Tag Archives: Haiti

Wynnie Lamour on The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series

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At CLACS at NYU we’ve been celebrating International Women’s Month by hosting The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series all this month. So far, we’ve hosted Black Afro-feminist activist Fania Noel and rapper and spoken word artist Theresa Sophia Alphonse. Later this month we’ll be hosting Stephani Saintonge, an award-winning filmmaker & documentarian. To give the CLACS at NYU’s community more insight about the inspiration behind the series, Haitian Creole Language Institute founder Wynnie Lamour talks about Sanité Bélair and the deep historical roots that ground the events:

“Despite the invaluable contribution of many women in Caribbean history, their voices and stories have often been left by the wayside, having fallen prey to the whims of a society that often undervalues women. From providing the nurture needed by their communities to blazing new pathways, women have always lead the way for movements of great change.

The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series was born out of a desire to celebrate and center the visionary work of contemporary Caribbean women. Sanité Bélair was a Haitian freedom fighter and revolutionary, and one of the few women soldiers who fought during the Haitian Revolution at the turn of the 19th century. Sanité, whom Dessalines described as “a tigress,” is formally recognized by the Haitian Government as a National Heroine of Haiti.

Just as the Haitian Revolution led the way for so many others in the Caribbean, the courage and fortitude displayed by Sanité during the Haitian Revolution was unparalleled and continues to echo in the spirits of many Haitian women today. Her passion and fire serve as inspiration for the three Modern-Day Revolutionary women being featured this month in the Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series: Fania Noel, Black Afro-Feminist Activist; Theresa Sophia Alphonse, Rapper & Spoken Word Artist; and Stephani Saintonge, award-winning Filmmaker & Documentarian.”

Mujeres Fronterizas: Putting the Focus on Women of Dajabón, Dominican Republic

By: Amanda Alcantara, MA Candidate at CLACS

When I decided to do research on women in the Dominican-Haitian border, I sought to focus on identity, especifically racial identity. Nothing would prepare me for what I learned, what I saw, the diversity and similarity in the stories of the 25+ women whom I interviewed mostly from Dajabón, Dominican Republic but also from Ouanaminthe, Haiti. The topic of my research was changed by these narratives.

Gloria Anzaldúa writes about borderlands as a place of violence, pain, and una “herida abierta”. She wrote of the border as parallel to her own body as a woman: her body is a place of violence and pain too. The Dominican-Haitian border divided by el Río Masacre—a name that signifies a deep wound still fresh in the elder’s minds—is no different than this. The women of this particular border have their own stories too, their own stories of the type of violence that is very specific to women, and their own stories of resilience.

 

The border entrance from Dajabón to Ouanaminthe.

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African Diaspora Spotlight at CLACS this Week

On Monday, April 18th CLACS will be hosting and co-sponsoring events that focus on the culture and current affairs of the African diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America.

IMG_62571We begin at 5:00pm with the opening of The Free Black Women’s Library: NYU CLACS Pop-up, as part of the Kreyòl at NYU initiative. Installed at KJCC’s Portrait Room through the evening, this edition will feature a conversation with its founder Ola Ronke and will focus on Caribbean Women authors. Visitors to the pop up are encouraged to bring books and/or make donations to The Free Black Women’s Library. For more information click here.

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At 6:00pm CLACS will host the last edition of the 2016 Spring Colloquium Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and the Caribbean, with a lecture by Elizabeth McAlister titled “The Militarization of Prayer and Evangelical Spiritual Warfare in Haiti.” The lecture by Professor McAlister of Wesleyan Univesity, describes how Americans engage evangelicals in Haiti to fight against the creole religious tradition called Vodou, which they consider a Satanic enemy. This event will be held at the KJCC Auditorium. To learn more about the lecture and to rsvp, please follow this link.

blacklivesmatterAt 6:30pm, CLACS is proud of co-sponsoring the event titled “#Blacklivesmatter: Race, Space, and Consciousness.” Organized by a committee of NYU graduate students, including Larnies Bowen of CLACS, the event features a panel of renowned experts from the US and Latin America moderated by Arlene Davila Professor of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. For more information and to rsvp click here.

Kreyòl @ NYU

This academic year, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies began offering Haitian Creole language classes to students at New York University. Students at Lehman College and Columbia University can enroll in the classes as well thanks to the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Consortium. Kreyòl is one of Haiti’s two official languages and is spoken by around 10 million people worldwide, including the large Haitian community in New York.

Wynnie2A course is not a course without a teacher, and on fall of 2015 we were delighted to welcome Wynnie Lamour to the CLACS faculty. Wynnie is the founder of the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York, where she offers Kreyól language classes and cultural events. CLACS MA student Brendan Fields talked with Wynnie about her experiences and expectations regarding Haitian Creole at NYU.

