CfP: Teaching Haiti Beyond Literature


Call For Papers   Teaching Haiti Beyond Literature: Intersectionalities of History, Literature and Culture

By Cécile Accilien and Valérie Orlando

In  “Poem for the Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere” , poet Danielle Legros Georges chants:  “Oh poorest country, this is not  y our name /  You should be called beacon, and flame . ”  Haiti, the only country with  the  last name  of “poorest country in the Western hemisphere”  is often at the crossroads of either been venerated in History as the First Black Republic or being pitied .   Latin American historian Philippe Zaca ïr notes that Haiti is  “ only respected in books as opposed to real life .”   Th e essays in th is volume  will   focus on how to  teach about Haiti and its complex history and culture  fro m  a transdisciplinary perspective . Its main goal is to provide  best practices and practical suggestions for teaching about Haiti from multiple lenses including art, art history, cultural studies, film, gender, history, literature, and  sociology to name but a few  areas of interest .  T he volume  also  seeks critical essays that  center  on  “Fatal assistance” ( a term used by  filmmaker Raoul Peck) to highlight  the problematic of humanitarian aid  and NGOs , service learning, volunteerism and disaster tourism in Haiti.

Since the 2010 earthquake that  reshaped  Haiti forever , there  has been an increased interest in Haiti.  The mythologization of the Haitian revolution remains a constant trope for writers and critics in the Americas. Yet, paradoxically, the Latin American Studies curriculum in U.S. universities often disregards Haiti. Anthropologist Michel Rolph Trouillot in his seminal work Silencing the Past  challenges  the “production of historical narratives ” and how  they  affect    our understanding and perception of history and culture.  W hen referencing countries in Latin America, Haiti is positioned at the very bottom ,  so it is not surprising that in spite of being the first independent black country in the Western Hemisphere, there has been   almost complete erasure of its history. An example of Haiti’s marginalization in the Caribbean is its complex rapport with the Dominican Republic.Recently, Haiti as well as the Dominican Republic have been in the news because of issues  associated with  citizenship. In 2013, the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic ruled that anyone born between 1929 and 2010 to non-citizen parents  could not claim  Dominican citizen ship  and was therefore subject to deportation.

In the recent years of the post-Haiti earthquake, there have been several volumes published in English which focus on Haiti’s history and culture as well as comparative studies of Haiti and other Caribbean islands. Among them we note the following: Humanitarian Aftershocks in Haiti by Mark Schuller (Rutgers University press, 2016), The Haitian Declaration of Independence edited by Julia Gaffield (University of Virginia Press, 2016), Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians and the Remaking of Quebec by Sean Mills (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016)), Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-quake Chronicle by Gina Athena Ulysse (Wesleyan University Press, 2015), Caribbean Crossing: African Americans and the Haitian Emigration Movement by Sara Fanning (New York University Press, 2015), Tropical Apocalypse: Haiti and The Caribbean End Times by Martin Munro (University of Virginia Press, 2015), Haiti: The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois (Metropolitan Books, 2012), From Sugar to Revolution: Women’s Vision of Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic by Myriam Chancy  (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2012) and Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora in the Wider Caribbean edited by Philippe Zacaïr (University Press of Florida, 2010)

Despite these very impressive volumes, no comprehensive reader proposing methods for teaching about Haiti’s history and culture from transdisciplinary perspectives has been published.  This book  will  fill this gap.The essays will provide practical tips  and best practices  for instructors teaching about Haiti as well as suggested readings for undergraduate and graduate students at the MA level.

We are looking for unpublished essays  focusing on teaching about Haiti from the following perspectives:

Activism/Activist in Haiti

Haitian History

Haitian Painting

Haitian Women

Haitian Immigrant

Haitian Film

Haitian Music

Historical Representations of Haiti

Indigenism Movement

Haitian Architecture

Humanitarianism/Humanitarian aid/NGOs

Service Learning in Haiti

Haitian Literature and Poetry  (especially lesser known writers  from the  19th, 20th and 21st centuries)

Haitian Creole (Link between language and education/language and development)

Gender and Sexuality

Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Haiti and the United States

Haiti/Haitians and African-Americans  (beyond Jacques Roumain and Langston Hughes)

Vodou as cultural practice (religion, culture and identity)

Haitian Poetry

Haitian Theater


LGBTQ in Haiti

*** This list is not exhaustive.

If you are interested in contributing, please send a 500 word abstract and short bio to Dr. Cécile Accilien  and  Dr.  Valérie K. Orlando  at  either or  by June 25, 201 6.

You will be notified by July 15th, 2016

The first draft of the essays will be due by January 10, 2017

About the editors:

Cécile Accilien is Associate professor in the Department of African & African-American Studies and the Director of the Institute of Haitian Studies  (  at Kansas University.

Valérie Orlando is Professor of French & Francophone  Literatures and Cultures  at the University of Maryland (College Park) , Head of the Department of French & Italian and Series Editor for : “ After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France ” , Lexington Books

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

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