I am Professor of Romance Studies and History and the founder and Faculty Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. From 2010 to 2013, I was the co-director of the Haiti Laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute. I am the author of seven single-authored books, including Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004) and A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (2004), which won four book prizes including the Frederick Douglass Prize, and Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012). I also write about the politics of soccer, with Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (2010), The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer (2018), and as the founding editor of the Soccer Politics Blog. My research for The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (2016) was supported by I received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Fellowship, and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship. As part of this research, I collaborated on two digital projects: Banjology and Musical Passage. My most recent book, co-authored with Richard Turits, is Freedom Roots: Histories from the Caribbean (2019). My writings have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker website, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and he Los Angeles Times. Follow me on twitter @Soccerpolitics.



  1. Dear Laurent Please let me know your best history books on Haiti noting your Haiti: The Aftershocks of History and Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents and Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, and The Haitians: A Decolonial History, Casimir, Haitian History: New Perspectives, Sepinwall. I heard great discussion on recent Haitian events on Radio National Australia. Cheers John

  2. Greetings Laurent, As the education director of Common Fence Music I am interested in offering a presentation on the history of the banjo in the Newport Rhode Island area. Do you travel, and if so is there an agent that represents you? A presentation like this would be grant funded as it would be most favorable to offer a one evening program for free. Perhaps Brown University would have their own interest related to their Old Time String Band community class. I do have contacts there but am not directly affiliated. I don’t know if you have appeared there before, but I’ll assume you have contacts there. Though retired now, I was involved with the string band when Jeff Todd Titon was there. I wasn’t sure how otherwise to contact you. I look forward to a response via email. Regards, Tom Perrotti, Common Fence Music education director

  3. Vous avez déjà écrit en français (origine cajun?). Je suis sur le comité de rédaction d’une revue engagée montréalaise intitulée Possibles. Nous planifions un numéro sur le rôle de la musique comme instrument de résistance à la déshumanisation. Auriez-vous quelques pages illustrant le rôle du banjo dans cette perspective? (Les contributions prévues jusqu’à maintenant ne traitent pas suffisamment des musiques populaires de groupes opprimés ou marginalisés). Entre parenthèse, je suis neveu par alliance du violonneux Louis Pitou Boiudreault).

  4. Dear Laurent,
    Anxiously awaiting your book on the banjo. Evan has had a banjo for 30 years and only started to take lessons 3 years ago. He loves it. If you get down to Beaufort SC, call us. Don’t know if you remember us, we are Abby’s parents.
    Rosemary Reese

  5. 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




    • 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?” >

  6. 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!





    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. Bonjour Monsieur Dubois!

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. […] 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 […]

  17. […] 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 […]

  18. 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.

  19. 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:


    Keep in touch!

    — Laurent Dubois

  20. 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.


  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.


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