 

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Meet Djatawo, the First Haitian Superhero

Post by Juan Carlos Castillo, CLACS MA Candidate

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The evening of October 27th, CLACS hosted the event “A Conversation with the Creator of Djatawo, Haiti’s First Comic Book Superhero,” with Anthony Louis-Jeune (Aton). This event was co-sponsored with the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York. The intimate conversation with Aton held at CLACS room 404, which included live-sketching by the artist, was attended by a diverse group of 23 people which included Kreyol students, comic book fans, and members of the Haitian community. 

It took a whole night to shave his body completely. His eyelashes were the only hair he didn’t remove. And there he was, inside of a pyramid made of wood, tranquil and meditating before his performance. He then came out, silently and peacefully, holding a bronze Egyptian sun disc. He walked through the room, approaching all those present and gave each of them tiny golden hands that were embedded in the medallion. After that, the performance was over.

This was Anthony Louis-Jeune, whom back then was a visual arts senior undergrad student at the Altos de Chavón School of Design, introducing the faculty and fellow students  present to the first Haitian superhero, Djatawo.

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Ada Ferrer’s Book Wins Prestigious Prize

Ada Ferrer's book, Freedom's Mirror, won three awards from the American Historical Association.

Ada Ferrer’s book, Freedom’s Mirror, has already won four prestigious awards.

Ada Ferrer, professor of history and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University, has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book “Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution” (Cambridge University Press).

The Douglass Prize was created jointly by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. It is awarded annually by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition. The $25,000 prize will be presented to Ferrer at a reception sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York City on February 4, 2016.

In addition to Ferrer, the other finalists for the prize were Ezra Greenspan for “William Wells Brown: An African American Life” (W. W. Norton), and Michael Guasco for “Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World” (University of Pennsylvania Press).

This year’s finalists were selected from a field of more than 80 books by a jury of scholars that included Douglas Egerton (chair) of Le Moyne College, Rosanne Adderley of Tulane University, and James Sweet  of the University of Wisconsin. The winners were selected by a review committee of representatives from the Gilder Lehrman Center, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Yale.

“Freedom’s Mirror” offers “a fresh perspective and links these two nations together in a complex web, in which sugar slavery declined in Haiti just as it rose in Cuba,” commented the jury. “Ferrer’s research is most impressive; she fills her pages with proslavery Cuban generals, African slaves in both colonies, refugee ‘French Negroes,’ and Haitian leaders who hoped to weaken slavery on the islands that surrounded them. ‘Freedom’s Mirror’ will force even specialists to reconsider this era.” The jury also praised Ferrer’s “rendering of the complex politics in a beautifully written and understandable way that will be readily followed by readers with minimal knowledge of 19th-century Cuba, Haiti, and the Spanish Caribbean.”

This Ferrer’s book has already been awarded with other prestigious prizes. For instance it won the Friedrich Katz Prize in Latin American and Caribbean History, the Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History, and the James A. Rawley Prize for the History of the Atlantic Worlds before the 20th Century.

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field of slavery and abolition by honoring outstanding books on the subject. The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the 19th century.


*Re-blogged from news.yale.edu. See original post here.

CLACS Language Offerings to be Showcased at Orientation

Haitian Tea

On Tuesday, August 25th the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU (CLACS) kicked off the fall 2015 semester with a series of events to welcome a new class of students, and showcase to all NYU students its unique language offerings in Quechua and Haitian Kreyól. As a Title VI National Resource Center designated by the Department of Education, CLACS is part of the Indigenous Language Consortium (with the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University (ILAS), and The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College) which promotes the education of less commonly taught languages and NYU students can benefit from this unique resource.

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Another Day in the Dominican Republic: Threatening Blackness in Quisqueya

Posted by Amanda Moreno – MA/MSLIS Candidate at CLACS and The Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University – Manhattan

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Graffiti on Calle César Nicolás Pensón and Avenida Máximo Gómez demanding the expulsion of Haitians from Dominican Republic. Photo by Amanda Moreno, May 2015.

I noticed the graffiti on my way to dinner the night I arrive in the Dominican Republic. Outside of what I later learned is the equivalent of a papal embassy in Santo Domingo’s upper middle class neighborhood of Gazcue, the haphazard stenciling connotes an all too common message to Haitians living on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola: get out, you are not wanted here. Continue reading

African Diaspora in the Americas as the Focus of Upcoming CLACS Events

Written by William Ramirez, NYU CLACS MA Candidate

In April and May CLACS will be featuring a series of exciting events focusing in the history, culture, and current affairs of the African Diaspora experience in the Americas. These will feature insightful discussions with distingished scholars, performances by renowned artists, and experts on the topics of the Haitian Revolution, 19th Century Afro Brazilian history, the resonance of today’s Quilombos, and the figure of Cuban slave revolt leader and artist Jose Antonio Aponte.

On Monday April 27th, the Spring 2015 Colloquium series Latin American Spring Colloquium, PosterIndependence in the Age of Revolution will feature professor Madison Smartt-Bell (Goucher College) who will discuss his upcoming biography on Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of the fathers of the Haitian Revolution, and his growing significance in Haiti. His lecture is titled “Dessalines Disembodied.”

