Haiti Lab

Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute has started an initiative to create “humanities laboratories” that convene groups of faculty and students to work on interdisciplinary humanities research and pedagogy in spaces specially designed for collaborative work and focused on using technology as a “tool for research, research dissemination, pedagogy, and collection/archive development. The first of these “labs” is the Haiti Lab, begun in academic year 2010-11.

The Haiti Lab began with the rapid response development of the Haitian Creole for the Haitian Recovery, a graduate student’s discovery in the archives of the only known Haitian government-issued copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence, and the “Haiti Then and Now” conference. Projects and courses for the 2010-2011 academic year focus on effective contributions to the Haitian recovery and Haitian studies through collaborations in law, art, technology, further development of the Creole language and culture course sequence at Duke, and a U.S./Haiti teleconferencing seminar on Haitian studies curriculum development.

An example of a course incubated by the Haiti Lab is “Representing Haiti,” which will be taught by Professors Deborah Jenson and Victoria Szabo in Spring 2011.

From the Course Description: Earthquakes, zombies, humanitarianism, cholera, carnival: How is Haiti represented in world media, literature, and art? Join us in reading the novels of two visiting Haitian writers, Edwidge Danticat and Lyonel Trouillot, at Duke in the Spring of 2011. Along with analysis of literary representations of Haiti, in this course, you will also explore Haiti in cyberspace. How can new media and internet technologies shape our perceptions of Haiti, past, present, and future? You will learn to unpack existing representations and build your own using google maps, virtual worlds, and web technologies.

The Haiti Lab is co-directed by Duke University professors Laurent Dubois (History and Romance Studies) and Deborah Jenson (French and Romance Studies).

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