ACLA: Fictions of Haiti (New Orleans 1-4 April 2010; Abstract by 11/23/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Kimberly Manganelli & Angela Naimou, Clemson University

"Commemorations," observes Michel-Rolph Trouillot, "sanitize further the messy history lived by the actors. They contribute to the continuous myth-making process that gives history its more definite shapes: they help to create, modify, or sanction the public meanings attached to historical events deemed worthy of mass celebration." The 2004 bicentenary of Haitian Independence was, in this sense, a failure: it was interrupted in Haiti by the ouster (again) of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and was overtaken by an international political discourse that once again treated Haiti as an a-historical site of spectacular, incomprehensible violence. The bicentennial did, however, become the occasion for a more promising project, a renewed academic interest in Haiti's significance for competing models of cultural nationalism, cosmopolitanism, creolization, diaspora, and postcolonial and anti-imperial transnationalism. It is in this context that literary critics have explored the extraordinarily wide-ranging literary treatments of Haiti, from nineteenth-century narratives of Leonora Sansay and Martin Delany to contemporary narrative fiction by Dany Laferrière and Edwidge Danticat.

This seminar considers the representation of Haiti's history in literary texts from the nineteenth century to the present day. We invite submissions that explore one or more of the following:

* Haiti and the cultural geographies of black diaspora, cosmopolitanism, and nationalism
* Haiti and the U.S. South, the Caribbean, and/or Europe
* comparative national, racial, and sexual identifications
* performance and passing
* Haiti as colonial romance
* legacy and inheritance
* hauntings and returns
* Memorializations of Haitian Independence and the Louisiana Purchase
* Haiti and the reiteration of memories

American Comparative Literature Association
Please note that proposals must be submitted through the ACLA website to be considered: