“Haiti: Then and Now” (HTN) is looking for new contributors for 2015.

“Haiti: Then and Now” (HTN) is looking for new contributors for the new year, 2015.

If you agree with our philosophy and our vision, as well as what we’re trying to achieve together, please email us a brief bio and cool pic to haitithenandnow@gmail.com.

To learn more about the role of our contributors, click on the link below:
The task of our Contributors

Imagining and Reimagining Haiti through Literature and Reading in 2014

As a scholar of Haitian studies, I try to stay abreast of the growing and interesting literary production and expression about Haiti and its place in world history in Western scholarship, both in the Anglophone and Francophone world. Frankly, it is impossible to keep track of the various ways writers and artists have imagined and reimagined Haiti through literature, books, and the arts. (But, I do try to keep an eye on books that are published primarily in the English and French languages. )  As a writer, I too have imagined and continue to imagine Haitian history, culture, and literature through the technology of books and the craft of writing. In this brief post, my goal is to share with you some of the best books that have been published on Haiti in 2014. Each title is followed by a brief description.  I close the post by highlighting  some of the most exciting anticipating works in 2015 about Haiti.These titles are both in English  and French. These texts represent different literary genres; they imagine Haiti from different perspectives, worldviews, and disciplines–including religion, history, literature, the arts, economics, political philosophy, etc. 2014 was a great year of literary production about Haiti.

Bonne lecture and Happy New Year, 2015!


A. Best Books Published on Haiti in 2014

1. The Memoir of General Toussaint Louverture (Oxford University Press, 2014) Translated and Edited by Philippe R. Girard

“Here is an annotated, scholarly, multilingual edition of the only lengthy text personally written by Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture: the memoirs he wrote shortly before his death in the French prison of Fort de Joux. The translation is based on an original copy in Louverture’s hand never before published.

Historian Philippe Girard begins with an introductory essay that retraces Louverture’s career as a slave, rebel, and governor. Girard provides a detailed narrative of the last year of Louverture’s life, and analyzes the significance of the memoirs and letters from a historical and linguistic perspective. The book includes a full transcript, in the original French, of Louverture’s handwritten memoirs. The English translation appears side by side with the original. The memoirs contain idiosyncrasies and stylistic variations of interest to linguists.

Scholarly interest in the Haitian Revolution and the life of Toussaint Louverture has increased over the past decade. Louverture is arguably the most notable man of African descent in history, and the Haitian Revolution was the most radical of the three great revolutions of its time. Haiti’s proud revolutionary past and its more recent upheavals indicate that interest in Haiti’s history goes far beyond academia; many regard Louverture as a personal hero. Despite this interest, there is a lack of accessible primary sources on Toussaint Louverture. An edited translation of Louverture’s memoirs makes his writings accessible to a larger public. Louverture’s memoirs provide a vivid alternative perspective to anonymous plantation records, quantitative analyses of slave trading ventures, or slave narratives mediated by white authors. Louverture kept a stoic façade and rarely expressed his innermost thoughts and fears in writing, but his memoirs are unusually emotional. Louverture questioned whether he was targeted due to the color of his skin, bringing racism an issue that Louverture rarely addressed head on with his white interlocutors, to the fore.”

2. Haiti: From Revolutionary Slaves to Powerless Citizens: Essays on the Politics and Economics of Underdevelopment, 1804-2013 ( Routledge, 2014) by Alex Dupuy

“This title focuses on Haiti from an international perspective. Haiti has endured undue influence from successive French and US governments; its fragile ‘democracy’ has been founded on subordination to and dominance of foreign powers. This book examines Haiti’s position within the global economic and political order, and how the more dominant members of the international community have, in varying ways, exploited the country over the last 200 years.”

3. Haiti: Trapped in the Outer Periphery (Lynne Rienner Publishers , 2014) by Robert Fatton Jr. 

If we must die / Si n blije mouri

If we must die / Si n blije mouri.

If we must die

By Claude McKay

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Si n blije mouri

Si n blije mouri, ann pa fout mouri kou bèt
Trake epi kwense nan yon koridò pwennfèpa
Pandan tout alantou nou djòl bouldòg yo ap fè dlo
Dan yo griyen sou nou, yon bann lach k aksepte sò yo
Si pou n mouri, ann mouri tankou fanm ak gason vanyan
Pou menm lè san n ap koule
San manman yo ap blije wete chapo devan lonè ak kouray nou
Frè ak sè m yo, ann gonfle fòs pou n mache kontre lennmi an
Menm si yo pi plis pase nou, ann leve kanpe doubout, ann goumen
Pou chak rafal mitrayèt yo, ann lache yon kokenn kout poud ki fè yo tranble
Menm lè n ap gade lanmò fasafas
Ann kale je n nan je atoufè lach yo
Ann sèmante pou n mouri nan batay olye n kontinye viv ajenou

Claude McKay, “If we must die,” first published in The Liberator (1919).

Kreyol translation by Dahoud Andre (2000) [via Ezílí Dantó].

Image: Photograph of Claude McKay speaking in the Throne Room at the Kremlin, ca. 1923. Claude McKay collection, 1853-1990, Yale University.

Call for Papers: L’Occupation 1915-1934: Perspectives on Haiti and the US at the Centennial

Call for Papers: Journal of Haitian Studies

Special Issue: L’Occupation 1915-1934: Perspectives on Haiti and the US at the Centennial Special Issue
Guest editors: Jeffrey W. Sommers and Ermitte St. Jacques, with Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

2015 marks the centennial of the United States occupation of the Republic of Haiti, 1915-1934. That event indicated a signal change in Haiti’s history, propelling the country in new directions. Though a minor incident in U.S. history, ‘l’Occupation’ was for Haiti a cataclysmic event. The country lost its independence as neocolonialism penetrated even further into Haiti with a ‘state against nation’ dynamic configuring its class relations. Thereafter, Haiti then gave birth to new entanglements in its foreign relations that have resonated into the present.

The Journal of Haitian Studies will have a special issue in Fall 2015 marking this anniversary, and calls for articles in all disciplines and fields. Scholars may submit contributions in the broad areas of culture and society and political economy.

Essays should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words and should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please submit your essay, cover sheet, and 150-word abstract to johs@cbs.ucsb.edu. Queries should be directed to Dr. Jeffrey W. Sommers (sommerjw@uwm.edu) and Dr. Ermitte St. Jacques (saintjac@uwm.edu). Articles can be written in English, Kreyol, French, and Spanish.

Please submit articles by April 30, 2015.

JHS poster2

Matthew J. Smith onThe Caribbean and the Roots of the Haitian Diaspora

Prof. Matthew J. Smith, the author of the new excellent book on Haiti and Jamaica – Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica after Emancipation [University of North Carolina Press, 2014/412 pages]– delivers an important lecture on The Caribbean and the Roots of the Haitian Diaspora.

From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought Reviewed by Dr. Tammie Jenkins

Dr. Tammie Jenkins has graciously reviewed my book for “Haiti: Then and Now.” I reproduce the review below.

Joseph, Celucien L. From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric,Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought. North Charleston: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2013. ISBN: 978-1490400952. 372pp.
Reviewed by Tammie Jenkins

From Toussaint to Price-Mars

            In From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought, Joseph explores the Haitian intellectual tradition using works from four noteworthy men as intergenerational discourses embedded in a “rhetoric of freedom” (61) and a “rhetoric of resistance” (69). Joseph examines the contributions of Toussaint Louverture, Antenor Firmin, Jacques Roumain, and Jean Price-Mars, to the development of the Haitian intellectual tradition across time and geography. Maintaining that the Haitian intellectual tradition is not a homogenous construct, but a multiplicitous, intersecting, and divergent set of discourses, Joseph opens From Toussaint to Price-Mars with an introductory section which explains the scope and sequence of the text as well as his thesis and objectives. Using original works, translated texts, and his personal narratives, the author furthers this investigation by articulating the role of race, religion, and identity in discourses of Haitian intellectualism.

Containing seven chapters From Toussaint to Price-Mars has been chronologically subdivided into three parts: Part 1: “The Rhetoric of Race and Freedom,” Part 2: “Engaging the Race Concept and Haitian Afrocentrism,” and Part 3: “Reflections on Religion and Critical Theory.” Featuring an introductory chapter on “Engaging Race, Rhetoric, and Religion,” Joseph provides a synopsis of his previous book Race, Religion, and the Haitian Revolution: Essays on Faith, Freedom, and Decolonization and refers to his present work From Toussaint to Price-Mars, as a sequel to his aforementioned text, the author situates this book as a continuation of his investigation into the role of rhetoric and religion in the development of the Haitian intellectual tradition. Examining the “ideas and writings” (1-2) of four key Haitian intellectuals, Joseph argues that the Haitian intellectual tradition began shortly after the revolution and has continued its evolution into Haiti’s “postcolonial present” (3). The book concludes with an appendix which further describes the Afrocentric underpinnings of Antenor Firmin’s work. In From Toussaint to Price-Mar, Joseph uses data collected from archival and historical records, personal documents, and recorded speeches, to analyze the rhetoric contained in works by Louverture, Firmin, Roumain, and Price-Mars as evidence of a Haitian intellectual tradition. Anchored in “Black Atlantic thought and culture,” (3) each chapter connects the succeeding intellectual’s work to that of a predecessor.

In Part 1: “The Rhetoric of Race and Freedom,” Joseph provides a brief biographical overview of Louverture’s early lived experiences which the author views as a contributing factor to Toussaint’s intellectual development. Reaffirming the place of Toussaint in the development of the Haitian intellectual tradition and its evolution, the author refrains from regurgitating accepted historical accounts associated with Louverture, instead, Joseph describes Louverture as a man of “deep commitment” (9), letters, and ideas, whose texts exceeded European notions of freedom. In From Toussaint to Price-Mars Joseph presents and image of Louverture as a political activist, who used his texts to propagate his rhetoric of freedom and resistance in larger societal conversations. Using excerpts from Louverture’s original 1792 letter, Joseph examines Toussaint’s concept of freedom in a post-Revolutionary Haiti. The author found that Toussaint’s texts contains an orality that moves from the page in ways which enabled him to use his words to interject his ideas into larger societal discourses. The author uses this analysis to (re)situate Louverture, in the literature, as a multi-faceted intellectual leader of the newly created Republic of Haiti, who possessed the ability to use language in ways which enabled him to infiltrate the public sphere.

