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Danticat, Dash and Walcott for UWI, St. Augustine Haitian Conference

Several world-renowned scholars and artists will take part in the Haitian Bicentenary Conference, which will be held from June 15-18th, 2004 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus. Entitled Re- Interpreting the Haitian Revolution, the Conference’s speakers will include critically acclaimed novelist Edwidge Danticat, scholars Lloyd Best, Michael Dash and Dany Laferrière, UWI Vice Chancellor Rex Nettleford and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, among others.
The Conference will feature 90 papers on a broad range of issues related to the Haitian revolution, from Caribbean cultural repercussions of the revolution, to Gender differences in cultural representations of revolution; from revolution and cinema, to Education in post–revolution Haiti, links to popular belief systems.
Conference special events include a free public reading by Edwidge Danticat (who was born in Haiti and is the author of the novels A Farming of Bones, Krik? Krak! and Breath, Eyes, Memory) and Derek Walcott on Tuesday 16th June at the UWI Learning Resource Centre. Scenes from the play the Haitian Earth, directed by the 1992 Nobel Prize winner for literature, will also be performed at the UWI School of Continuing Studies Auditorium from Saturday19th- Sunday 20th June.

The Year 2004 marks the two–hundredth anniversary of the proclamation of Haitian Independence by the former slave Jean–Jacques Dessalines. These two hundred years have been marked by a long, tortured process of social, political, and economic decline in the ‘first black republic’ in the New World.

Culturally, however, Haiti has remained highly productive; artists and thinkers of great note continue to emerge from the island: from Jean–Price Mars to Jacques Roumain, René Depestre, and Anthony Phelps, to contemporary figures such as Dany Laferrière, and Edwidge Danticat, Haitian art has thrived both inside and outside Haiti. The UWI Faculty of Humanities and Education could not have picked a more appropriate time to stage a conference on the cultural influence of the Haitian Revolution than in 2004, a year which offers a unique opportunity to look back over the first two hundred years of independence, to engage with contemporary issues, and to look forward, to envision how the revolutionary legacy might manifest itself (or not) in the future. For more information or to register please call 662-2002 extensions 2032, 2035, 3024 or 3026 or visit the St. Augustine Campus website at www.sta.uwi.edu.tt

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