Global Haiti Rutgers University

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Global Haiti

Rutgers University

Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies


[Semester TBA]

[Time and Location TBA]
Professor: Yarimar Bonilla

Office Hours: TBA

Office location: LHCS, Rm A264

Little Crippled Haiti (2006), by Édouard Duval Carrié


This class will examine the place of Haiti in worldwide historical processes and political and economic systems. We will discuss important events that have shaped the island’s history, the way outside forces have acted upon local populations, the migratory experience of Haitians, and how Haiti has been imagined by outside observers and commentators throughout history.

(Prerequisite: 595:100 Introduction to Caribbean Studies or 595:101 Introduction to Latino Studies)

By the end of the semester, students who satisfactorily complete the course should be able to:

  • Describe and explain major events, processes and debates that have shaped Haitian History and Politics.

  • Formulate and communicate complex ideas about Haitian experiences of slavery, slave resistance, political independence, economic development, and cultural expression by engaging with scholarly sources.

  • Provide an informed perspective on the history and politics of Haiti and its connection to global processes in both written and spoken form.


  • Attendance/Class Participation: 10% - Attendance is mandatory. Any absences must be excused through the reporting website Unexcused absences will impact your class participation grade. In addition, you are expected to communicate with the instructor in a timely manner about any difficulties regarding the class, the assignments, or your individual projects. It is your responsibility to communicate any problems or challenges you are facing.

  • Weekly Reflection Posts 10% - You are required to post 10 short reflections (2-3 paragraphs) to the weekly Discussion Forum. The point of this assignment is to explore your “response” or “reaction” to the reading. You should focus on the elements that struck you or confused you, pose questions for either clarification or discussion, and make connections to previous class discussions. You are not expected to have completely mastered the reading, but you are expected to have some thoughts or questions about it. You should also read your classmates’ comments and be prepared to engage with them. No posts are due the first week, so you have 10 posts due over the course of 13 weeks. You are encouraged to begin submitting reflections at the start of the semester so that you have some flexibility during the latter part of the semester when workloads tend to increase.

  • In-class Mid Term 25% - At the end of Unit 1 there will be an in-class midterm exam. The exam will consist of fact-based short answer questions and a long answer (2-3 paragraphs) question prompt.

  • Blog Post and Presentation 25% - At the end of Unit 3, students will conduct research using US or Foreign Press about contemporary issues related to political and economic development in Haiti. You will prepare a blog post analyzing a contemporary news article using the analytical frameworks discussed in class and offer a short in-class presentation about your news item. (Detailed guidelines will be provided in class)

  • Final Paper 25% - The final paper will consist of a “policy paper” regarding US foreign policy or NGO initiatives in Haiti. You will choose from the provided prompts and submit your paper on the due date along with an outline of your paper. (Paper should be 6 pgs double spaced). You will receive instructions in class on how to effectively generate outlines to help you conceptualize and organize your text.


  • Students are expected to abide by Rutgers University’s policy on academic integrity: Violations of the policy include: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, denying others access to information or material, and facilitating violations of academic integrity.

  • Students are expected to attend all classes; if you expect to miss one or two classes, please use the University absence reporting website to indicate the date and reason for your absence. Please Note: Students with more than three absences are subject to having their final grade lowered. Students will not receive credit for late assignments.

  • Laptops and mobile phones are not allowed in class. Students who are browsing the Internet or using their phones during class will be asked to leave.


(Additional readings will be posted on Sakai)

  • Sepinwall, Alyssa Goldstein. 2012. Haitian History: New Perspectives. New York: Routledge. ISBN-10: 0415808685 

  • Farmer, Paul. 1992. AIDS and accusation: Haiti and the geography of blame. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN-10: 0520248392

  • Schiller, Nina Glick, and Georges Eugene Fouron. 2001 Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long-Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home. Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN-10: 0822327910

  • Danticat, Edwidge. 2007. Brother, I'm Dying. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN-10: 1400034302

  • Laferrière, Dany, and David Homel. 2013. The Enigma of The Return. London: MacLehose. ISBN-10: 0857050486


Week 1. Introduction to the Course: Haiti in the world

  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, "The Odd and the Ordinary: Haiti, the Caribbean, and the World," Cimarrón: New Perspectives on the Caribbean 2, no. 3 (1990): 3-12.

Unit I. The Unthinkable Revolution and its Impact
Week 2. An Unthinkable History

  • Haitian History New Perspectives pgs 13-54 & 72-88

    • Introduction to Section 1 “From Saint-Domingue to Haiti”

    • Michel-Rolph Trouillot “An Unthinkable History: The Haitian Revolution as a Non-event”

    • David Geggus “Saint-Domingue on the Eve of the Haitian Revolution

Week 3. The Ideology of the Haitian Revolution

  • Haitian History New Perspectives pgs 55-71; 89-102

    • Carolyn Fick “Slave Resistance”

    • John Thornton “I am the Subject of the King of Congo”

Week 4. The Haitian Revolution beyond its borders

  • Haitian History New Perspectives pgs 103-156; 197-214

    • Introduction to Section II “Independent Haiti in a hostile world”

    • Ashli White “The Politics of “French Negroes” in the United States”

    • Ada Ferrer “Talk about Haiti” Haitian History New Perspectives chp 6

    • “The Black Republic” Leslie Alexander Haitian History New Perspectives, chp 9

Week 5: Midterm Review and In-class Midterm

Unit II. The Taking of Haiti
Week 6 & 7 The US Occupation

  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, "Haiti's Nightmare and the Lessons of History," NACLA Report on the Americas 26, no. 4 (1994): 46-53.

  • Renda, Mary A. 2001. Taking Haiti: military occupation and the culture of U.S. imperialism, 1915-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [selections]

Unit III. Geographies of Blame and Rescue
Week 8 & 9 Structural Violence and the Aids Crisis

  • Farmer, Paul. 1992. AIDS and accusation: Haiti and the geography of blame. Berkeley: University of California Press [selections]

Week 10 & 11 The Crisis of Humanitarianism

  • Smith, Jennie. 2001. When the hands are many: community organization and social change in rural Haiti. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

  • Polyné, Millery. 2013. The idea of Haiti: rethinking crisis and development. [selections on sakai]

Unit IV. Haitians in the World
Week 11 & 12 The Haitian Trans-nation

  • Schiller, Nina Glick, and Georges Eugene Fouron. 2001. Georges woke up laughing: long-distance nationalism and the search for home. Durham: Duke University Press.

Week 13. The immigration regime

  • Danticat, Edwidge. 2007. Brother, I'm dying. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Week 14. Impossible Homecomings

  • Laferrière, Dany, and David Homel. 2013. The enigma of the return. London: MacLehose

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