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Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, me and THE WORLD--A monologue by Gina Ulysse that weaves spokenword with Vodou chants

Friday, December 3, 2010
12:00 AM
Lecture Room 1, Modern Languages Building, 812 East Washington Street

How did Haiti--the enfant terrible of the Americas become the bete noire of the region? This dramatic monologue considers the ways the past occupies the present. Ulysse weaves spoken word with Vodou chants to reflect on childhood memories, social (in)justice, spirituality, and the incessant dehumanization of Haitians. Ultimately, she offers critical musings on geopolitics from the perspective of a Haitian-American woman who is bent on loving Haiti, loving Vodou and herself, despite the odds.

Gina Athena Ulysseis an Associate Professor of Anthropology, African-American Studies, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.  

She was born in Petion-Ville, Haiti. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology the University of Michigan in 1999. She is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, A Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica (Chicago 2008). She has published several articles, essays and creative non-fiction on research methods, feminism and Haitian diasporic tensions and Vodou in referred journals and anthologies including Anthropology and Humanism, Feminist Studies, Journal of Haitian Studies, Meridians, PoemMemoirStory among others. A poet/performance/multi-media artist, Ulysse is dedicated to performing spokenword, which she considers an alter(ed)native form of ethnography that is essential to get to the visceral too often absent in structural analyses.  Ulysse has performed her one-woman show “Because When God is too Busy; Haiti, me and THE WORLD”—a monologue that weaves spokenword with Vodou chants---at various colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad , including Bluestockings, The Bowery, Brecht Forum, Brooklyn Museum, LaMaMa, Lyric Stage Theatre in Boston, and Center Stage in Santa Barbara, among other places.

Since the January 12th earthquake Ulysse has provided  commentary and written pieces for alternative media such as    NPR, PRI, Here on Earth, Huffington Post and  Ms Magazine blog among other venues. She is also the co-founder of the Haiti Illumination Project (HIP).  In the   academic year, 2010-2011, Ulysse is one of three inaugural  fellows in the think tank of Wesleyan University’s new  College of the Environment. Her project for the year is a  montage ethnography currently titled “C’est Mon Devoir (It  is my Duty): Stories of Civic Engagement, Urban  Degradation and the Earthquake in Haiti”. She is also  developing a new performance piece “Fascinating! Her  Resilience” en tandem with this ethnography.

Learn more about Gina Athena Ulysse.