Part 2: “Engaging the Race Concept and Haitian Afrocentrism,” extends the discourses introduced by Louverture into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this section, Joseph examines the Afrocentric underpinnings of Antenor Firmin’s intellectual ideas. Using Firmin’s The Equality of the Races, Joseph examines the ways in which Firmin promoted the reclamation of Egypt as the ancient African civilization of Kemet. Acknowledging that Firmin’s, the progenitor of ethnology, intellectualism challenges white ideas of black inferiority, Joseph maintains that Firmin’s rhetoric of freedom and resistance promoted the rewriting of European history to include the achievement of Africa and its civilizations. The author proposed that Firmin’s ideas are ingrained in the Haitian intellectual tradition through his desire to (re) position “the Haitian intellectual in the tradition of the Black Atlantic vindicationism and the anti-racist narrative in the history of ideas” (92) which Firmin deemed necessary for the development of black racial pride and the reconnection of diasporic blacks with Africa.

In Part 3: “Reflections on Religion and Critical Theory,” moved the Haitian intellectual tradition towards discourses of religion and nationalism, in which works by Jacques Roumain, founder of the Haitian Communist Party, are used by Joseph to position Roumain in the role of public intellectual. Drawing on Roumain’s novel Master of the Dew, Joseph investigates the ways in which Roumain’s text challenges social class hierarchies and economic disparities. Roumain, a member of the Haitian indigenisme, embraced Marxism, a theory expounded by Karl Marx, in his book the Communist Manifesto, as way to unite Haitians. Using Marxism as his conceptual lens, Roumain added a “rhetoric of pain and suffering” (227) to the prevailing discourses of freedom and resistance already present in the Haitian intellectual tradition.

Returning to discourses of religion and nationalism, Price-Mars uses his “religious sensibility” (272) to redefine and articulate his rhetoric of freedom and resistance in the early twentieth century. Addressing discourses of “Haitian identity and the religion of Vodou” (273), Joseph uses Price-Mar’s So Spoke the Uncle, to examine the ways in which hybridity and intertextuality are interwoven in Price-Mars rhetoric of freedom and resistance. The author contends that Price-Mars integrated ideas drawn from Firmin and Rouman into his works to encourage Haitian citizens to embrace their African heritage, their history of enslavement, and to work toward the creation of a national Haitian identity.

From Toussaint to Price-Mars presents an extensive overview of the range in which the Haitian intellectual tradition has contributed to the articulation and dissemination of ideas and thoughts, anchored in conversations of freedom and resistance. In From Toussaint to Price-Mars, Joseph selected text written by four outstanding men whose works serve as representations of the Haitian intellectual tradition. This book stands as one of the first to explore and to situate the influences of Louverture, Firmin, Roumain, and Price-Mars on the development of a Haitian intellectual tradition; however, From Toussaint to Price-Mars overlooks the contribution of women to the establishment of this tradition. Nevertheless, scholars with interests in Haitian History, Rhetorical Studies, Cultural Studies, as well as Black Atlantic and Diasporic Studies may find From Toussaint to Price-Mars a useful primer.

TammieJenkins, Ph.D.

Independent Scholar

Source: Haiti: Then and Now

Symposium on Haitian Creole Language and Culture: “Kreyòl: Lang Transfòmasyon, Lang Liberasyon Ayiti”

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:


Selebrasyon lang kreyòl ak kilti Ayisyen! This is a Symposium on Haitian Creole Language and Culture, hosted by Brooklyn College, to take place on the weekend of October 24-25, 2014 (admission free). Organized around the topic “Kreyòl: Language of Transformation & Liberation of Haiti” [Kreyòl: Lang Transfòmasyon, Lang Liberasyon Ayiti], the symposium will be held at the Brooklyn College Woody Tanger Auditorium, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

Speakers include: Fabienne Doucet (New York University), Rozevel Jean-Baptiste (New York City Department of Education), Serge Madhère (Howard University), Jean-Yves Plaisir (Borough of Manhattan Community College-CUNY), Hugues Saint- Fort (Kingsborough Community College-CUNY), and Jean-Yves Urfié (Congregation of the Holy Spirit). Besides the panel presentations, there will be film screenings, a Kreyòl book exhibition, and Arts & Crafts exhibit, cultural performances, and Kreyòl cuisine.

Sponsors are: CUNY Haitian Studies Institute, Brooklyn College President’s Office, NYS R-BERN@NYU, La Fondation Mémoire, HAFECE, Haitian…

View original 38 more words


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