Thursday, February 15, 2018

New Academic Titles in Haitian Studies

We're always thrilled when we learn about new academic titles in Haitian Studies. We're pleased to announce the publication of the following texts, and allow us to congratulate the authors.

1. Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa (Black Diasporic Worlds: Origins and Evolutions from New World Slaving) (Lexington Books, 2018) edited by Celucien L. Joseph, Jean Eddy Saint Paul, and Glodel Mezilas


Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa is a special volume on Jean Price-Mars that reassesses the importance of his thought and legacy, and the implications of his ideas in the twenty-first century’s culture of political correctness, the continuing challenge of race and racism, and imperial hegemony in the modern world. Price-Mars’s thought is also significant for the renewed scholarly interests in Haiti and Haitian Studies in North America, and the meaning of contemporary Africa in the world today. This volume explores various dimensions in Price-Mars’ thought and his role as historian, anthropologist, cultural critic, public intellectual, religious scholar, pan-Africanist, and humanist.

The goal of this book is fourfold: it explores the contributions of Jean Price-Mars to Haitian history and culture, it studies Price-Mars’ engagement with Western history and the problem of the “racist narrative,” it interprets Price-Mars’ connections with Black Internationalism, Harlem Renaissance, and the Negritude Movement, and finally, the book underscores Price-Mars’ contributions to post colonialism, religious studies, Africana Studies, and Pan-Africanism.

Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa is an interesting and welcome exploration and analysis of the scholarly contributions of Jean-Price Mars. Price-Mars was a major figure in Haitian intellectual history who played a critical role in the development of ‘Negritude.’ The volume covers a void by making Price-Mars’s thinking on race, religion, and modernity accessible to the English-speaking world. The different authors also offer fascinating theoretical interpretations of Price-Mars’s work and how it can illuminate contemporary social and cultural realities. The book will be of great interest to students and scholars in Africana studies and intellectual history. (Robert Fatton, Jr., University of Virginia)

Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa is an important collection that reflects on the work and intellectual impact of Jean Price-Mars, a titan of Africana thought. Price-Mars’s research spoke to multiple academic disciplines, including, but not limited to, Africana Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Sociology, History, Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Literature. Joseph, Mezilas, and Saint Paul have assembled an impressive line-up of thought-provoking essays that render the accomplishments, ideas, and influences of Price-Mars’s work visible to new audiences across academic disciplines in the hopes of creating a better, more humane world for Haitians and other people of African descent. This book is a must-read; it honors one of the major contributors to Pan-Africanist thought, Negritude, and Black Atlantic Humanism who deserves to be recognized and engaged in the struggle for a more humane world that recognizes equality between the races and the fundamental humanity of Black people. (Bertin M. Louis, author of My Soul Is in Haiti: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas)




2.  Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism (The New Urban Atlantic) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) by Marlen Daut


 Focusing on the influential life and works of the Haitian political writer and statesman, Baron de Vastey (1781-1820), in this book Marlene L. Daut examines the legacy of Vastey’s extensive writings as a form of what she calls black Atlantic humanism, a discourse devoted to attacking the enlightenment foundations of colonialism. Daut argues that Vastey, the most important secretary of Haiti’s King Henry Christophe, was a pioneer in a tradition of deconstructing colonial racism and colonial slavery that is much more closely associated with twentieth-century writers like W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Aimé Césaire. By expertly forging exciting new historical and theoretical connections among Vastey and these later twentieth-century writers, as well as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century black Atlantic authors, such as Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Jacobs, Daut proves that any understanding of the genesis of Afro-diasporic thought must include Haiti’s Baron de Vastey.

"This book presents an extraordinary effort to introduce the wider reading public to the fascinating figure of Baron de Vastey.... Marlene Daut seems to have struck the precise balance between archival research, literary analysis, and historical detail that will easily persuade contemporary readers to rethink the importance of this Haitian political thinker.  This new book written, with great enthusiasm and mastery, will undoubtedly encourage the rehabilitation as well as the much needed diffusion of knowledge of Haiti's Baron de Vastey." -- Daniel Desormeaux, Professor of French Literature, University of Chicago, USA
 3. Thinking in Public: Faith, Secular Humanism, and Development in Jacques Roumain by Celucien L. Joseph (Pickwick Publications, 2017)


 Thinking in Public provides a probing and provocative meditation on the intellectual life and legacy of Jacques Roumain. As a work of intellectual history, the book investigates the intersections of religious ideas, secular humanism, and development within the framework of Roumain's public intellectualism and cultural criticism embodied in his prolific writings.

The book provides a reconceptualization of Roumain's intellectual itineraries against the backdrop of two public spheres: a national public sphere (Haiti) and a transnational public sphere (the global world). Second, it remaps and reframes Roumain's intellectual circuits and his critical engagements within a wide range of intellectual traditions, cultural and political movements, and philosophical and religious systems. Third, the book argues that Roumain's perspective on religion, social development, and his critiques of religion in general and of institutionalized Christianity in particular were substantially influenced by a Marxist philosophy of history and secular humanist approach to faith and human progress.

Finally, the book advances the idea that Roumain's concept of development is linked to the theories of democratic socialism, relational anthropology, distributive justice, and communitarianism. Ultimately, this work demonstrates that Roumain believed that only through effective human solidarity and collaboration can serious social transformation and real human emancipation take place.

"Celucien Joseph offers a definitive study of Jacques Roumain as an engaged 'native intellectual, ' whose novels, essays, and public intellectual interventions in the Haitian cultural sphere should be regarded of global importance. Joseph's thorough analysis of Roumain's Marxist, anti-clerical, anti-capitalistic, pro-peasant, spiritual, Kreyol, community-focused perspectives re-awakens for a contemporary audience the genius and insight of a sleeping giant in a world still yearning for vision, transformation, and healing in the wake of (neo)colonialism's violent imprint."
--Myriam J. A. Chancy, Hartley Burr Alexander Chair, Scripps College; Guggenheim Fellow

 “In overthrowing me, you have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of the black liberty in St. Domingue—it will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep.”

These are Toussaint Louverture’s last words before being taken to prison in France. Heroic leader of the only successful slave revolt in history, Louverture is one of the greatest anti-imperialist fighters who ever lived. Born into slavery on a Caribbean plantation, he was able to break from his bondage to lead an army of freed African slaves to victory against the professional armies of France, Spain, and Britain in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804.

In this lively narrative biography, Louverture’s fascinating life is explored through the prism of his radical politics. Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg champion the “black Robespierre,” whose revolutionary legacy has inspired people and movements in the two centuries since his death. For anyone interested in the roots of modern resistance movements and black political radicalism, Louverture’s extraordinary life provides the perfect groundwork.
6.  The Black Jacobins Reader (The C. L. R. James Archives) edited by Charles Forsdick and  Christian Høgsbjerg  (Duke University Press Books; Reprint edition , 2017)
Containing a wealth of new scholarship and rare primary documents, The Black Jacobins Reader provides a comprehensive analysis of C. L. R. James's classic history of the Haitian Revolution. In addition to considering the book's literary qualities and its role in James's emergence as a writer and thinker, the contributors discuss its production, context, and enduring importance in relation to debates about decolonization, globalization, postcolonialism, and the emergence of neocolonial modernity. The Reader also includes the reflections of activists and novelists on the book's influence and a transcript of James's 1970 interview with Studs Terkel.

Contributors. Mumia Abu-Jamal, David Austin, Madison Smartt Bell, Anthony Bogues, John H. Bracey Jr., Rachel Douglas, Laurent Dubois, Claudius K. Fergus, Carolyn E. Fick, Charles Forsdick, Dan Georgakas, Robert A. Hill, Christian Høgsbjerg, Selma James, Pierre Naville, Nick Nesbitt, Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Matthew Quest, David M. Rudder, Bill Schwarz, David Scott, Russell Maroon Shoatz, Matthew J. Smith, Studs Terkel

“Provides a wealth of information about the nature of American occupations in Haiti that can be useful to Latin American historians and political scientists interested in international relations between the United States and other countries in the region.”―Leslie G. Desmangles, author of The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti “Unpacks the cultural, political, and economic impact of U.S. occupation, and by extension, American imperialism in Haiti.”―Quito Swan, author of Black Power in Bermuda: The Struggle for Decolonization In 1915, United States Marines arrived in Haiti to safeguard lives and property from the political instability of the time. While there, the Marine Corps controlled everything from finance to education, from health care to public works and built an army, “La Garde d’Haiti,” to maintain the changes it implemented. Ultimately, the decisions made by the United States about and for Haiti have indelibly shaped the development of what is generally considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Contrary Destinies presents the story of the one hundred year relationship between the two countries. Leon Pamphile chronicles the internal, external, and natural forces that have shaped Haiti as it is today, striking a balance between the realities faced by the people on the island and the global and transnational contexts that affect their lives. He examines how American policies towards the Caribbean nation―during the Cold War and later as the United States became the sole world superpower―and the legacies of the occupation contributed to the gradual erosion of Haitian independence, culminating in a second occupation and the current United Nations peacekeeping mission.

8. Empire's Guestworkers: Haitian Migrants in Cuba during the Age of US Occupation (Afro-Latin America) by Matthew Casey (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

 Haitian seasonal migration to Cuba is central to narratives about race, national development, and US imperialism in the early twentieth-century Caribbean. Filling a major gap in the literature, this innovative study reconstructs Haitian guestworkers' lived experiences as they moved among the rural and urban areas of Haiti, and the sugar plantations, coffee farms, and cities of eastern Cuba. It offers an unprecedented glimpse into the daily workings of empire, labor, and political economy in Haiti and Cuba. Migrants' efforts to improve their living and working conditions and practice their religions shaped migration policies, economic realities, ideas of race, and Caribbean spirituality in Haiti and Cuba as each experienced US imperialism.

