Call for Papers: Haiti and the Americas

Florida Atlantic University and the Americas Research Center at Rice University are co-sponsoring the interdisciplinary conference Haiti and the Americas: Histories, Cultures, Imaginations. The conference will be held on October 21-23, 2010 at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Confirmed keynote speakers are Myriam Chancy, Michael Dash, Sibylle Fischer, and Philip McMichael. Filmmaker Michelange Quay will present his film Eat, for this is My Body (2008).

The organizers describe the conference here:

Haiti has long played an important role in the imaginary of the hemisphere, but ideas about and images of Haiti often can appear paradoxical. Is it a land of tyranny and oppression or a beacon of freedom as site of the world’s only successful slave revolution? A land of devilish practices or a devoutly religious island? Does its status as the second independent nation in the hemisphere give it special lessons to teach about postcolonialism or is its main lesson one of failure? Thinking about Haiti requires breaking through a thick layer of stereotypes, in which Haiti can appear as the furthest extreme of poverty, of political dysfunction, and of savagery, to develop approaches that can account for the complexity of Haitian history and culture.

Sadly enough, coverage of the January 2010 earthquake fits very easily into the narrative of Haiti as a dependent nation, unable to govern or even fend for itself, a site of lawlessness that is in need of the U.S. to take control. The goal of “Haiti and the Americas” will be to examine these representations, to contextualize the ways that Haiti has been represented over time, and to look at Haiti’s own cultural expressions in order to think about alternative ways of imagining its culture and history.

This conference will bring together scholars working on any of these aspects of Haiti’s influence on the hemisphere, both historically and today, in fields such as art history, cultural studies, history, literature, political science, sociology, and others. We will look at the many ways Haiti has been represented by outsiders as well as the ways Haitians represent themselves to think about the past, present, and future of Haiti’s place in the imagination of the Americas. We expect to publish a volume of essays selected from among the papers presented at the conference. Participants will be encouraged to submit article-length versions of their contributions by December 31, 2010, for consideration.

If you are interested in participating in the conference, please send an abstract and a brief bio by August 1, 2010, to:

[Many thanks to conference organizer Rafe Dalleo for bringing this item to our attention.]

Image of “Fruit Tree” by Alberoi Bazile from

For a review of Eat, for this is My Body, see

See trailer at

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