Haitian Studies Association

Recent News

July 19, 2021
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H.S.A. Members Respond to the Current Situation in Haiti

As part of our mission, H.S.A. has always served as a reservoir of knowledge and a forum for analysis, especially in difficult times when it is important to depict Haiti with some historical, social and geo-political context. Below is a list of articles, blogs, interviews and other media produced by the membership since July 7 that analyzes the situation in Haiti. We welcome additions to this list, especially commentary and works written by our colleagues in Haiti.

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Special Online Event: 2 weeks after, what perspectives for Haiti?

The international press exploded with coverage of the assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse, who was executed in the early hours of Wednesday, July 7, 2021.  That same day, several large non-Haitian institutions opined about what Haiti needs.  Some called for a new military occupation despite multiple flawed and failed past interventions in Haiti, while others angled to have a role in decision-making and the electoral calendar. The press reported the speeches of one individual who claimed power shortly after the assassination, but that authority was contested shortly thereafter.  Where do things stand two weeks later?  What are today’s movements in Haiti demanding? What are their models for Haiti? This panel provides Haitian activists and civil society representatives with a platform to share their analyses of recent events, provide additional context through their lived experiences and put forth proposals for the future of Haiti. Speakers’ nuanced perspectives will continue to layer the conversation and help inform media professionals, scholars, students, members of solidarity organizations, civil society, the Diaspora and the general public–anyone interested in Haitian organizations’ voices is welcome.

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July 8, 2021
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Statement about the July 2021 unrest in Haiti

The Haitian Studies Association (HSA) joins countless academic and professional organizations, researchers, activists and all others committed to human and civil rights in Haiti, in the African Diaspora and across the world, in expressing our deep dismay over the news of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the recent murders of civilians in the country. More than anything, we hope for peace, the safety of all Haitian citizens, and an end to the structural crises that have led to escalating violence and unprecedented political unrest.

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SOIL Haiti – A Circular Economy Model for Urban Sanitation in Vulnerable Communities

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is a Haiti-based non-profit social enterprise that is setting a global example for how to affordably and sustainably provide safely managed sanitation in rapidly growing urban communities. Since 2006, SOIL has been working to provide access to in-home sanitation through its EkoLakay toilet service. Its circular economy approach includes providing in-home toilets, the collection and treatment of wastes, and the transformation of that waste into rich, organic compost. SOIL’s work sits at the intersection of human rights, environmental justice, and economic development, and we are proud of our long-term commitment to Haiti.

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July 1, 2021
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The Haitians Book Club

The Haitians Book Club welcomes students and scholars, both inside and outside the academy, to a series of discussions of The Haitians: A Decolonial History, author Jean Casimir’s landmark work of theory and history. Beginning in August 2021, the club will hold four virtual, monthly meetings, free and open to the public. During these meetings, participants will focus our discussion on one of the following themes from The Haitians: translation; slavery and freedom; sovereignty and the state; and colonialism and decoloniality. An invited scholar or pair of scholars will lead each discussion and lend their expertise to our collective attempt to think about Haiti and the world through The Haitians. For more information on how to participate, please visit https://thehaitiansbookclub.com.

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June 19, 2021
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The Haitian Studies Association is proud to celebrate Juneteenth!

The Haitian Studies Association is proud to celebrate Juneteenth! Today is the 156th anniversary of the emancipation of the last enslaved people held in bondage in Galveston, TX — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation; and two months after the end of the Civil War. The recognition of June 19 as a federal holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, acknowledge the suffering of Black peoples everywhere and to reflect on the unending struggle for Black liberation that began in Haiti in 1791 when the enslaved made a pact to live free or die. 

H.S.A stands in solidarity with everyone committed to producing more honest and complete accounts of our histories and those working for policies that advance social justice and acknowledge the humanity of Black people throughout the diaspora. As people of African descent, in spite of our differences (language, culture, or geography) we are connected by a common history. Our ancestors came to the Americas in shackles and have continuously fought for our freedom. This new national holiday must be more than a symbol, but a call for meaningful societal change.

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June 7, 2021
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Haitian Studies Association Book Prize (2021) – Call for Submissions

See Previous Years’ Recipients of the Book Prize » Recipients of the 2019 book prize The Haitian Studies Association announces its biennial Book Prize. The 2021 Prize will be awarded to the best single-authored book in Haitian Studies in the social sciences, with broad application beyond the academy, published between September 2019 and August 2021. […]

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Town Hall Update (online event): ‘Decolonizing Haitian Studies’ (June 26, 2021)

As a follow-up to members’ priorities expressed at the 2020 Town Hall meeting, our June event will focus on the problem of coloniality in the field of Haitian Studies and our strategy to decolonize the HSA. All are invited to hear from scholars examining the question of decolonization from the standpoint of their respective disciplines and research interests. We will consider the dynamics of knowledge production, alongside issues of global inequality and anti-blackness, language, ethical collaboration, citational politics and other research practices within the interdisciplinary field of Haitian Studies.

Finally, we will describe the status of our Open Access database, a digital archive which aims to provide free access to scholarship by HSA members.

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Documentary Screening: ‘Men Sa Lanmè Di’ with Q&A with Filmmaker & Marine Scientist (July 17, 2021)

From its trailer text: “The Haitian Sea as you’ve never seen or heard it before. In this documentary, the Sea tells its story with the Haitian people. Wave after wave, the Sea showcases its riches, reveals its mysteries, and raises the alarm. From the excessive use of its resources to the consequences of climate change and pollution, the Sea displays its different shades of blue and suggests opportunities to seize. This film is an invitation to travel, discover, and also to raise awareness. Haiti’s future lies in its coasts or will not be.”

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May 25, 2021
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Town Hall Response Strategy (2021)

International media often portrays Haiti as an ongoing crisis since its successful revolution for independence in 1804. This representation of history simultaneously fails to consider Haiti’s transnational roots and global connections and how Haitians persist in their brave fight for their freedom and sovereignty. Despite the Haitian Revolution’s triumph — an “unthinkable” act in the words of anthropologist/historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot — the event threatened the core of white supremacy. It resulted in dire repercussions against the new nation. In the face of “Western” critics, we aim to highlight real concerns in the country and stand in solidarity with Haiti. Men nou la! (We are here!)

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Call for papers 2021: “Nou La Pi Rèd Toujou! Embodying a New Praxis”

The world has forever changed in the course of the past year. The Covid-19 pandemic with its 3 million death toll has left families devastated throughout the world and created major social, political and economic shifts everywhere as well as the need to adapt to new means of communication. It has also been a time of unprecedented worldwide re-awakening and wide ranging protests against racism, white supremacy, state sanctioned violence and unequal life conditions. People of all generations and all creeds and color have rallied to demand justice, stand against oppression of all sorts, and demand respect for human rights worldwide.

In Haiti and throughout the world, people are protesting against neoliberal austerity, state corruption, the shift to authoritarianism, unbridled repression and racism. This past year will go down in recent Haitian history as one of the most tumultuous and difficult years for the people of Haiti. 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.

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Current realities regarding the gains of Haiti’s 1987 constitution (May 18)

One of the most current issues in Haiti is a referendum scheduled for June 17 for a new constitution called for by the current state. The proposed constitution involves a series of changes. This panel will discuss the legacy of the March 29, 1987 constitution, a national consensus after the fall of Duvalier in 1986. The 1987 constitution was written in a very specific context, to implant democracy and human rights. This panel will analyze the gains of the 1987 constitution in today’s context, comparing it with the proposed constitution, asking a range of questions for engaged Haitian citizens to make an informed decision.

