Haitian Studies Association

Announcements & Statements, Past Conferences

34th Annual Conference – Call for Papers





 Mawonaj / Marronage / Maroonage: 

Haitian Studies as a Space of Refuge, Resistance, and Freedom

October 7 – 9, 2022

Howard University – Washington, D.C.

After two years of planning, we are excited to announce that our 34th Annual Haitian Studies Association Conference will be held in-person in Washington, D.C. We invite you to join us from October 6 – 8 7 – 9, 2022 at Howard University to consider various manifestations and sites of mawonaj/ marronage in Haiti, in Haitian Studies, and throughout the African diaspora. Even before independence, the rich and complex history of mawonaj/ marronage in Haiti was a prime example of collective efforts to challenge displacement, assimilation, and cultural erasure. The multiple geographies of resistance where oppressed groups struggle against domination, assert their agency, and claim space are evidence of the continuing significance and complexity of this phenomenon. 

The conventional definition of maroon societies refers to independent communities made up of runaway slaves. Mawonaj/ Marronage is associated with Black fugitivity, insurgency, and rebellion. Maroons rejected the relations of racial capitalism in all its forms – the plantation system, the institution of slavery and colonial exploitation. Practiced in the spirit of organizing and Konbit, mawonaj/ marronage allows people to make sense of moments of loss, to experience moments of joy, and to build community together around a common project of liberation. In this sense, the concept of mawonaj/ marronage can refer to more than a society of fugitive slaves. It is at once spiritual, psychological, and structural and can help us understand strategies of resistance and accommodation designed to escape or challenge unfreedom, racial oppression, social and economic inequities, gender-based violence, and capitalist exploitation in the present day.

In addition to exploring the historical and ideological grounding of mawonaj/ marronage, we are also interested in presentations that will engage the current living conditions and political climate in Haiti, which some have characterized as a life in the margins of an exploitative system, resulting in new forms of mawonaj/ marronage. After the earthquakes that ravaged the country in 2010 and 2021 and in the midst of exceedingly difficult socio-economic conditions, unceasing protests, recurring kidnappings, and the brutal assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, radical solutions are needed. We invite presentations that explore mawonaj/ marronage as praxis, as consciousness, as a way of life, and as a site of reclamation and reconstruction.

The H.S.A. 2022 Conference is an opportunity to explore mawonaj/ marronage as a complex mode of resistance and as a mode of creating communities that envision better futures.

We will prioritize proposals that focus on the following themes:

-Marronage and the Haitian Revolution

-Marronage during the pandemic 

-Marronage as resistance 

-Mawonaj and ensekirite

-Genealogies of marronage 

-Comparative studies of marronage in the Atlantic world

-Marronage as praxis

-Marronage as method

-Marronage as preservation

-Marronage as a spatial relationship

-Marronage as decentering of urban space

-Marronage and indigenous relationships with the environment

-Gender and marronage

-Political marronage

-Marronage and labor

-Linguistic marronage

-Religious marronage

-Music and marronage

-Dance and marronage

-Literary representations of marronage

-Artistic representations of marronage

-Filmic representations of marronage

-Literature and art as marronage

-Representations of the nèg mawon in Haitian culture

-Teaching about marronage

-Haitian Studies as a site of marronage

-Haiti and U.S. maroons

-Historic connections between Haiti and Howard University

Haiti as a site of marronage for African American intellectuals

Proposals for papers, panels, film/video presentations, workshops, and roundtables are due by May 1.

Guidelines for Participation

1. Types of submissions

There are four (4) broad categories of presentations that can be submitted: 

  • Single papers written by one or multiple authors. Individual proposals will be grouped with up to three (3) other proposals of similar theme to form a panel. Each individual presentation is limited to 15 minutes. Sessions are 75 minutes long.
  • Full panels. Group proposals should include a Chair/Discussant and up to four (4) panelists who wish to present together on a topic of their design. Fully constituted panels have an entire time slot of 75 minutes. For panel proposals, please include a title, author and overview for each paper on the proposal form.
  • Thematic roundtables or workshops. Roundtable proposals should include no more than four key participants as well as a Chair/Moderator, who must also be identified on the proposal form. “Roundtables” are open discussions, not a collection of individual papers. Instead of discrete paper titles, roundtable proposals should include the questions that will be used to lead the discussion. Workshop proposals should focus on particular skills to be gained and specific details about format and activities.
  • Video / film presentations. Proposals that include short documentaries or excerpts from longer films will be placed together with 2 other video/film presentations. Keep in mind that sessions are 75 minutes long. If your work is longer than 20 minutes, please make sure to note this in your abstract so we can determine early on if accommodations are possible.

2. Abstracts:

In order to ensure blind review, reviewers will only see the abstract.  Your abstract must not include your name, affiliation, or any other identifying information. All proposals must be “blinded” for review.

For individual submissions, please include a 250-word abstract of your presentation/ paper. The abstract should include:

  • Topic and objectives
  • Methodology
  • Key results or arguments
  • Conclusion

If you need to add supplementary materials, such as images or a video trailer, please contact H.S.A. to make sure the materials are added to the proposal.

For group submissions, please include a 500-word summary/ abstract for the group proposal. The overview should include:

  • Title 
  • Purpose, goals, and objectives
  • Methodology
  • Conclusions and/or questions raised

3. Contact Information   

For every submission, it is essential that contact information (name, affiliation, and email) be provided for each individual participant listed on the proposal form. In addition, there must be one (1) designated person who will be the main email recipient. For pre-organized panels, other names listed may be contacted, but it is the designated person’s responsibility to ensure everyone on the proposal form is kept informed and up to date on communication with H.S.A.

Participation Limitation

H.S.A. welcomes as many people as possible to participate in the conference. Therefore, each participant is limited to one (1) paper presentation.  However, members can perform more than one role— such as presenting a paper and chairing a panel, or presenting a paper and participating in a roundtable discussion. The maximum number of times a participant should be listed in the program is two (2).


Registration will begin July 30, 2022.  All presenters must be members of HSA to present, and  must register and pay by September 1, 2022 to participate in the conference.

Proposal Review and Selection Process

An anonymous review of each conference proposal will be conducted by a minimum of two reviewers.  Proposals will be reviewed on the basis of quality and contribution to the theme of the conference.

Notification of Decision

Decisions regarding acceptance of proposals will be announced by July 15, 2022.

Publication in the Journal of Haitian Studies

Manuscripts from selected abstracts and presentations can be submitted for publication in the Journal of Haitian Studies (JOHS) at the end of the conference.  All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and subject to an editing process prior to final acceptance.  Manuscripts should not have been published elsewhere in similar form with substantially similar content.  For information on the JOHS, please contact Dr. Claudine Michel at claudine.michel@ucsb.edu.

Please contact us if you have questions regarding the proposal submission process.