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I am a Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History and at Duke University, Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies, and Co-Director of the Haiti Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute. I am specialist on the history and culture of the French Caribbean, particularly Haiti and Guadeloupe, as well as of the broader Afro-Atlantic World. I am also an aspiring expert in the emerging fields of Thuramology and Zidanology, and the creator and editor of the Soccer Politics Blog.

I have written several books about the history of the French Caribbean, particularly the revolutionary period of the late eighteenth century in Haiti and Guadeloupe, and more recently about contemporary France through the lens of football. I teach courses in Atlantic History, French Caribbean Literature and Culture, the French Empire, as well as a course “World Cup and World Politics.” I am currently working on several projects: a collaborative work with Richard Turits on the History of the Caribbean (under contract with University of North Carolina Press) and a history of the banjo (under contract with Harvard University Press), for which I received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Humanities Center Fellowship. During the 2010-11, I have a Mellon New Directions Fellowship in order to study Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

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Responses

  1. Dear Laurent,
    I enjoyed your presentation yesterday as part of Chicago Humanities Festival Thanks for your work on the banjo. There is so much that has yet to be told and I’m happy for you that you’ve received support to pursue the search even further. I knew Dena Epstein and valued her work greatly. I look forward to reading your book and just wanted to share a few links with you that might be useful in your presentation of these instruments to the public. If your going to be in Chicago again, I’d enjoy the chance to meet you for a cup of coffee and to hear how your work is proceeding.
    Thanks… Michael

    GOURD BANJO

    MOROCCAN HAJUJ

    SENEGAL TO SEEGER

    • Michael — apologies for taking so long to respond! It was a real pleasure seeing you in Chicago and reconnecting. Your work performing the history of the banjo is a true inspiration, and I enjoyed watching these videos! I’ll definitely be in touch next time I’m in Chicago so that we can discuss more!

      • Dear Laurent…. Thanks for your note. We’re both up early today. I look forward to talking with you again in the future….Michael

        On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 5:44 AM, Laurent Dubois

      • Yes we are! I actually just returned from a trip to Senegal where I heard some incredible music! I also have a few banjo-related conference projects I’d love to talk to you about: what is your email so that I can be in touch?

      • Laurent…..my email is michael@milesmusic.org. thanks…m

        On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 6:11 AM, Laurent Dubois wrote:

        > ** > duboisl commented: “Yes we are! I actually just returned from a trip to > Senegal where I heard some incredible music! I also have a few > banjo-related conference projects I’d love to talk to you about: what is > your email so that I can be in touch?” >

  2. Bonjour Professeur Dubois!

    The book is out. (English and French Versions) which are printed at my expense. It’s very interesting and compelling. So much to learn from this wonderful history of Haiti. I don’t have a publisher, would you be interested? I’m not bragging, Monsieur Dubois, both versions are unique, therefore worthy of international exposure.
    I’d like to send out both copies to you, so that you may give me your seal of approval.

    Have a wonderful and safe Summer!

    GLADYS VERNET

    Titles:

    LAISSONS PARLER L’HISTOIRE!

    LET HISTORY FINALLY SPEAK!

    • Hello Prof. Dubois,

      My name is Wednaud J. Ronelus. I just came from Haiti last month. I would love to share some thoughts and ideas with you via this portal. I am looking forward to hear from you. I’ve yet to read your work. I will pick a copy of one of your work and digest it to share my thoughts and ideas with you. By the way, I would love to read your work Ms. Gladys Vernet.

  3. Hello Prof. Dubois!
    I have just finished reading your book: Haiti ,The aftershocks of history. I really enjoyed the reading. You well eloborated the chain of the events, except that you failed to note the turmoil during the CNG, and its failed election that prevented the presidency of Leslie Manigat. Before Aristide election, Henry Namphy was removed from power by Prosper Avril, Later on, Robert Regala took over until Ertha succeded him as a civilian, provisional president to maintain the order for a fair election. Other than these skipped events , you did a great job. I will read again.

  4. Hello Professor Dubois,

    I’m an undergraduate student and I’m really interested in becoming a Haitian historian. Can you give me some insight on how to go about doing this?

    Thank You

    • Hello Mich: Sorry it has taken me so long to reply! The first step is obviously to take whatever your courses that include material on Haiti, as well as broader courses on Latin American and Caribbean history. You can then begin to think about applying to graduate school, ideally to pursue a PhD in history. There are several universities where you could pursue work on Haiti: at Duke I and several other colleagues work on the topic, but programs like the University of Michigan, NYU, and a number of others are also excellent in this area.

      I hope that helps!

  5. Bonjour Monsieur Dubois!

    Great news have developed from Haiti, since my last e-mail. My feelings are rather nostalgic.
    Thank You!

  6. Monsieur Dubois,
    It’s called: Laissons parler l’Histoire!
    With a subtitle: Les Recriminations d’une race.
    Would you like to publish it? I believe it’s the only book that covers both Toussaint and Bonaparte in depth and with a remarkable impartiality. It’s been eleven years since I embarked on this journey. Quite a challenge for a novice.

    Thank you!

  7. Monsieur Dubois,

    I’ve just heard your comments on Haiti. I do agree with you. Negative stereotype can slow down any progress in that beautiful country of mine. Many would rather have us forget our brilliant past, but how can we reach out for the future without the footprints of our past? The most intellectual people have no clue on Haiti’s past. I believe my upcoming book on Haiti’s first Son, Toussaint Louverture may open the eyes of many and help create the unity that is lacking among the Haitian people. I’m constantly praying for Haiti’s restoration. This book is my legacy to Haiti and an eye opener to the world. I’ve compiled every vital information that never landed into our classrooms, which would have changed the course or rather the paths those students had taken. Each nation cherishes its past. Why shouldn’t Haiti?
    Thank You!