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Screening: “Stateless” A film by Michèle Stephenson (April 24)

In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, based on anti-black hatred fomented by the Dominican government. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929. The ruling rendered more than 200,000 people stateless, without nationality, identity or a homeland. In this dangerous climate, a young attorney named Rosa Iris mounts a grassroots campaign, challenging electoral corruption and advocating for social justice. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary Stateless traces the complex tributaries of history and present-day politics, as state-sanctioned racism seeps into mundane offices, living room meetings, and street protests. At a time when extremist ideologies are gaining momentum in the U.S. and around the world, STATELESS is a warning of what can happen in a society when racism runs rampant in the government.

Filmed with a chiaroscuro effect and richly imbued with elements of magical realism, STATELESS combines gritty hidden-camera footage with the legend of a young woman fleeing brutal violence to flip the narrative axis, revealing the depths of institutionalized oppression.

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April 2, 2021
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Letter from the editors of the Journal of Haitian Studies

We write to provide some important announcements regarding the Journal of Haitian Studies (JOHS), which you are entitled to receive as part of your membership, and apologize for the delays in producing and distributing recent issues.

As for everyone, the past year has been difficult for the journal. In addition to the challenges posed by the COVID crisis, which has heavily impacted our staff, editorial board, contributors, and reviewers, we underwent a departmental reorganization that resulted in a complicated transition as the journal moved to a different research unit. These factors, together with the ongoing closure of our campus offices, posed significant disruptions to our operations throughout the year. We apologize for any problems caused by the resulting delays, especially for those of you who submitted articles to us.

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March 14, 2021
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Call for proposals – H.S.A. Working Groups (2021)

Last year the H.S.A. piloted Working Sessions, to great enthusiasm from our members. The five live webinars from three Working Sessions were well attended, and generated interest to keep this series of bottom-up interdisciplinary spaces going.

Members like you have asked for new ways of connecting, being involved, and many of you have expressed the desire to make our collective scholarship relevant to conversations in policymaking, philanthropy, and legislation regarding Haiti. We know that cultivating a diverse and inclusive scholarly community, a lakou, is one of the ongoing strengths of our association. Working Groups will both build on this strength and foster more engaged scholarship.

Last year’s pilot experience with Working Sessions has shown us that synchronous, online events can work for members, who expressed a strong desire for more regular events this year. We also learned about the process, sharpened our focus, and reminded of the still very pronounced digital divide regarding our colleagues in Haiti.

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Understanding Haiti’s contemporary “crisis” and solidarity politics (Mar. 20)

Haiti has garnered front-page attention since February 7, when President Jovenel Moïse’s term expired. Rather than signal support for democracy in its oldest neighbor, newly inaugurated President Biden’s first words and actions continued U.S. support for Moïse. The Biden administration also deported almost as many Haitians in one month as Trump did all last year.

What’s happening on the ground in Haiti? How can people – in the Diaspora and our friends in countries around the world – engage in effective solidarity action?

This launch of the latest issue of the NACLA Report offers a series of grounded perspectives to not only reflect on Haiti’s contemporary situation as it unfolds, but also hopefully to inspire a more principled, informed, and engaged solidarity politics. Linked by history and the global racial economy, struggles in Haiti and in the United States are manifestations of an Empire grasping for new strategies as the extractivist paradigm is reaching its natural limit. The current moment requires more active engagement, and for us to see how we are not only connected by particular issues, but also connected to communities that are differently situated along global capitalism’s process of accumulation by appropriation.

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Working across Disciplines toward an Environmental Understanding for Haiti

Through this working session, we aim to (1) define a set of recommendations for management of Haitian land and natural resources in a time of climate change and profound environmental challenges, and (2) develop more effective models of environmental communication moving forward. Haitian history bears numerous approaches to environmental policy, ranging from excessive resource exploitation (at the level of central government) to a more balanced exchange that sees humans as integral participants within the ecosystem (at the level of a decentralized rural population). The balance of power weighted toward the former pole has brought large-scale destruction of ecosystems and loss of resources. Furthermore, such externally imposed policies as those of the United States Occupation (1915–34) have exacerbated the erosion of Haiti’s ecosystems. Today, Haiti ranks among the most vulnerable nations to climate change.

