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The Caribbean at the Epicenter of History: Haiti, the Earthquake, and Transmigration

Monday, May 10, 2010
12:00 AM
1636 SSWB (International Institute)

The recent tragedy in Haiti has brought worldwide attention to the acute poverty that afflicts most of that country’s nine million citizens. While contributing to a much-needed infusion of money and other resources to the country, the extensive media coverage has to a large degree accepted and reproduced the well-worn narrative of Haiti as a desperately poor, extremely troubled country unable to solve its own problems. Interrogating this narrative requires a careful examination of Haiti’s incredibly complex history as well as the development and operation of its political institutions; historical patterns of coerced and free migration both to and from the country; popular participation in politics at multiple levels; the evolution of diverse agricultural and environmental practices; and many other matters. The workshop will feature specialists representing a number of disciplinary perspectives who will delve into these issues. Entitled “The Caribbean at the Epicenter of History: Haiti, the Earthquake, and Transmigration,” this two-day event (10-11 May 2010) has the central objective of promoting greater knowledge and understanding of Haiti among scholars as well as in the broader community. There will be four panels organized around the principal themes of political and social activism, migration, and the historical roots of contemporary Haitian politics.

Keynote Address
Prof. Georges Fouron
(State University of New York, Stony Brook)
Monday, May 10th
Panel I: “From Plantation Society to Independent Nation: A Panel on Haitian History”
Graham Nessler (University of Michigan), “Political and
Philosophical Debates over Emancipation and Citizenship in Santo Domingo under the French Republic, 1795-1800”
Julia Gaffield (Duke University), “Trade, War, and
Sovereignty: Diplomacy and Migration in Independent Haiti,
Prof. Robert Fatton Jr. (University of Virginia), “The legacy of History and the Politics of the Earthquake”
Chair: Marvin Chochotte (University of Michigan)
12:00-1:30pm Lunch
1:30-3:30pm “„Ann Rebati Kay La? [Let?s Rebuild the House]: Nation Building, Haitian Style” by Prof. Michael Largey (Michigan State University)
3:30-4:00pm Break
4:00-6:00pm Keynote Address by Prof. Georges Fouron
(SUNY, Stony Brook), “„We Need a Responsible State in Haiti?: Haitian Transmigrants and Civil
Society in Haiti in the Heels of the January 12, 2010 Earthquake”
Tuesday, May 11th
Panel II: “Transnational Communities, I: The
Political and Historical Contexts of Haitian
Prof. Karen Richman (University of Notre Dame), “Run From the Earthquake, Fall into the Abyss: A Léogane Paradox”
Prof. Carlos Altagracia (University of Puerto Rico,
Arecibo), “Frontera y nación en la República Dominicana durante la Era de Trujillo” (“Border and Nation in the ominican Republic During the Trujillo Era”)
Chair: Prof. Georges Fouron (SUNY, Stony Brook)
12:00-1:30pm Lunch
Panel III: “Transnational Communities, II: Haitian Political and Social Activism in Haiti and Abroad”
Colette Lespinasse, Director of the Support Group for Refugees and Repatriated Persons (GARR), Haiti
Carl Sherson Clermont from Pastorale
Universitaire, Port au Prince, Haiti
Marcia Báez Hernández from El Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitiana (MUDHA), Dom. Rep.
Dr. María Méndez Castro from Centro de Asesoría e Investigaciones Legales (CEDAIL), Dom. Rep.
Chair: Lenny A. Ureña (University of Michigan)
Photos by Graham Nessler
Co-Sponsors: LACS, CWPS, and History