Haitian Studies Association

Conference, News

H.S.A.’s 36th Annual Conference – Call for Papers (May 15, 2024)

Nou Tout Se Moun: Centering Gender, Feminist Practice and Embodiment in the Work of Decolonizing Haitian Studies




Babette Wainwright & Melanie Herzog, What Women Carry (2004) 

Deadline extension: Submissions are due May 15, 2024 7:59pm EDT (23:59 GMT)

For our 36th annual conference, the HSA invites contributions that consider the explicit and implicit ways that hegemonic and marginalized genders or sexualities—interdependent but distinct concepts that are experienced in vastly different ways—operate in research and activism across disciplines, temporalities, and geographies. 

A rich legacy of foundational feminist Haitian studies scholarship including that of Carolle Charles, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Danièle Magloire, Sabine Lamour, and Marie-José Nzengou-Tayo has examined how differentials in power persist across the multiple identities that each of us brings to our work, our scholarship, and our relationships. Indeed, Caribbean, African, queer, and feminist scholars, as well as scholars of embodiment, disability, and neurodiversity, have demonstrated the ways in which Western paradigms of biological sex and race that divide people into fixed and scientifically reified categories are undermined by more fluid conceptions of the body and its relationships in African/Haitian cosmologies such as Vodou.

More recent scholarship argues that choosing words and frameworks to describe the range of experiences is in itself a political act, with each inclusion highlighting other exclusions. In a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Haitian Studies, guest editors Dasha A. Chapman, Mario LaMothe, and Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper work with contributors to “understand the complex ways Haitians live, love, create, and commune despite and amongst oppressive structures of power, neo/colonial ideologies, and exclusionary social relations in their homeland and abroad.” Haitian studies cannot decolonize itself without interrogating how colonial, postcolonial, anti-colonial, and neocolonial constructions of gendered, sexual, and kinship relations operate in historical and contemporary society and discourse.  What will we learn by analyzing the movement of Haitians and Haitian studies between different linguistic, cultural, national, and epistemic frameworks of gender and sexuality?

We invite scholars, artists, activists, and practitioners who may or may not regularly engage in conversations about gender or sexuality to gather together and examine how these pervasive, and often unmarked, categories impact our work in academic and activist spaces. We welcome creative, ethical engagements based on our various social and professional positions and modes of work. 

We encourage research from any discipline—across the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and STEM fields—that considers in complex, curious, and respectful ways the following:

  • What does “gender” mean in the Caribbean and global African diaspora? How has it been understood in Haiti by activists, feminists, intellectuals, and the state itself? How do language, symbolism, visual representation, and material culture in Haiti and its diaspora reveal or trouble categorizations and characterizations of gender and sexuality?  How can we engage with the tensions and contradictions encapsulated by figures like the poto mitan that both celebrate and burden Haitian women? 
  • What are epistemologies of gender and sexuality, thinking from Haitian and Haitian diaspora contexts? How do Queer and Trans Studies developed from the Global North encounter local epistemologies of gender? For example, what does the difficulty in translating gender terminology between English/French/Spanish and Creole invite us to consider about working transnationally? 
  • How have foreign states and NGOs (especially after the 2010 earthquake) codified, amplified, conflicted, or revised social identity frameworks in the context of Haiti and reproduced global and local hierarchies of difference? 
  • Why have women and sexual minorities been underrepresented in political, civic, and educational arenas in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora? What historic and contemporary structures advantage masculinity in leadership and politics? How have Haitian feminist movements interacted with national political and resistance movements including during the US Occupation, the Duvalier eras, the 1990s, 2000s and current period of ensekirite
  • How do we revisit or engage with archives to reveal the silencing of Haitian women’s involvement in all periods of Haitian history? 
  • What is the liberatory potential of considering the many ways of attraction and sexual desire is experienced and expressed (heterosexual, homosexual, same-sex desiring, M-community, queer, etc.)? How are expressions and experiences of sexuality—as well as the language describing them—negotiated and transformed by Haitians in migration? 
  • How is intersectional feminism engaged in theory and practice in Haitian Studies? How are gender and kinship experienced differently based on their intersection with other social identity frameworks (i.e. age, class, nationality, dis/ability, neurodiversity, race, religion)?
  • What can be learned about normative assumptions by revisiting scholarship that does not appear to be affected by identity? What is obscured by gender-neutral methods? How are historically masculine disciplines like science, mathematics, and engineering changing with or challenging the integration of those who have been structurally excluded? 

To facilitate the full participation of specialists and non-specialists, the conference organizers will convene several pedagogical moments and interactive workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion for those wishing to interrogate and reflect on their own work in relationship to their own positionalities in an intersectional way. If you are interested in participating in the conference in this capacity, please check the box to this effect. 

Submissions are due May 15, 2024 7:59pm EDT (23:59 GMT)

Guidelines for Participation

Submissions are due May 15, 2024 7:59pm EDT (23:59 GMT+0).

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 by the program committee 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, 2024.  All presenters must be members of HSA to present, and  must register and pay by September 1, 2024 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, 2024.

Publication in the Journal of Haitian Studies

Manuscripts from selected abstracts and presentations can be submitted for consideration 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 Note: This year’s conference will be in-person with the expectation that all panel, workshop, and roundtable participants will be present. We will not accept virtual presentations.

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