We hope to include Haitianists from a range of academic disciplines (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) and practitioners with diverse language, gender, and generational perspectives. This working session will examine case studies of programs directly involved in such initiatives as shoreline restoration, forestry, water resources management, and sustainable agricultural programs. We are particularly seeking those who can report on cooperative collaborations with ordinary residents, citing their insights, concerns, advice, and resistance. Participants will identify models with the potential to revolutionize policy and compile a set of future possibilities based on grounded realities.

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Chèche Lavi: Film Screening & Discussion (Feb. 6)

Chèche Lavi (2019) is a lyrical documentary portrait of two Haitian migrants, Robens and James, who find themselves stranded at the US Mexico border with no way forward and no one to depend on each other. The quiet, unexpected tenderness of their friendship shines in the eye of an incomprehensible geopolitical storm, even as the two men drift
towards drastically different futures… and a new wall rises on the horizon. This is a film about longing: for a place to fit in, for a stable life, for connection and companionship. It isn’t about crossing borders; it’s about how it feels when you can’t get across. It’s about what happens when you end up in a totally unexpected place when you have to start over.

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January 6, 2021
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Message from the President – January 2021

January 1, 2021

I am writing this message from Haiti… Today I shared my soup joumou and also had some of my friends’. Now I want to reflect on the past year, both to thank you for your contributions and to update you on H.S.A. matters for the upcoming year.

As you are hearing in the news, the situation here is serious. Very. The country is in lockdown again, but it’s not because the people support the movements. Even if people risk their lives during a wave of kidnapping to go out in the streets, there are few cars available as there was a gas shortage for several days. Even the far-away Grandans isn’t spared. The future remains uncertain. There’s no parliament. The president is ruling by decree… One of the last executive orders turned protesting into a “terrorist” act, and 944 demonstraters were killed in the first nine months of 2020. In a month, on February 7, the president’s term is supposed to expire. But no one knows what will happen, how this next chapter will turn out.

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The Rights to Live Creatively: Artistic Expression, Visibility, Solidarity (Dec. 14, 2020)

In light of right-wing authoritarianism in Haiti today that exposes the clientelist nature of the justice system and increases violence against all who seek to live creatively, this Working Session convenes to hear from Haitian freedom fighters and artists on the ground in a series of webinar discussions and focused virtual gatherings.

This second panel features cultural workers Maksaens Denis, independent artist, and Hetera Estamphil, director of KOURAJ, who will share with us the ways in which their works challenge gendered and sexual norms and offer us another vision of and for Haiti. The conversation will be moderated by Josué Azor, and feature performances by Yonel Charles and Jenny Cadet. The goals are to think together with attendees to design an action plan that supports and amplifies their efforts toward creative living in Haiti.

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Conference Program (2020)

Session 1: 11:00 a.m. – noon Eastern Time [1A] Haiti in the Era of Climate Change: A Transnational Stakeholder’s Perspective in Haiti’s Governance and Challenges of Sustainability Room: [A] Pòtoprens Discussant: MacKendy Juste (GIOLA Build) Community-University Partnership: Urban Agriculture Infrastructures Roswald Georges (Service en Evangélisation, Education et Développement (SEED)) Designing Community Strategies for Resilience Micheline […]

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2020 Conference – Town Hall

Moments such as the current intersectional crisis 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 conference is an opportunity for conversations across advocacy NGOs, policymakers, and international institutions who will benefit from the reservoir of interdisciplinary knowledge that H.S.A. has been filling for over 30 years. How did we do? How can we evaluate ourselves individually and collectively?

This Town Hall is an opportunity for members to deliberate on these urgent questions about our praxis as individual scholar/practitioners/artists as well as the association. What role should H.S.A. be playing? How do we get there?

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2020 Conference – Keynote Event

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.

