CFP: "Haiti in Translation: Shifting Climates of Exchange"

Siobhan Mei's picture


Haitian Studies Association, 31st Annual Conference

Gainesville, Florida   October 17-19, 2019


Roundtable Proposal, Call for Participants


“Haiti in Translation: Shifting Climates of Exchange”


From Latin roots meaning “to carry across,” translation is a practice that produces powerful geographies of exchange that can work to subvert or reaffirm the nation state as a primary site of knowledge production. In a time in which environmental degradation and resource scarcity due to climate change are active contributors to human displacement and migration, nations such as the United States and France are embracing xenophobic immigration policies designed to dictate who in the world has the right to free movement. In this global context in which national borders are violently mobilized, on both symbolic and material levels, translation— as a form of exchange across and between communities—seems to be increasingly urgent.


As Julius Scott’s book, The Common Wind (Verso Books, 2018) shows, Haiti’s revolutionary history is intrinsically tied to the politics and practice of communication across national, geographic, cultural, and linguistic differences. Scott’s text reveals how, in its history and intellectual and artistic traditions, Haiti is uniquely positioned for the exchange of critical, longue durée perspectives on translation as a process of radical unification in the Americas and beyond. Building on this revolutionary history of transnational and transcultural communication, this roundtable explores the various climates of exchange that characterize translation practice within and outside Haiti today.


Some of the questions this roundtable asks include:

  • What theories of translation emerge in Haiti’s intellectual and artistic traditions and how do they speak to a larger political moment in the Americas, one defined by ideological polarization and transnational corporate greed?  
  • What histories of Haiti are illuminated through a perspective that values translation as a creative practice?
  • How does translation mediate relationships among the various linguistic communities of Haiti, both within and across its national borders?
  • What role does translation play in the way Haiti is represented, as a country and diasporic community, in the global theatre?



This roundtable invites participants from a variety of disciplinary and professional backgrounds, particularly those who are involved in translation projects/processes (such as professional translators and/or interpreters, publishers, editors) and those involved with or interested in the circulation and reception of Haitian cultural production in local, hemispheric, or global contexts.


If you are interested in participating, please send a brief abstract outlining your background and interest to Siobhan Meï by April 20th, 2019 :