On Monday, January 23, CLACS joined the Institute of French Studies, the Department of History, the Center for French Civilization and Culture, and La Maison Française to sponsor Roots and Branches: New Directions in Haitian Studies.
The Haitian studies field has grown richer over the last several years and is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary; this conference aimed to provide a forum for dialogues across various disciplines such as History, Religion, Political Science, and others. Highlighting the work of nine graduate students, Roots and Branches explored ways to enliven and inspire new conversations about Haiti in its cultural, social and historical contexts.
Grouped into three panel discussions, topics addressed included “Representations and Political Imagining,” chaired by Prof. Sibylle Fischer (NYU), “Shadows of Empire,” chaired by Profs. Jeremy Popkin (U of Kentucky) and Ada Ferrer (NYU), and “Haiti in Other Cultural Spaces,” chaired by Profs. Michael Dash (NYU) and Mark Schuller (CUNY York). Highlights included Emilie Boone’s presentation on the visual representations of the death of Charlemagne Péralte, and Johnhenry Gonzalaz’s reconceptualization of independent Haiti via analysis of the production of food. The event concluded with a keynote event titled “Interdisciplinarity in Haitian Studies,” and featured a conversation with esteemed scholars Laurent Dubois and Fabienne Doucet.
Claire Payton, a PhD candidate in History at NYU and co-organizer of the event, said that it was a “great honor” to gather this group of emerging scholars together. “Haitian Studies encourages and actually requires innovation, and many young scholars are trailblazing new ways to approach the field,” says Payton. Check out the Roots and Branches event listing on the CLACS website for more detailed information about the event.