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September 23, 2020
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Details about our 2020 Conference

We hope that you and yours are in good health and with an active support network. These indeed are difficult times, in Haiti and in the U.S. We are excited to let members know that the conference planning is completed. We have 35 excellent panels that span the disciplines, including artists and practitioners, in all three of H.S.A.’s official languages. The conference program will be available shortly. Stay tuned!

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The Rights to Live Creatively: Artistic Expression, Visibility, Solidarity (Oct. 8, 2020)

In light of right-wing authoritarianism in Haiti today that exposes the clientelist nature of the justice system and increases violence against all who seek to live creatively, this Working Group convenes to hear from Haitian freedom fighters and artists on the ground in a series of webinar discussions and focused virtual gatherings.

The first panel features cultural workers Josué Azor, Jenny Cadet, and Maksaens Denis who will share with us the ways in which their works challenge gendered and sexual norms and offer us another vision of and for Haiti. During the gathering that follows the webinar, they will think together with attendees to design an action plan that supports and amplifies their efforts toward creative living in Haiti.

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Haitian Art: Koneksyon, Rezistans, Istwa (Oct. 5, 2020)

With the extremely generous and catalyzing platform offered to us by the Haitian Studies Association, the present project offers first and foremost a call to us as scholars, pedagogues, and publishers to be ever rigorous and conscientious  about the ways in which we engage theory, in this case, theory and historical scholarship on and about Haitian visual arts. How might we more rigorously create new mechanisms by which to better facilitate more constant dialogue in regard to the ways in which we speak, think, and write alongside Haitian artists and scholars, especially those writing in Haitian Kreyòl and French?

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Working across Disciplines toward an Environmental Understanding for Haiti (Oct. 7, 2020)

The recently convened working session on the environment of the Haitian Studies Association (HSA) is pleased to announce its first public presentation at HSA’s 32nd Annual Conference, “Nou La Pi Rèd! Embodying a New Praxis.” The presentation will take place in virtual webinar format on the Zoom platform, with live streaming to Facebook, on Wednesday, October 7th, from 2 to 4 pm Eastern Time. Speakers across disciplines ranging from environmental sciences and agriculture to religion and musicology but with a common interest in the past, present, and future of Haiti’s ecosystems will present problems and perspectives from their research and application.

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Call for Nominations for the HSA Board of Directors (2021)

The Board of Directors shall administer the affairs of Haitian Studies Association (HSA). The terms of the elected members shall be for three years. Contingent on the number of vacated positions, new members shall be elected every year electronically or by paper ballot at the annual meeting as prescribed in the By-Laws. The Board of Directors shall carry out HSA’s mission, purposes and goals, and promote its professional interests. The Board must also ensure that ties are maintained with Haitian academic institutions. The Board of Directors shall oversee the business of the HSA, manage its properties, receive gifts, grants, and donations; approve and implement annual budgets, and take all the necessary actions in the interest of HSA.

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Journal of Haitian Studies – Call for Submissions

Globally we are confronted by a precariously changing climate—in ecological, political, economic, and spiritual terms. Few places face more immediate and profound consequences than Haiti: amid presently unfolding political and economic turmoil, the Global Climate Risk Index has repeatedly ranked the country as among the most vulnerable nations in the world to the effects of extreme weather events related to climate change (e.g., Eckstein, Künzel, and Schäfer 2017).

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HSA Emerging Scholars Workshop Series

Since the annual conference is online this year, we will not hold the Emerging Scholars pre-conference this year. Instead, we are offering a timely workshop series for emerging scholars: How to Navigate Academia in the COVID-19 Era (August 15 to September 26).

Kòm kòlòk anyèl HSA la pral fèt sou entènèt ane sa a, nou pap kenbe Pre-Kòlòk Jèn Chèchè ane sa. Olye sa, nou ap ofri yon seri atelye pou jèn chèchè sou kòman pou navige travay akademik nan epòk COVID-19 la. Seri a ap sòti 15 out rive 26 septanm.

