deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
CUNY Haitian Studies Institute and the Department of Africana Studies Brooklyn College, City University of New York


Call for Papers



20-22 May 2022

A Virtual Conference

 CUNY Haitian Studies Institute and the Department of Africana Studies

Brooklyn College, City University of New York


I. Conference Details

Haitians and African Americans have been interacting and influencing each other politically and culturally since at least the late 18th century. The long-standing connections between these two peoples--only sporadically acknowledged in the past--have recently attracted the attention of a small but growing number of scholars. Although the writings of these multidisciplinary researchers have contributed greatly to our understanding of the ideological, political, social, and cultural cross-fertilization resulting from African American and Haitian encounters, more scholarly exploration of the subject will undoubtedly result in greater awareness of the co-evolutionary relations between the two black collectivities with arguably the greatest historical presence in the Americas.

The current resurgence of a global black consciousness in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and the more recent political crisis in Haiti presents an opportune moment for scholars to explore further the implications of interactions and intersections among black collectivities in general, and to ponder more specifically how past historical and cultural encounters have contributed to the making of African Americans and of Haitians and how contemporary exchanges continue to shape both of them.

Seizing the opportunity of this sociopolitical moment, the CUNY Haitian Studies Institute and the Department of Africana Studies are convening an international conference to bring together humanities and social science scholars to explore the general patterns and specific instances of historical and cultural encounters between African Americans and Haitians over the last two centuries, and to discuss how those encounters have informed the political, cultural, and social development of these two diasporic peoples. 

The three-day event provides a platform for researchers to share their work on historical and cultural encounters between Haitians and African Americans in order to raise awareness among scholars and the general public of the existence, scope, and significance of those interactions.

II. Call for Papers

Conference organizers invite submissions of abstracts for fifteen (15)-minute papers that may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

A) Political Encounters

Impact of the Haitian Revolution on African Americans; Frederick Douglass and Anténor Firmin; Pan-Africanism (Benito Sylvain, W.E.B. Du Bois, first Pan-African Conference of 1900, first Pan-African Congress of 1919); African American activism against the U. S. occupation of Haiti (1915-1934); African American political engagement with Haiti during the Lavalas period; impact of the Haitian Revolution on African Americans; William Wells Brown and the rehabilitation of Dessalines; African American participation in Haitian nation building (e.g. Prince Saunders as architect of King Henri Christophe’s education policies); the Garvey movement (UNIA) and Haiti; African American and Haitian cooperation in grassroots activism in the United States; the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Haiti; etc.

B) Literary Encounters

The Harlem Renaissance and the Haitian Indigenist Movement; Zora Neale Hurston and Haiti; Langston Hughes and Haiti; James Weldon Johnson and Haiti; Alain Locke and Haiti; African American translation of Haitian literature (e.g. Langston Hughes’s English version of Jacques Roumain’s Gouverneurs de la Rosée [Masters of the Dew]); Haitian translation of African American literature (e.g. René Piquion’s work on African American poets); the Civil Rights Movement in Haitian poetry; Haiti in the African American literary imagination; African America in the Haitian literary imagination; etc.

C) Artistic Encounters

Harlem Renaissance visual artists and Haiti; Basquiat’s art (Vodou aesthetics meet African American urban aesthetics); choreographer Katherine Dunham and traditional Haitian dance; choreographer Lavinia Williams and traditional Haitian dance; Jazz and its connections to Saint-Domingue and Haiti; influence of African American jazz on Haitian dance, music and Haitian jazz; contemporary Haitian rap; etc.

D) Demographic Encounters

Haitian migration to Louisiana during the revolutionary period; Haitian migration to the United States (20th and 21st centuries); Haitians and African American relations in New York and other large U.S. cities; African American migrations to Haiti (19th century); African American and Haitian genealogies; Haitian presence in Savannah, Baltimore, and Philadelphia in the 19th century; etc. 

E) Religious Encounters     

Haitian Vodou, Louisiana Voodoo, and Gullah practices; influence of African American Protestantism (Episcopalianism, Anglicanism, Evangelicalism) on Haitian Protestantism (e.g. the preaching style of Haitian pastors, gospel music, prosperity gospel…); Catholicism in Haiti and African America; etc.

III. Abstract and Paper Submission

Abstracts of up to 300 words may be submitted in English, Kreyòl, or French.

Abstract Submission Deadline: 15 February 2022

Notification Deadline: 04 March 2022

Submit abstracts to:

Contact Information:

Please address all correspondence regarding the conference to:

Dr. Marie Lily Cerat  /  Chair, Relighting the Crossroads Conference Planning Committee

Interim Director, CUNY Haitian Studies Institute, Brooklyn College / Email:


Dr. Prudence Cumberbatch  /  Co-chair, Relighting the Crossroads Conference Planning Committee

Chair, Department of Africana Studies, Brooklyn College  /  Email: