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Love, Anger, Madness: History, Memory and Silence in Haiti

On the stage of modern world history, Haiti plays the unique role as both the exceptionally victorious and tragic character. This course interrogates historical texts and prose created within the nation and her diaspora in order to establish a nuanced image of the production and projection of Haiti’s history. Using two classic Haitian texts, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Love, Anger, Madness (1968) and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995), this course examines how, why, and to what end Haiti’s history and popular narratives about the country have served to construct and dismantle global movements, popular culture, and meanings of race, gender, and citizenship in the Americas.

In our historical examination, we will question some of the iconic representations of Haiti through literature that deepen the affective historical profile of Haiti with interrogations of culture, sexuality, political, and media performance. Students will become familiar with the colonial and post-colonial history of Haiti and the region, meanings of race, and the production of history. The course will be conducted in a seminar format.


Grace L. Sanders Johnson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Grace L. Sanders Johnson is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies. She received her Ph.D. in History & Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan where she specialized in Modern Caribbean and Latin American History, Transnational Feminisms, Oral History, and African Diasporic Studies. Grace has been awarded fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Andrew C. Mellon and Ford Foundations, the Canadian Embassy, and was recently awarded an Emerging Scholar Fellowship from the Haitian Studies Association for her dissertation La Voix des Femmes: Women’s Rights, National Politics, & Black Activism in Port-au-Prince and Montréal, 1934-1986. In addition to her study of twentieth century gender, sexuality, migration, and Haitian women's social and political organizing, Grace is currently collaborating with colleagues in Haiti and throughout the diaspora to establish a Haitian women’s oral history archive. She is currently completing her first book manuscript about transnational feminist organizing, race, and women’s intellectual thought in twentieth century Haiti.