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June 11, 2020
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Statement Against Racial Terror, Anti-Blackness And Police Violence In The United States

The Haitian Studies Association (HSA) joins countless other academic and professional organizations, researchers, activists and all others committed to human and civil rights for all people in the United States of America US and across the world, in condemning the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. We condemn this state-sanctioned police violence which continues to terrorize communities of color, especially African American communities and other Black populations.

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Working Sessions 2020

For the 2020 Conference at American University in Washington, DC, which will be held from October 8-10, H.S.A. plans to pilot a new format of peer-to-peer and mentorship gathering: two-hour working sessions clustered around conference themes. Members like you have asked for new ways of connecting, being involved, and many of you have expressed the desire to make our collective scholarship relevant to conversations in policymaking, philanthropy, and legislation regarding Haiti. We know that cultivating a diverse and inclusive scholarly community, a lakou, is one of the ongoing strengths of our association. Working sessions will both build on this strength and foster more engaged scholarship. At our next conference in Washington, in addition to plenaries and concurrent sessions, H.S.A will dedicate space to accommodate the following six sessions. 

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32nd Annual Conference Call for Papers (English)

Appel à présentations Apèl Pou Prezantasyon Nou La Pi Rèd! Embodying a New Praxis October 8-10, 2020 The American University Washington, DC Submit your proposal NOW! In Haiti and throughout the world, people are protesting against neoliberal austerity, state corruption, the shift to authoritarianism, and unbridled repression. Moments such as these oblige scholars and professionals […]

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32nd Annual Conference Call for Papers (French)

Call for Papers Apèl Pou Prezantasyon Nou La Pi Rèd! Incarnant une nouvelle praxis 8-10 octobre 2020 The American University Washington, DC   Soumettez dès MAINTENANT votre proposition ! En Haïti et à travers le monde, les peuples protestent contre l’austérité néolibérale, la corruption étatico-gouvernementale, le retour à l’autoritarisme et la répression féroce. Ces moments […]

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November 7, 2019
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Haitian Studies Association (HSA) Statement of Solidarity with the People of Haiti

International media often portray Haiti as being in continuous crisis since the successful revolution against slavery for independence and the birth of the Republic of Haiti in 1804. This representation of Haiti’s national history concurrently silences real concerns in the country and paints an incomplete picture of the current situation and its transnational roots and global connections. Throughout the world, people are protesting against neoliberal austerity, state corruption, the shift to authoritarianism, and unbridled repression. In exceptionalizing Haiti, Western critics fail to consider how Haitians fight valiantly for their freedom and sovereignty.

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September 10, 2019
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Message from the president (September 10th)

Dear H.S.A. Members, I thank you for your participation at the 31st annual conference in Gainesville, Florida and want to let you know that we have great local support from the Gators.  I take advantage of this mail to provide you with updates and reminders: Keynote address.  Edouard Duval-Carrié enthusiastically accepted to be our keynote […]

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EMERGING SCHOLARS AWARD (2019)

The Haitian Studies Association (HSA) established the Student and Emerging Scholars’ fund in 2006. Since 2008, the HSA board has earmarked $1000 annually to support student research and participation in our annual conference. Two scholarships ($500 each) may be applied toward travel and accommodation expenses incurred while attending an HSA conference and/or presenting a specific research project concerning Haiti and/or the Haitian diaspora.

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31st Annual Conference Call for Papers

Haitian Studies has evolved over the past thirty years from a small group of dedicated scholars, mostly in the humanities, to a robust interdisciplinary association ready to broaden its horizons, address unique challenges and embrace new opportunities. This year we will go to the largest public university in the Sunshine State, home to the largest Haitian Diaspora. We envision a large scope of discussions that will allow us not only to reflect on these important historical Diasporic ties and their socio-economic implications but also explore the tracks of tropical storms and hurricanes that bind our destinies.

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