receive mainstream attention). Moments such as these oblige scholars and professionals to do more than talk or write. We are compelled to come together to think critically and productively about how theory and practice intertwine and how to incite meaningful change.

This year, instead of a single speaker, we are honored to have an amazing panel of keynote speakers, in conversation with H.S.A. president Mark Schuller:

This multi-lingual panel spans people in Haiti, in the Diaspora, and Black Studies overall; activists, scholars and artists; generations; and a range of disciplines.

Here are the questions:

  1. As a Haitian or a Haitianist, what connections do you see between these ‘crisis’ events and the ways in which Haiti has been systematically punished for its role in challenging white supremacy?
  2. Belatedly and in particular circles, Haiti and the Haitian revolution received a footnote in the discussions of Black history following the state murder of George Floyd, in no small part because of the advocacy of H.S.A. members. If the flurry of statements supporting Black Lives Matter are sincere and sustained, is a more conscious coupling of Haitian Studies with Black Studies mutually beneficial? What is to be gained by each? What is risked?
  3. In the “Odd and the Ordinary,” Michel-Rolph Trouillot said, “the more Haiti is presented as weird, the easier it is to forget that Haiti is the longest neocolonial experiment in the hemisphere.” Gina Athena Ulysse’s clarion call resonates that Haiti needs new narratives. Does this moment call for us to put away exceptionalism as a discourse? What meta-narrative about Haiti should emerge to take its place?
  4. One silver lining – if we remain focused and have the courage to put our words to action – is that social movements are creating spaces for more marginalized voices to be finally, belatedly, heard. How do we foreground perspectives that have historically been excluded and paint a more complete picture of Haiti’s past and the possibilities for her future?
  5. The theme of this conference is an assertion: we are here, and we are here to stay. In addition, we are intentionally calling upon members and the association as a whole to examine our praxis. What does truly transformational scholarship look like? What do the current crises (however you define it) oblige you to do to address it?
  6. How do you evaluate your own praxis, and to whom are you accountable?
  7. It is one thing to claim an activist identity, on many platforms. It is another to have our work be truly transformational. A major constraint to unleashing the liberatory potential of activist scholarly praxis is the academic institution itself and its reward structure. How specifically do we transform this reward structure so that we are accountable to activist communities and movements?

Tèm kòlòk ane sa a se nou la pirèd. Se yon afimasyon pou di ke nou prezan, epi nou la pou rete. An Ayiti epi toupatou sou latè, tout pèp ap manifeste kont pwojè lanmò neyoliberal la, koripsyon nan Leta, tandans otoritaris, ak represyon brital. Se konsa apèl kontribisyon yo te koumanse, ekri byen anvan COVID ak George Floyd (epi Breonna Taylor ak anpil lòt ki pa resevwa anpil atansyon). Se moman sa yo ki oblije chèchè ak pwofesyonèl fè plis bagay ke sèlman pase pale oubyen ekri met la. Nou santi obligasyon pou n rasanble pou panse nan yon fason kritik epi kreyatif sou kijan teyori ak pratik makonnen epi kijan pou enspire yon chanjman reyèl.

Ane sa a, olye yon grenn moun kòm prezantatè, nou onore anpil paske nou gen yon panèl ekselan ki pral gen yon konvèsasyon avèk prezidan Asosyasyon an, Mark Schuller:

Panel milti-lang sa a ap makonnen moun ann Ayiti, nan Dyaspora ak moun ki travay nan Etid Nwa a; militan, cheche ak atis yo; jenerasyon yo; epi disiplin yo.

Men kesyon yo:

  1. Kòm yon Ayisyèn/Ayisyen oubyen yon moun kap etidye Ayiti, ki koneksyon ou wè nan mitan evenman “kriz” sa yo epi ki fason Ayiti te resevwa sanksyon poutèt wòl li te jwe nan opoze sipremasi blan yo?
  2. Byen ta epi nan kèk sèk byen espesifik, Ayiti ak revolisyon Ayisyen an te resevwa yon nòt anba paj nan diksyon istwa Nwa yo aprè asasinay leta George Floyd la, poutèt wòl pledwari manm H.S.A. yo. Si vag diskou anfavè mouvman Black Lives Matter (Lavi Nwa yo Konte) sensè epi dire, èske yon makònay konsyan Etid Ayisyen avèk Etid Nwa bon pou toude? Ki gany chak pral genyen? Kisa ki riske?
  3. Nan yon tèks “the Odd and the Ordinary,” Michel-Rolph Trouillot te di, “pi plis Ayiti prezante kòm biza, pi fasil li ye pou bliye Ayiti se laboratwa neyokolonyal pi lonn nan emisfè a.” Lans de fè Gina Athena Ulysse a ap fè enpak: Ayiti merite diskou tounèf. Èske moman sa a egzije nou pou sispann diskou eksepsyon yo? Ki sa ki gran liy diskou Ayiti dwe monte epi pran plas li?
  4. Yon gren rayon lespwa – si nou rete konsantre epitou nou gen kouraj pou mete pawòl nou sou aksyon – se lefèt ke mouvman sosyal yo ap kreye espas pou vwa moun majinalize yo ka finalman – anreta – jwenn moun ki ka koute yo. Kijan pou nou bay priyorite pou pèspektif ki istorikman majinalize, pou n trase yon imaj pi konplè de listwa Ayiti epi posibilite pou lavni li?
  5. Tèm kòlòk ane sa a se yon afimasyon : nou prezan, epi nap rete la. Epitou, nan yon fason je louvri, nap mande manm nou epi Asosyasyon answa pou egzamine praksis (teyori ak pratik ansanm) nou. Nan sèvi ak pèspektiv pwofesyonèl, disiplinè ak entè-disiplinè yo, nou mande: Kisa yon rechèch ki ap transfòme kondisyon yo tout bon vre ye? Kijan kriz aktyèl yo (jan w defini l) oblije w pou fè pou fè fas avèk li?
  6. Kijan w evalye pwòp praksis w, epi ak kiyès w dwe bay kont-a-rann?
  7. Rele tèt w militan se youn. Enpak travay nou pou transfòme estrikti pouvwa yo se de. Yon reyalite pou debouche yon potansyèl liberatwa yon praksis akademik-militan se chapant enstitisyon an li menm, epi estrikti ki ankouraje kèk pratik. Nan yon fason espesifik, kijan nou ka transfòme estrikti sa a pou blije nou bay kont-a-rann anvè selil militan yo epi mouvman yo?