Advance praise: 'This exhaustively researched and incisively analyzed study spotlights the Haitians who migrated to Cuba during the first decades of the twentieth century. Revising received assumptions with each chapter, Matthew Casey reveals the heterogeneous identities and experiences of Haitians in Cuba, the extent to which they forged connections with local people and migrants from other parts of the Caribbean, and the role they played in shaping larger social, cultural, economic, and political processes. Empire's Guestworkers is a model of transnational historical scholarship from below.' Kate Ramsey, University of Miami, Coral Gables

Advance praise: 'This book is a deeply-researched and lucidly-reasoned study of migration, race, nation, and empire in what may be the first instance of the guestworker programs and massive deportations that would come to characterize contemporary global migrations. Casey explores the process from above - the triangular power relations between states and elites - and below - the migrant's transnational strategies of resistance and adaptation - in a manner that is creative, dialectical, and eye-opening.' José C. Moya, Columbia University

Advance praise: 'A major achievement, Matthew Casey's extraordinary study peels away the obfuscating layers of conventional history to present in glimmering details the daily trials and rewards of early twentieth century Haitian migrants in Cuba. The book is more than a migration narrative: it is a profound reminder that the intricate evolution of Caribbean nations in a world of empire cannot be fully understood without close study of their past connections.' Matthew J. Smith, University of the West Indies, Mona




Book Description

This innovative study reconstructs Haitian guestworkers' lived experiences as they moved among the rural and urban areas of Haiti and the sugar plantations, coffee farms, and cities of eastern Cuba. It offers an unprecedented glimpse into the daily workings of empire, labor, and political economy in Haiti and Cuba.

9.  Identity and Ideology in Haiti: The Children of Sans Souci, Dessalines/Toussaint, and Pétion

Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith: Haitian Religion in Miami. By Terry Rey and Alex Stepick,

Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith: Haitian Religion in Miami. By Terry Rey and Alex Stepick, with a Foreword by Archbishop Thomas Wenski. New York and London: New York University Press, 2013.
Reviewed by Ronald Charles, PhD

In this excellent study the authors aim to show how religion (Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, and Vodou) has played a crucial role in the survival and thriving of many Haitians in Miami. This book is the result of many years of ethnographic study, extensive participant observation, and archival study of Haitian religion in Miami. Through transnational lenses that link Haiti to diasporic realities and struggles, the authors make two central arguments: (1)  “that underlying and transcending religious difference in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora there can be identified a unifying Haitian religious collusio, and (2) that Haitian religion in the diaspora is largely explicable in terms of the generation of and quest for “salvation goods” in the form of luck (chans), magic (maji), protection, health, prosperity, and especially, worthiness” (page 5). The authors are convincing in how they deploy these core arguments. They show how religion is a central guiding force for Haitian Catholics, Protestants, and Vodouists living in Miami, and they demonstrate how these different religious expressions share some common elements, or collusio, in the religious practices of Haitians. 

The book starts with a very helpful introduction that situates Haitian religion in Miami. It also lays out the theoretical underpinning of such a project. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu is one of the main thinkers the authors think with as they endeavored to understand the vibrancy and complexities of Haitian religion in various Haitian communities throughout South Florida. The chapter is clear and presents a well-organized lay out of the subsequent chapters. There are few typos in the introduction: “Although Notre Dame continues to attracts more Haitians…” (page 2), “a bunch of superstition” translated as “yon pakèt siperstisyon” (page 8), “religion can said to provide” (page 17), instead of  “can be said…). Also, more precision was needed in the following sentence: “There seems to be, from the perspective of Haitian immigrants in Miami…” (page 13). Are they talking about many, most, or some Haitian immigrants? 

In the first chapter (“The Haitian Catholic Church in Miami: When the Saints go Sailing In”), the authors give an excellent historical narrative of the Haitian Catholic communities in Miami, focusing mainly on the role the Church of Notre Dame, the central rallying point for many Haitian Catholics in Miami, has played (since the 80s) and continues to play in Little Haiti in the social, economic and political struggles of many. The following sentence is particularly moving when the authors share the pains and the faith Haitians in Miami experienced after the 2010 earthquake that devastated several cities and killed thousands in Haiti: “The living room was once again swept with tears and prayers, this time more cascadingly than ever in Notre Dame’s thirty years. But the people who had crossed the water kept the faith, as they always have, through it all and despite it all” (page 38). The chapter is excellent in terms of history, but it misses one point, namely that of the portrayal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (page 46). A much more nuanced picture of the former priest was needed. 

Chapter two (“Immigrant Faith and Class Distinctions: Haitian Catholics beyond Little Haiti”) focuses on the question of social classes with regard to Catholics in the South Florida Haitian communities. The Haitians may share the same beliefs (belief in unseen supernatural force present to help them in various circumstances, source of healing, and force for luck and protection against enemies), and the Haitians may abide to the same religious convictions and ways of expressing their religious understandings (charismatic faith, fervent prayers, veneration of saints), but they do not live side by side and they do not identify to the divine in the same manner. The chapter is fascinating in its sociological analysis. It is one of the rare studies available on the religious lives of middle- and upper class Haitians and Haitian Americans. It is unfortunate the authors did not do any similar class distinction analysis for the Vodouists or the Protestants.

Chapter three (“Feting Haiti’s Patron Saint in Little Haiti (The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help”). This chapter presents a very close ethnographic observation on diasporic Haitians in Miami, as they celebrate Haiti’s Patron saint. The authors demonstrate that “Although the celebration at Notre Dame in Miami are in so many ways different from those in Bel-Air, the Haitian religious collusion in which and according to which it unfolds remains unifying across the water and across religious difference and religious change” (page 110).

The next chapter, chapter four (“Vodou in the Magic City: Serving the Spirits across the Sea”) pays attention to the role of Vodou in the lives of some Haitians living in Miami. This religion is represented visibly by a number of Botanicas, or religious good stores, spread across the Magic City. Vodou, according to the authors, has played an important part in the resurgence of Haitian pride in Miami. In this sense, Vodou “is a wellspring of salvation goods for immigrants on their assertion of worthiness to belong and to thrive in the Magic City” (page 150).

Chapter five (“Storefront and Transnational Protestantism in Little Haiti: Harvesting the Gospel in the Haitian Church of the Open Door”) is theoretically sophisticated and, in my opinion, the most successful chapter. The authors present a magnificent layout of the various Protestant churches in Little Haiti. Their findings are thought-provoking. For example, in their analysis, they conclude that Haitian Protestants constitute the most religious groups in the US, attending church more regularly than any other immigrant groups. The most fascinating part of the chapter is the tale of two churches. The authors illustrate the connectedness between Haiti and the diaspora by focusing on two churches, one in Miami and the other in Les Cayes, a costal city in the southern part of Haiti. What transpire is a moving discussion on place, connections, intrigues, and humanity. I find the history and the excellent description of the “Mission Évangélique du Christianisme,” a truly indigenous Haitian mission founded in 1934 by Salomon Severe Joseph, to be truly engrossing. The few infelicities are not distracting, but need to be mentioned. On page 168 one reads: “This is followed by a reading from the (sic) one of the Gospels.” The acute accent is needed in “Lapè Bondye ave nou” (page 168). There is no need for an acute accent here: “Jude Valéry, Sèvè’s great-grandson” (page 179).

The conclusion to this excellent study gives the reader a summary of the main arguments articulated throughout. There is a beautiful sense of respect for the humanity of the Haitians, which permeates throughout the book. This sensitivity to the struggles of Haitians in Miami and an admiration for their determination to affirm to a racist society that they are worthy human beings is shown in this sentence: “Through it all, they have proven that they are indeed not beasts but dignified human beings with a profound belief that they are the children of God, protégés of saints, servants of spirits” (page 193). The double entendre of the title of the book is beautifully spelled out in the following excerpt: “They have crossed the water and kept the faith, a faith that sustains not only their lives abroad but also the lives of many to whom they are connected in Haiti. Crossing the water has thus never meant leaving Haiti. Instead, it has meant becoming Haitian in a transnational way, a way that is vital to Haiti’s other nine departments on the other side of the water” (page 194).

After the conclusion, there are three appendixes that give precise information about the locales of the various places of Haitian churches (Catholic and Protestant), as well as Botanicas in Miami.
Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith is a fascinating study that I highly recommend. Historians, religious scholars, theologians, Haitians and non-Haitians will learn a lot from this fascinating study.

St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Publish with Haiti: Then and Now (HTN)

Note to New Writers & Contributors of Haiti: Then and Now (HTN)

"Haiti: Then and Now" accepts both solicited and unsolicited constructive and original pieces and essays from writers and thinkers, not exceeding 1500 words. We publish both fiction and non-fiction. When you submit an essay to us, it will be peer-reviewed by two individuals in our "official list of Contributors." We publish in Kreyol, French, English, and Spanish.

Do send us your best work! All new contributions to HTN should be sent to

In the Title line, write "Submission."

Thank you,
Celucien L. Joseph, Ph.D.
Editor of "Haiti:Then and Now"
Professor of English
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, Florida

Announcing "Haitian Thinkers in the Public Space: An Interview Series"

"Haitian Thinkers in the Public Space: An Interview Series"

Hello, Friends of Haiti and Readers of "Haiti: Then and Now (HTN)"

Haiti: Then and Now is pleased to announce a new interview series called "Haitian Thinkers in the Public Space." The goal of this series of conversation is to get to know Haitian and Haitian-descent thinkers, scholars, and professionals who have contributed to the discipline of Haitian studies and improved substantially to our understanding of the Haitian life and human condition in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. Equally, we are interested to know about their profession, scholarship, their perspective on Haiti, Haitian culture, Haitian politics, the current state of Haitian Studies, and life in the Haitian Diapora, etc. 

The interview will consist of six questions and no more than eight questions.

If you would like us (HTN) to interview a particular Haitian thinker, please leave the name of the person in the comment box or send us an email at

To learn more about "Haiti: Then and Now," please click on the link below…

 Dr. Bertin M. Louis, Jr., an Haitian-American anthropologist and Professor who teaches at the University of Tennessee, was the first one to be interviewed for this series. You can read about him by clicking on the link below:

About Haiti: Then and Now
"Haiti: Then and Now" (HTN) is an online venue and platform composing of writers, cultural critics, intellectuals, artists, poets, historians, philosophers, etc. The goal of "Haiti: Then and Now" is twofold (1) to engage and reflect critically  on the human condition--past and present-- in Haiti and the Haitian experience in the Haitian Diaspora, by providing insightful  analysis and commentaries, and (2) to link the voices and ideas of Haitian thinkers in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora."Haiti: Then and Now" promotes a politics of relationality, and an ethics of collaboration and reciprocity.

To learn more about "Haiti: Then and Now," please click on the link below…

Celucien L. Joseph, Ph.D.
Editor of "Haiti:Then and Now"
Assistant Professor of English
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, Florida

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The First Annual Symposium on Haitian History & Cultural Heritage: A Summary of the Event

The First Annual Symposium on Haitian History & Cultural Heritage:
A Summary of the Event

Theme: “Rethinking the Haitian Revolution and Haitian Intellectual History”

In the United States of America, the month of May is officially recognized as the Haitian Heritage Month.  In various parts of the Country, on this month, Haitians and people of Haitian descent work collaboratively to organize cultural and educational events to celebrate the rich history and culture of Haiti. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., The Mocombeian Foundation based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founded by Dr. Paul C. Mocombe, a Haitian American philosopher and theorist, organized the first annual symposium to rethink about the meaning of Haiti and its triumphant revolution, and to celebrate the achievements of the Haitian people and their ancestors in global history and universal civilization. The chosen theme for this year was “Rethinking the Haitian Revolution and Haitian Intellectual History.”  The paper presenters and cultural activities at the Symposium appropriated this subject matter.The oral presentations were delivered in Kreyol, English, and French; however, Kreyol was the dominant language of delivery.

The Symposium was held at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was divided in two segments: from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Art Exhibitions and Live Performances; and 3:00 to 5:00” Panel Presentations. The panelists included Drs. Paul C. Mocombe, who served as moderator, Celucien L. Joseph, Judite Blanc, Sam L. Joseph; Lawyers Simonis Christa (from Haiti) and Pascal Robert; and Mr. Jerry Michell (from Haiti), a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis and at the Université d’Etat d’Haïti. Eleven artists and scholars from Haiti were initially responded to participate in the Symposium. Three artists-painters from “Kolektif Basquiat” were present to showcase their work. Regrettably, due to personal inconveniences and logistical reasons, only five made it to the event.

Dr. Judite Blanc, a Haitian-trained psychologist, was instrumental in bringing Haitian thinkers, painters, and artists such as “Kolektif Basquiat” from Haiti to the Symposium in America. Dr. Celucien L. Joseph, a Haitian-American intellectual historian and religious scholar, was also helpful in forging the bond between Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora.

The objective of this interdisciplinary symposium was threefold: (1) to reflect critically about Haitian culture and History, (2) to provide constructive responses and intelligent commentaries about the Haitian experience and life, and (3) to link the voices and ideas of Haitian thinkers and scholars both in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. The symposium has drawn attendees from across the United States of America, Haiti, Canada, and other countries. It was broadcast (livestream) on Facebook and other social media venues, both in Haiti and the United States.  The program included panel presentations, Haitian sculpture, art exhibition, and other cultural events that showcased the richness of Haitian culture and the significance of Haitian history in modernity.

The collaboration of Haitian thinkers and artists, from Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora, was a success and memorable event.  The Mocombeian Foundation and Hope Outreach Productions would like to thank everyone who attended the Symposium. We are grateful to the manager and staff of the African American Research Library and Museum for hosting the First Symposium on Haitian History and Cultural Heritage.

Below, we provide detailed information about the presenters and associated abstracts, as well as the audio-video recordings of their presentations (videos to be added later).

About the Presenters and Abstracts

Paul C. Mocombe, PhD; CEO & President of The Mocombian Foundation & Assistant Professor of Sociology & Philosophy at West Virginia State University

Paul C. Mocombe, PhD; Former Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Sociology at Bethune Cookman University and Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Sociology at West Virginia State University and the President/CEO of The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.  A social theorist interested in the application of social theory to contemporary issues such as race, class, and capitalism (globalization), he is the author of, Jesus and the Streets; Race and Class Distinctions Within Black Communities; Language, Literacy, and Pedagogy in Postindustrial Societies; A labor Approach to the Development of the Self or Modern Personality: The Case of Public Education, Education in Globalization; Mocombe’s Reading Room Series; and The Mocombeian Strategy: The Reason for, and Answer to Black Failure in Capitalist Education.

E-mail: Email Address: or

Judite Blanc, PhD;  Professor at State University of Haiti (UEH) and Institut des Sciences, des
Technologies et des Etudes Avancees d’Haiti (ISTEAH)

“Is Haitian Epistemology an African Epistemology?”

This presentation seeks to address two theoretical concepts: Haitian Epistemology and African Epistemology in the reduced (cultural) milieu of Haiti and the Haitian experience. It also inquires about the possibility to define each concept (Haitian Epistemology or African Epistemology) in a specific territorial or national context—within the global history and trajectories of the African Diaspora.

What would the adjective “Haitian” or “African” stand for or mean in the context of both expressions? Does it pertain to Haiti’s national language or Haiti’s geographical landscape or territory?” Is it the way the Haitian people (or the Haitian scholar) think in terms of method or the manner in which they describe the nature of things. In order to discover the nature of Haitian Epistemology, and the relationship between Haitian Epistemology and African Epistemology, the first step in the process would it be to dig into Haiti’s history, which began before slavery and colonial period? This exploration of epistemology, from a cultural perspective, is an urgent matter in the fight for cognitive justice in the African diaspora.

Keyword: Cognitive Justice, Empiricism, Epistemology, Haiti, Holistic Approach, Science Practice.

Judite Blanc obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Paris 13 in France. Her research papers about the overall psychopathological consequences of the Haiti 2010 earthquake, specifically on the psychological development of young children exposed to the catastrophe were published in high-impact factor journals. Dr Blanc is currently serving as Mental Health Therapist in South Florida. Furthermore, she continues to serve as University professor at the State University of Haiti and other prestigious private universities in Port-au-Prince. Inspired by the epigenetic studies on prenatal exposure and traumatic transmission from mother to offspring, the main goal of her research is to advance knowledge with respect to the links between traumatic exposure in ancestors, such as slavery and psychosocial development of future generation. Her research program includes Haitian populations located in Haiti and in the United States, also the overall African Diaspora.

