New Book—“Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle” 

haitiSY344_BO1,204,203,200_Gina Athena Ulysse’s Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle (Wesleyan University Press, 2015) offers a nuanced analysis of the complexities of post-quake Haiti and its representations through her perspective as an anthropologist, artist, and insider. Translated by Nadève Ménard and Évelyne Trouillot, this incisive, trilingual (English, Kreyòl, and French) study includes a foreword by Robin D.G. Kelley.

Paul Stoller (author of Yaya’s Story: The Quest for Well-Being in the World) calls it “a beautifully written and profoundly important work of engaged anthropology;” and Jonathan M. Katz (author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster) writes, “Ulysse’s clear, powerful writing rips through the stereotypes to reveal a portrait of Haiti in politics and art that will change the way you think about that nation’s culture, and your own.”

Description: Mainstream news coverage of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010, reproduced longstanding narratives of Haiti and stereotypes of Haitians. Cognizant that this Haiti, as it exists in the public sphere, is a rhetorically and graphically incarcerated one, the feminist anthropologist and performance artist Gina Athena Ulysse embarked on a writing spree that lasted over two years. As an ethnographer and a member of the diaspora, Ulysse delivers critical cultural analysis of geopolitics and daily life in a series of dispatches, op-eds and articles on post-quake Haiti.

Her complex yet singular aim is to make sense of how the nation and its subjects continue to negotiate sovereignty and being in a world where, according to a Haitian saying, tout moun se moun, men tout moun pa menm (All people are human, but all humans are not the same). This collection contains thirty pieces, most of which were previously published in and on Haitian Times, Huffington Post, Ms Magazine, Ms Blog, NACLA, and other print and online venues. The book is trilingual (English, Kreyòl, and French) and includes a foreword by award-winning author and historian Robin D.G. Kelley.

GINA ATHENA ULYSSE is an associate professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University. Born in Haiti, she has lived in the United States for over thirty years. A performance artist, multimedia artist, and anthropologist, she is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, a Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica.

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3 thoughts on “New Book—“Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle” 

  1. A wonderful book to promote. And I haven’t even read it yet! But I know some of the pieces, and they’re powerful. I need to work out how to get it in e-book format. Haitianists, Caribbeanists, and anyone interested in the burning issues of representation need to read it.


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