    • Thank you for your comment: I’m pleased to hear about your new book on Louverture and look forward to reading it. What is the book called?

  8. Hello Dylan: Nice to hear from you. Those are big questions. I depended a great deal on other histories in writing Avengers, and mainly felt that what was lacking was a more synthetic narrative treatment of the Haitian Revolution. I wanted to write something that could be used in class and introduce a general audience to the history of the revolution. I suppose one of the things I wanted to accomplish was both to really foreground the political thought and action of the enslaved insurgents, as well as giving a complex picture of the racial identifications at play in the revolution.

    I hope that helps!

    • It sure does! Thanks again

  9. Greetings Professor Dubois,
    I am an undergraduate student in Ohio writing an extensive paper regarding your book Avengers of the New World. It would help my process greatly if I knew what questions drove your research for the book. What gaps (or flaws) did you see in previous histories of the Haitian Revolution that you wished to address? I can draw some of my own conclusions from the book itself, but it is rare to have any opportunity to receive feedback from an author directly. Thank you for your time

  10. Hello Professor Dubois,

    I am curious about your opinion regarding Haiti and the United States incentive to provide aid to help with the damages suffered during the recent Earthquakes. Given the United States History of occupation Haiti from 1915-1934, during which The United States eliminated any form of sovereignty by the Haitians and drowned Haiti in debt through financing of loans by both French and American banks, as well as the fact that the DOD (department of defense) provided over 450 million dollars to “relief efforts”, do you feel the United States had any political, economic, or military incentive to provide aid to Haiti or was the aid provided to Haiti during the earthquakes a pure altruistic act with the intention of providing relief to the Haitian people?

    • It’s a tough question: obviously there’s some of both. There’s no doubt that the U.S. has been a powerful force in Haitian politics throughout the 20th century, and that will certainly continue. At the same time, rather than seeing the earthquake aid as being driven solely by that, I think the best approach is to think about how that aid is embedded in an already existing set of networks and relationships that will certainly shape both what happens with that aid and how Haitians view it. I hope that helps a bit!

  11. Professor Dubois,

    I am doing research concerning the development of the southern Appalachian square dance during the nineteenth century. In particular I am interested in the African and Caribbean influences and parallels. I know that many of those who were brought to North America as slaves came from the West Indies. Would it be correct to say “many,” “most,” or “some”? I am aware of the Slave Voyages Database, but I do not see the numbers for those who came to North America via the West Indies vs. straight from Africa. Can you help me with this?
    Thank you,
    Phil Jamison
    Warren Wilson College
    Asheville, NC

    • This is a great question indeed! You can get some perspective on this by reading Edward Rugemer’s interesting book The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War, which explores the links between the West Indies and North America in the nineteenth century. There has also been some work on the inter-regional trade, though it is challenging as the sources are more scattered than those of other areas of the slave trade. I’d probably go for “many” among these terms, but not “most.” I hope that helps!

  12. [...] lab's co-directors are professors Deborah Jenson (Romance Studies; Duke Kreyòl course blog) and Laurent Dubois (History/Romance Studies; Global France course blog). They are joined by two core faculty [...]

  13. [...] lab's co-directors are professors Deborah Jenson (Romance Studies; Duke Kreyòl course blog) and Laurent Dubois (History/Romance Studies; Global France course blog). They are joined by two core faculty [...]

  14. Professor Dubois, I am having a debate with my professor at San Francisco State University concerning Vincent Oge’s attitude toward the black slaves. I read that although he was a free person of color, he owned slaves and viewed slaves as property and not as people. Based on your reseach, how do you feel Oge viewed the black slaves in Haiti? Thanks much.

  15. Hello Nana: Thanks for your post! The visit was very exciting for me — Thuram is one of my idols and I too am grateful for his activism and intellectual presence. You can read more details about his activities, as well as see a video of a presentation he did with me and Achille Mbembe during his visit here at our Soccer Politics website:

    http://blogs-dev.oit.duke.edu/wcwp/lilian-thuram-visit/

    Keep in touch!

    – Laurent Dubois

  16. Prof. Dubois,

    I am a grad student at Georgetown. I am writing because I just watched a video of you driving with Lilian Thuram [you were the translator]. I am an avid Chelsea and Ghana fan so I look forward to reading your book in 2010. Also, I am proud of Lilian Thuram as an activist. Importantly, I cannot forget his performance against Croatia in 1998.

    This is just to say kudos.

    Nana

  17. Thanks for your comment, Richard! The course was a wonderful experience for me. You can see the work the students produced at the Soccer Politics Blog (link above) — they created web pages on the history of soccer and politics in various contexts.

  18. Currently I’m a PhD student interested in cultural comparisons between North American and the Caribbean slave societies, but I’ve always wanted to explore the international dimensions of soccer, especially in the African Diaspora. I commend your effort to turn away from your primary research interests and do something of contemporary interest. I’ve never had the ability to keep up with international soccer. I can barely keep track of the English Premiership. I hope your World Cup and World Politics course is a smash. I’d love to attend!

  19. Not sure if you remember, but a couple years ago you pointed me in the right direction (to Cecile Accilien’s article in Just Below South) regarding language as a social signifier in Haiti. I have since completed a Masters of Theol. Studies at Duke Divinity and have an article based on my thesis which will be published in January. I wanted to say thanks for your help, which was invaluable.

    • It will be published in the journal “Liturgy” – which is available in the Duke Divinity School Library. I will also forward you a copy of the article. BTW – Do you know how to get intough with Cecile Accilien? I referenced her article quite a bit and would like to send a copy to her.

      Celeste


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