Thursday April 30th, CLACS hosts two events on Afro Brazilian history and current affairs. Starting at 5pm,  distinguished historian João José Reis (Universidade Federal da Bahia), will discuss the history of slave-owning slaves in Brazil in a presentation titled “Where Slaves were Slave Owners, the Case of 19th Century Bahia.” This lecture is co sponsored by the Africa~Diaspora Forum at NYU and Fordham University.

Later at 7pm, on the second event of the night, Maga Bo, both a DJ and producer residing in Brazil, and BNegão, a vocalist and composer recognized for his Afrocentric hip-hop, dub, funk, and punk music, will present “Quilombo do Futuro: The Contemporary Social and Cultural Resonance of Brazil’s Maroon Communities.” A performance which uses the notion of runaway slave communities as an onset for the interaction of traditional and contemporary music in the country. Brazilian scholar Mariela de Andrade (Universidade Estadual de Campinas), will situate their performance in the larger scope of the current challenges and success of the quilombo movement in Brazil. This event is co sponsored by The Consulate General of Brazil, The Brazilian Studies Center and ILAS at Columbia University.

Friday May 8th and Saturday May 9th, a one-of-a-kind two-day conference hosted by NYU, centered on the leader of the 1811-1812 massive slave rebellion in Cuba. “José Antonio Aponte and His World: Writing, Painting, and Making Freedom in the African Diaspora,” features renowned scholars from NYU, and other distinguished institutions in the U.S. and abroad, will discuss the visionary leader, his legendary “book of paintings,” and the future direction of “Apontian” scholarship.

Aponte Symposium, Poster
All of the above mentioned events will be held at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU (map) For more information on these and other upcoming events, visit the CLACS website. You can also find the latest information on the events on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #ClacsEvents.

Spring Colloquium 2015 – Marlene Daut and the Racial Discourse of Haitian Print Culture

Marlene Daut and her new book Tropics of Haiti:  Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865

Marlene Daut and her new book Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865

Written by CLACS MA Student Patrick Moreno-Covington

As scholars, there is always a hint of uncertainty as to where the fruits of our research will take us. We can so easily start from one time period, community or region and end up “across the world” two or three centuries removed. That is certainly the case for next Monday’s installment of the fascinating Spring 2015 Colloquium Series – Latin American Independence in the Age of Revolution featuring Marlene Daut Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University. So how did Daut, an English professor, end up speaking on the print culture in the period following the Haitian Revolution in a series focused on the Atlantic Revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries?

Daut’s path to her academic subject of interest and to completing her upcoming book, Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 certainly was unorthodox but has been instrumental in the development of her interests. Graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a double B.A. in French and English, Marlene thought she could combine her two interests by studying the literature of francophone Louisiana in the antebellum period as part of the University of Notre Dame’s English department. Building on the links she found between a newly independent Haiti and the francophone culture in the American south, Marlene began digging into a vast body of Haitian fiction that emerged to fictionalize the the events of the Haitian revolution.

But were these works of fiction? Despite containing what were clearly fictionalized accounts of actors integral to the revolution and especially Toussaint Louverture, Daut began to find that the authors of these novels all claimed that the events and descriptions of the Revolution not as fiction but as accurate histories. In particular, elements of the stories describing the racial taxonomies present in Haiti at the time of the uprising and the enlightenment roots of the Revolution were related as truth in the plays, fiction and even the journalism of the time.  As Marlene began to follow these these stories from their circulation in the Antilles and across the Atlantic to Europe, she found clear indications that many of these “histories” were being wholesale reprinted and retold by authors around the world. Daut groups these repeated tropes into to narrative categories – the “mulatto” vengeance narrative and the Enlightenment narrative.

Each of these narratives, while seemingly opposed, worked in conjunction with each other to define the racial discourse of the Revolution and beyond. In many ways, Daut’s work points to the beginnings of a sense of biological racism – defined by the proponents use of “scientific” veracity – that defined the post-independece era of race relations. The investigations into Haitian print culture and its lasting influence on racial discourse can serve as a critical key to revealing some of the silences around the Haitian Revolution that are beginning to be exposed with a new surge in Haiti scholarship.

It is here that the potential impact of Dauts work can extend far beyond discussions of history and literature of the 19th century and into the present day. In light of some of the many comments from public figures that emerged following the 2010 Hatian earthquake Daut can see the racialized tropes of the 1800’s begin to rear their ugly head once again. In a time where it is so easy to click ‘share’ and ‘retweet’, Daut’s work asks us to examine what language we copy and replicate and their implications.

Join CLACS Monday, April 13th at 6 pm in the King Juan Carlos Center Auditorium for Marlene Daut’s talk on Race and the Transatlantic Print Culture of the Haitian Revolution 1789-1865.

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