Judite BLANC a décroché  son diplôme de doctorat en Psychologie à l’Université de Paris 13. Ses  travaux publiés dans des revues internationales ciblent les conséquences psychopathologiques de l’évènement sismique du 12 janvier 2010 en Haïti, notamment le développement psychologique ultérieur des jeunes enfants exposes in utero à la catastrophe. Actuellement, Dre Blanc  intervient comme thérapeute dans le champ de la santé mentale dans le Sud de la Floride. Parallèlement, elle continue à enseigner la Psychologie et la Psychopathologie à l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti et  dans d’autres établissements universitaires privés à Port-au-Prince. Dans la lignée des études epigénétiques sur l’exposition prénatale et la transmission des traumatismes de la mère à l’enfant, l’objectif principal de son programme de recherche est de contribuer à faire avancer les connaissances sur les liens existants entre les (psycho) traumas vécus par des ancêtres, tels que l’esclavage et le développement psychosocial ultérieur de leurs descendants et descendantes. Son programme de recherche se donne pour populations cibles les haïtiens et  haïtiennes ainsi que toutes les communautés afrodescendantes des quatre coins du monde.

Pascal Robert, Lawyer; Co-Founder of The Haitian Bloggers' Caucus 

            “The Importance of Haiti for African Americans”

In his presentation, Mr. Robert highlights  the significance of Haiti's national history and the Haitian Revolution in the Black experience in America and African American struggle for freedom, democracy, and equality. He argues that Haiti provided inspiration for African American revolutionaries and freedom fighters and that the African American population is indebted to Haiti in their fight against white racism and violence in the United States.

Pascal Robert (pronounced Ro-Bear like Stephan Colbert) is:

A Blogger who loves all things politics. SHEER political independent; unafraid to slay the most sacred cows of ideological orthodoxy from the Left, or the Right and one who enjoys global affairs and aspects of pop culture. In all ways he is a child of the Haitian Revolution.

Pascal Robert has been known for years to the online world as
THOUGHT MERCHANT. Since 2007 he has been recognized for his hard hitting, blunt unvarnished style of bringing attention to current events and global affairs, especially those affecting communities of color.

One of his earliest Blog posts
"The Revenge of the "Good" Blacks" was published in The Black Commentator, one of the most sophisticated online sources for commentary on issues affecting the African American community at that time.

In 2008 THOUGHT MERCHANT was recognized for its coverage of the Democratic Primary by authors of the famous Black Political Blog,
"Jack and Jill Politics," for being the first to introduce Hillary Clinton's plans to use the Super Delegate system to disadvantage Barack Obama in the Democratic Primary to the Blogosphere.

After the election of President Obama, Pascal Robert continued to blog about the issues of political and social importance facing communities of color and greater society until the January 12, 2010 earthquake hit his beloved ancestral homeland of Haiti. Pascal was one of the first to break the story on the internet via
Facebook and Twitter.

The devastation from the earthquake so affected Pascal, he created a new Blog to exist in tandem with THOUGHT MERCHANT to concentrate on issues exclusively facing Haiti and the Haitian people subsequent to the earthquake: Dessalines' Children Blog:

Pascal Robert then transformed all his online activities to not just addressing politics and social issues as he did before, but becoming a full fledged online advocate and activist for Haiti.

Pascal Robert has appeared on online radio discussing Haitian history and the issues facing the Haitian people such as his
appearance on Urban Media Network's online radio program hosted by well-known online personality L. Martin Pratt.

Pascal's Blog piece,
"Can Haiti Get Beyond Politics as Usual?" was a featured blog on the website Haiti Rewired: An online Social Network for Haiti Activists.

Pascal Robert is also the co-founder and list administrator for the Haitian Bloggers' Caucus: A consortium of Bloggers from Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. Requests to join the Haitian Bloggers' Caucus List Server can be sent here:

Pascal's work, and the work of all members of the Haitian Bloggers' Caucus, can be viewed on this new Blog aggregator. It includes Blogs by people of Haitian descent living in Haiti and abroad. The aggregator was put together in an effort to amplify the often neglected perspectives of Haitians regarding their country:

Pascal's parents fled Haiti in the mid 1960's from the oppression of then President Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. He was born and raised in New York City. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Social Science from Hofstra University and a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law.

You can follow Pascal on twitter:

Sam L. Joseph, PhD; Financial Advisor at Keiser University 

“Factors Affecting The Retention of First-Year Immigrant College Students: A Case Study of Haitian Students”

 "The purpose of this study is to explore the risk factors for first-year College students related to dropping out.  The focus on Haitian students is important for this study for many reasons.  Haitians are the largest immigrant group in Broward County and the second largest immigrant group in Florida after Cubans. If these students continue to drop out of college, they will continue to face low academic achievement, limited mobility, and serious economic problems. 

The main topic guiding this study was the learning and personal barriers that Haitian immigrant students encounter during their first-year of college, specifically pertaining to the reasons that caused Haitian students to drop out of college.  The study seeks to identify, describe, and explore the risk factors for first-year Haitian immigrant students for the continuation of their studies at a private institution in Broward County.  Furthermore, this study should help identify the learning, personal, and institutional barriers that these students experienced, leading to their dropping out of school. 

