By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Academics and authors, a performance artist and an alumna activist will explore the history, culture and effects of the earthquake on Haiti and its people in a series of events over the next two months at Bucknell University.
All events in the series, "Resist, Reclaim, Recreate: Stories of Survival and Transformation in Haiti," are free and open to the public.
Gina Athena Ulysse
Performance artist and Wesleyan professor Gina Athena Ulysse will present "Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, Me and The World" on Monday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in Bucknell Hall. Ulysse's monologue considers the ways the past occupies the present by weaving spoken word, Vodou chants and theory to reflect and deconstruct childhood memories, social (in)justice, spirituality, and the incessant dehumanization of Haitians.
"Ultimately, she offers critical musings on geopolitics from the perspective of a Haitian-American woman who is bent on loving Haiti, loving Vodou and herself despite the odds," said Coralynn Davis, associate professor of women's and gender studies and anthropology at Bucknell.
Ulysse also will give the talk, "When the Body is a Country's Archive: Some Women's Stories of Trauma, Stories of Will," on Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.
"Recounting conversations with women in Haiti and abroad since the Jan. 12 earthquake, I consider how the body — a depository or reservoir of discursive, physiological, psychological and social memories — functions as an archive of the nation and its diaspora to make an argument for the continuous significance of feminist methods especially reflectivity," she said.
Bucknell's Third World Film Series continues Thursday, March 10, with a viewing of "Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy." Directed by Renee Bergan and Mark Schuller, the 2009 documentary is narrated by Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat.
The documentary, which may be seen at 4 and 7 p.m. in Coleman 151, examines the compelling lives of five courageous Haitian women workers. Each woman's story explains neoliberal globalization and how it impacts Haiti: inhumane working/living conditions, violence, poverty, lack of education and poor health care. Through their collective activism, they demonstrate the power of collective action.
Eric Martin, a Bucknell assistant professor of management, will discuss his January trip to Haiti on Wednesday, March 23, at 11:30 a.m. in the Center Room of the Elaine Langone Center.
In his talk, "Haiti: A Year after the Quake," Martin will examine the international development assistance efforts to rebuild Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake. "Criticisms of these efforts have revolved around the lack of coordination among international players, limited integration with local government and civil society, and serious questions regarding NGO accountability and responsibility," he said.
Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat will speak Tuesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building as part of the ongoing Bucknell Forum series, "Creativity: Beyond the Box."
Danticat, who was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was 12, has been praised as one of America's finest young writers since her 1994 debut work, Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection.
She is the author of several books including: Krik? Krak!, a collection of 10 stories honored as a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner that relates the early days of persecution of Haitians by Dominicans; The Dew Breaker, the tale of a former torturer making a new life in Brooklyn; Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, the story of a boy who uses his imagination for comfort while trapped beneath his earthquake-collapsed house; and the autobiographical Brother, I'm Dying, which tells of making a new life in a new country while fearing for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorates.
Amber Gray will give the multimedia presentation, "Dancing in Our Blood: Creative Resistance and Recovery Work in Haiti," on Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m. in Hunt Hall Living Room.
A 1983 Bucknell graduate, Gray is the founder and director of Trauma Resources International. She has worked with survivors of human rights abuses and trauma in Haiti for more than 13 years, and has worked internationally and in the field of public health, healing and human services for almost 25 years.
Gray is working on a project to provide education and training to mental health workers and community leaders in Haiti. She works with local street children, communities, and nonprofit organizations to find creative paths to healing, including dance, drumming, rituals and song.
The presentation, which is the kick-off event for the annual Black Arts Festival sponsored by the Black Student Union at Bucknell, will include an auction of original artwork by Bucknell students and staff to benefit Gray's program in Haiti.
Alex Dupuy, professor of sociology at Wesleyan University, will give the talk, "Class, Power, and Sovereignty: Haiti Before and After the Earthquake," Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center.
An internationally recognized scholar and specialist on Haiti, Dupuy has given interviews and commentaries on Haitian affairs on local, national and international radio and television networks, including the "News Hour" with Jim Lehrer, Toronto Public TV, National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, the BBC, the CBC and the Australian Broadcasting Company.
He is the author of Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race, and Underdevelopment Since 1700, Haiti in the New World Order: The Limits of the Democratic Revolution, and The Prophet and Power: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the International Community, and Haiti.
In his talk, Dupuy will examine the notion that Haiti lost sovereignty with the creation of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission following the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, arguing that Haiti was not sovereign before the earthquake because of the partnership of foreign powers and international financial institutions involved in Haiti. Dupuy's lecture is supported by a generous donation from the Dombeck family.
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