Haitian Studies Association

Past Events


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The Character Assassination of Haiti (November 1, 2021)

Co-sponsored by Union Theological Seminary, Haitian Studies Association, and In Cultured Company.
Since Haiti’s successful establishment of the second nation-state in the Americas, Bwa Kayiman has been falsely claimed as Haiti making a pact with the devil in order to be emancipated and independent. This conversation will critically analyze the role imperialism, Christianity, and anti-Blackness have had on Haiti’s current politics, history, and spirituality.

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33rd Annual Conference – Conference Program (October 21-23, 2021)

Public Conference Program is now available.

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Conference Special Events (Oct 21-23, 2021)

Throughout our conference we will have a series of special events: advocacy panels, keynotes, plenaries, social mixers, and more. You can read details about these events on this page.

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Pre-Conference Events: Working Groups (Oct 16-20, 2021)

In the week leading up to our annual conference, our three Working Groups are hosting their own sessions to discuss their projects: “Archives and Public Memory in Haiti and the Diaspora”, “The Roots Are Many and Deep: Social, Cultural, and Spiritual Dimensions of Haiti’s Ecological Crisis”, and “The Rights to Live Creatively”.

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Be a part of the solution – Join H.S.A. and partners in Advocacy Day (October 21, 2021)

2021 has seen an unprecedented series of disasters for the world’s first free Black republic: in addition to COVID and its economic crisis, Haitian people have faced a constitutional crisis, state-sanctioned violence and human rights violations – both in Haiti and along the U.S.-Mexico border – the assassination of the president, two earthquakes and a deadly hurricane with several more months in the hurricane season extended because of climate change.

Haitian Studies Association has attempted to step up and fulfill our responsibility to make our reservoir of knowledge accessible to journalists, activists, and policymakers, convoking timely conversations. If you haven’t already done so, please register for Monday’s emergency brainstorming with Haitian Bridge Alliance on what to do about the situation on the border, 8 p.m. Eastern.

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Emergency Brainstorming Session: What can we do about the violations at the U.S. Border? (September, 27 2021)

We at H.S.A. feel distraught and sad by the inhumane, racist, imperialist and colonialist treatment of our Haitian brothers and sisters at the border. Please see this Call to Action by H.S.A. and our sister Black academic professional associations.

Given the magnitude of the situation we would like to come together as scholars, activists and practitioners to brainstorm about some concrete actions we can take to support our brothers and sisters. To that end we are holding a brainstorming  meeting on Monday, September 27 at 8 pm EST/7p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT. We will meet with a representative from the Haitian Bridge Alliance to think about some concrete and strategic ways we can work with other organizations to provide our services.

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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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