Approaching Haiti’s history and culture from a multidisciplinary perspective
“A timely effort to overcome stereotypes and decolonize knowledge. . . . This unparalleled contribution inserts seldom-heard Haitian voices and a much-needed postcolonial perspective into scholarly and personal narratives of Haiti. . . . Essential.”—Choice
“Critical, informative, and forward-looking. An important and compelling volume that adds to the scholarship on Haiti while also providing valuable tools to responsibly engage Haiti in the classroom through sound pedagogical interventions.”—Claudine Michel, coeditor of Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality
This volume is the first to focus on teaching about Haiti’s complex history and culture from a multidisciplinary perspective. Making broad connections between Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean, contributors provide pedagogical guidance on how to approach the country from different lenses in course curricula. They offer practical suggestions, theories on a wide variety of texts, examples of syllabi, and classroom experiences.
Teaching Haiti dispels stereotypes associating Haiti with disaster, poverty, and negative ideas of Vodou, going beyond the simplistic neocolonial, imperialist, and racist descriptions often found in literary and historical accounts. Instructors in diverse subject areas discuss ways of reshaping old narratives through women’s and gender studies, poetry, theater, art, religion, language, politics, history, and popular culture, and they advocate for including Haiti in American and Latin American studies courses.
Portraying Haiti not as “the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere” but as a nation with a multifaceted culture that plays an important part on the world’s stage, this volume offers valuable lessons about Haiti’s past and present related to immigration, migration, locality, and globality. The essays remind us that these themes are increasingly relevant in an era in which teachers are often called to address neoliberalist views and practices and isolationist politics.
Cécile Accilien, professor of African and African diaspora studies in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Kennesaw State University, is the author of Bay Lodyans: Haitian Popular Film Culture. Valérie K. Orlando, professor of French and Francophone literatures at the University of Maryland, College Park, is the author of The Algerian New Novel: The Poetics of a Modern Nation, 1950–1979, and New African Cinema.
Contributors: Cécile Accilien | Jessica Adams | Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken | Anne M. François | Régine Michelle Jean-Charles | Elizabeth Langley | Valérie K. Orlando | Agnès Peysson-Zeiss | John D. Ribó | Joubert Satyre | Darren Staloff | Bonnie Thomas | Don E. Walicek | Sophie Watt
Publication of the paperback edition made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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