Haitian Studies Association

Past Events

Rasanblaj/Reassembling Haitian Radio Archives of Exile (June 28, 2023)

Note: This is not an H.S.A. event. We are simply sharing the word as a service. 

Date, Time, & Location: Jun 28, 2023 | 3:30 PM | ZOOM

Speakers: Ayanna Legros, Laura Wagner

This presentation explores the resonances and permeabilities between the archives of two Haitian broadcast institutions. The first is Radio Haïti-Inter, the country’s most prominent independent radio station, based in Port-au-Prince, whose archives are now held at Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The second is “Lè Ayisyèn,” a New York-based leftist Haitian diaspora radio program broadcast out of Columbia University between 1969 and 2002, the archive of which remains mostly unprocessed. In addition to its own original programs, “Lè Ayisyèn” held onto tapes of “Radyo Ayiti nan Nouyòk,” a radio program that Radio Haiti’s Jean Dominique and Anthony Pascal (Konpè Filo) anchored during their exile in the early 1980s. Working together, and putting these two collections in dialogue with one another, helps fill in the gaps in Radio Haiti’s archival record, provides a glimpse of the political, cultural, and social shifts of New York’s Haitian community, and shows the transnational nature of political resistance and broadcast. Moreover, we go beyond the particularities of Haitian radio to argue for the importance of rasanblaj — collaboration, compiling, reassembling — in archival work and in the preservation of memory more generally.

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