By examining students' perceptions and experiences, the study will seek to gain knowledge of not only the internal risk factors, but also the assumed importance of the external barriers that prohibited them from completing their education.  Focusing research on Haitian students will help further explore the unique characteristics so that the research may describe the intricacies of their first-year of their college experiences. The details of this finding may help educators and policymakers develop programs, strategies, and interventions for the prevention and recovery of this particular group of students who are at risk of dropping out and, in the long run, for other immigrant students who may face similar situations."

Samuel Joseph is a native of Haiti, Cap Haitien, and has lived in Fort Lauderdale South Florida, since 1994. Sam is a family man with a devotion to God, his beautiful wife and three children.   He received his Master’s in Education and Business Administration at Kaplan University in Chicago, Illinois. His PhD in Instructional Leadership is from Keiser University. His dissertation focuses on the Factors Affecting the Retention of First-Year Immigrant College Students: A Case Study of Haitian Students. Apart from the above, Sam has kept a keen interest in politics, educational related issues and enjoys reading, watching sports, and most importantly spending time with his loved ones.

Jerry Michel, Doctorant en sociologie en cotutelle à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis
et à l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti; Enseignant-Chercheur  à l’université d’État d’Haïti et Directeur Technique du Bureau National d’Ethnologie

« Tours et détours des régimes d’historicité en Haïti : La place de la mémoire de l’esclavage en question »

« Ce travail répond à la volonté de favoriser une démarche sociologique sur la problématique du souvenir de la mémoire de l’esclavage dans la société postcoloniale haïtienne. En ce sens, il souhaite s’inscrire dans les études des traces du souvenir de l’esclavage et des récits mémoriels mis en scène dans les lieux signifiants du passé. Notre projet vise à analyser les formes de transmission orales et écrites du passé colonial en tant que rapport que la société haïtienne postcoloniale entretient avec le temps et l’espace. Priorisant la recherche ethnographique et visuelle, notre projet répond à un souci de mettre l’accent sur l’expérience sociale, l’historicité des lieux et la capacité de mise en scène de la mémoire collective par les acteurs ordinaires et institutionnels. Ce choix nous permet ainsi de nous inscrire résolument dans une approche du présentisme (Hartog, 2003) appréhendant la mémoire collective comme une expérience temporelle qui engrène passé, présent et futur. En effet, la mémoire collective, du point de vue de l’individu et de la société, explore le passé, prépare l’avenir et identifie le présent.

Dans cette perspective, le regard croisé entre sociologie et histoire s’avère utile pour appréhender les usages et enjeux des dynamiques mémorielles et des logiques patrimoniales mises en scène dans les habitations coloniales en Haïti. Il se révèle nécessaire pour une compréhension des régimes d’historicité (Hartog, 2003) en Haïti sachant, comme le soulignait François Hartog, que les habitations coloniales en Haïti, devenues ultérieurement des potentiels lieux de mémoire (Nora, 1997) sont des constructions mouvantes. Plus largement cette perspective socio-historique (Noiriel, 2006) permet de mieux saisir les héritages de l’esclavage dans l’Haïti postcolonial que ce soit en termes d’inégalités vécues, de luttes de places, de revendications politiques, de conflits de mémoires et de constructions identitaires. Aussi, loin de considérer l’esclavage comme un phénomène relégué dans un passé lointain, les réflexions de notre travail visent à analyser les enjeux des expressions mémorielles des schèmes de la colonialité en Haïti. D’ailleurs, les discours relatifs à l’histoire de l’esclave et à ses mémoires sont souvent instrumentalisés pour présenter un imaginaire héroïque ou pour conserver une posture victimaire de descendants d’esclaves. Dans l’enseignement de l’histoire les mémoires de l’esclavage sont identifiées comme étant des facteurs explicatifs de l’amnésie du passé colonial dans la société haïtienne postcoloniale. »

Mots clés : Habitations coloniales, esclavage, mémoire, historicité, Haïti

Jerry Michel est enseignant-chercheur à l’université d’État d’Haïti et Directeur Technique du Bureau National d’Ethnologie. Doctorant en sociologie en cotutelle à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis et à l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti, il est également chercheur au Centre de Recherche sur l’Habitat du Laboratoire Architecture Ville Urbanisme Environnement UMR 7218 CNRS et au Laboratoire LADIREP de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti. La thèse de doctorat qu’il réalise sous la direction de Claire Lévy-Vroelant (Professeure de sociologie à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, CRH-LAVUE UMR 7218) et de Laënnec Hurbon (Professeur de sociologie à l’Université d’État d’Haïti et l’Université Quisqueya et directeur de recherche au CNRS) porte sur la patrimonialisation et la construction de la mémoire dans les habitations coloniales haïtiennes. Il détient une licence en sociologie (Université d’État d’Haïti, 2009, mention très bien) et un master recherche en sociologie (Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, mention très bien, 2012).

Simonis Christa, Lawyer

« Droit et héritage culturel haïtien : entre protection, valorisation ou acculturation »

In her presentation, Simonis Christa underscores the relationship between the ethics of rights and Haitian cultural heritage. Fundamentally, she argues that it is imperative for the Haitian government to create institutions that will valorize and preserve Haitian culture and the traditions of the Haitian people. As people, cultures have legal rights and ought to be preserved. The legal aspect of culture is that it is connected to a people's sense of identity and values. 

