Haitian Studies Association

Past Events


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Translating Haiti: On the Academic Job Market (September 24, 2021)

The second event in the Emerging Scholars’ Translating Haiti mentorship series, this event features a conversation among recently hired scholars from various disciplines and backgrounds discussing how they translated their Haitian studies research for the job market. In a climate of renewed institutional attention to racial justice, how have recent job seekers framed Haitian studies in relation to critiques of anti-blackness that tend to center isolated narratives of historically white nation states like the US?

An interdisciplinary roundtable will reflect on questions posed implicitly and explicitly by search committees on the relevance and generalizability of Haitian studies and talk about how they translate Haitian studies into their diverse disciplines. We will also reflect on the scarcity and precarity of academic employment which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and invite participants to be prepared to share their own experiences seeking academic employment.

The roundtable and Q&A with panelists will be followed by small group discussion in disciplinary affinity groups facilitated by panelists and joined by senior scholars. (This event will be primarily in English with intermittent Kreyòl glosses and bilingual breakout rooms)

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Translating Haiti: Within and Beyond the Classroom (August 21, 2021)

As part of the Emerging Scholars Translating Haiti Series, this event is a conversation between public scholars and the editors/contributors of Teaching Haiti: Strategies for Creating New Narratives. The event will focus on new ways of teaching about Haiti using different modalities. Discussants will share some aspects of their teaching practice and how they educate the wider public about Haitian culture, history, and contemporary politics. This event will also engage participants through Q/A and small group discussions.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Working Sessions for 2020 Online Conference

Participation in these Working Sessions is free to all Members of H.S.A (renew your membership here) & also free to the public (you must register to each session individually). All members will receive their invitation links a day before the session. It will also be broadcasted live via our YouTube Channel & our Facebook.   For […]

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