 Simonis Christa originaire du Cap-Haitien, jeune et ancienne étudiante des Sciences Juridiques de la faculté de droit de Port-au-Prince et ancienne étudiante de la faculté d’ethnologie en Psychologie de l’Université d’Etat d’Haïti. Elle a également eue un parcours au petit conservatoire de Daniel Marcelin et est à présent vice-coordonnatrice à sitwomafrika et enseigne chez les filles de l’institution du sacré cœur dans le domaine des arts et de la psychologie. Elle a de nombreuses perspectives pour sa carrière, elle est optimiste et cherche des opportunités pour continuer avec ses études et notamment ses recherches.

Celucien L. Joseph, PhD; Professor of English at Indian River State College 

“Rethinking the Intellectual Foundation of the Haitian Revolution: A Letter for Freedom and Independence (July 1792)”

“In the field of Haitian Revolutionary Studies, the idea of general liberty and universal emancipation has been contested by a minority but powerful voices and historians. Particularly, some Haitianist historians have argued that the enslaved African population in the French colony of Saint-Domingue had not been preoccupied with an early notion of general emancipation and neither had the natural drive to rupture the schackles of slavery and put an end to the French colonial regime.

Many historians have unconvincinly contested that Libertè générale was a latter manifestation and progressive thought, as thr slaves themselves moved switfly toward freedom, independence, and decolonization. In this presentation, we argue that the resolution toward general liberty and independence were one singular commitment for the enslaved African population. These twin and inseparable ideas did not develop in the latter phase of the Haitian Revolution. We contend that general emancipation as total independence (and decolonization) was already an early goal that came to fruition in the unfolding events leading to a double event: The triumph of the Haitian Revolution and the founding of the Republic of Haiti.  However, it was conditioned by a range of contingent circumstances and watershed events in which Saint-Dominguan Slaves were obliged to fight for freedom, which translated into a matter of practical reality.

Toward this goal, we analyze the rhetorical force, devices, and demands of the historic letter of July 1792, penned by three early and prominent leaders of the Revolution: Jean-François Papillon, Georges Biassou, and Charles Belair/Toussaint Louverture.”

Dr. Celucien L. Joseph is a Haitian American Professor, writer, and religious scholar. Dr. Joseph is actively involved in the Haitian community in South Florida, especially in the Treasure Coast area. He is a member of the Haitian Advisory Council of the Treasure Coast, and an advisor to the Haitian Cultural Club at Indian River State College (IRSC). He is also the Curator of “Haiti: Then and Now.” Briefly, “Haiti: Then and Now" (HTN) is an online venue and platform composing of writers, cultural critics, intellectuals, artists, poets, historians, philosophers, etc. Dr. Joseph is a frequent guest speaker of “Legacy 1804,” an online radio show, hosted by Haitian American intellectual and cultural critic Alice Backer, that provides intelligent cultural, intellectual, and political commentaries on Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora.

Dr. Joseph is a prolific writer and has authored seven books including From Toussaint to Price-Mars: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Haitian Thought (2013), Haitian Modernity and Liberative Interruptions: Discourse on Race, Religion, Freedom (University Press of America, 2013), God Loves Haiti: A Short Overview of Hope for Today Outreach (Hope Outreach Productions, 2015), Radical Humanism and Generous Tolerance: Soyinka on Religion and Human Solidarity (Hamilton Books, 2016), Vodou in Haitian Memory: The Idea and Representation of Vodou in Haitian Imagination (Lexington Books, 2016), and Vodou in the Haitian Experience: A Black Atlantic Perspective (Lexington Books, 2016),  Thinking in Public: Faith, Secular Humanism, and Development in Jacques Roumain (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017). He is currently working on a volume on Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former President of Haiti and Catholic-Priest Liberation Theology entitled Aristide: A Theological and Political Introduction to His Life and Thought (forthcoming in 2018, Fortress Press).

Dr. Joseph also co-edited a two volume work on Haitian Vodou entitled Vodou in Haitian Memory: The Idea and Representation of Vodou in Haitian Imagination (Lexington Books, 2016), and Vodou in the Haitian Experience: A Black Atlantic Perspective (Lexington Books, 2016). He is currently the editor of a new volume on Jean Price-Mars, Between Two Worlds: Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa, to be published in 2018 by Lexington Books, and another volume on the award winning short fiction Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat (Approaches to Teaching the Work of Edwidge Danticat).

Dr. Joseph is currently in the editorial board and Chair of The Journal of Pan African Studies Regional Advisory Board; he also the curator of “Haiti: Then and Now.”  He edited JPAS special issue on Wole Soyinka entitled “Rethinking Wole Soyinka: 80 Years of Protracted Engagement” (2015). He reviews manuscripts for various journals and has presented papers at conferences, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Joseph is the Founder and President of Hope for Today Outreach (HTO), a Christian faith-based and non-profit organization located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, but provides educational and social services in Haiti. Hope for Today Outreach is unreservedly committed to the welfare and improvement of Haitian communities both in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. Through HTO, Dr. Joseph and his team work together and diligently to improve the human condition in Haiti and provide an alternative and promising future to Haitian youth and families. HTO seeks to empower Haitian families, the Haitian poor, underprivileged individuals, and the needy by meeting their material and spiritual needs.

* Please click on the link below to view photos of the event

First Annual Symposium on Haitian Heritage: Best Pictures for Last (Part II)!