Fall 2014

Understanding Haiti: Memory, Violence, and Resilience

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-129

Moodle site: Course


Lucia M. Suarez (Section 01)


Through close textual readings of select texts from the literary oeuvre of Haitian-American author, Edwidge Danticat, this class aims to introduce students to the rich history of Haiti’s people, the deep violence that has afflicted the nation, the trauma that its diaspora carries, and the channels for healing made available to Haitian and Haitian-American communities through literature, theater, and traditions such as oral story-telling and religion.  In particular we will examine: What is the function of literature? Can literature perform healing for its writers and the communities therein represented? Can it function as a tool of memory and human rights action? How does diaspora literature affect life on the island? How do recent catastrophic events get addressed in new writings on the subject?  Supplemented by historical and theoretical essays, we will attempt to understand the Haitian condition in its complexity and astonishing beauty.

The course has three primary objectives. First, students will examine literary genres, memoir, historical fiction, creative fiction, short stories, and oral storytelling. Second, the students will have short writing assignments in which they come to understand better the form and function of different writing styles. Finally, students will learn interpretive reading, learning to read at face value (including emotional response) and also to read for meaning (fact-finding, synthesis evaluation, multiple interpretations).

Fall semester.  Professor Suárez.

If Overenrolled: Dean handles this.

Cost: $50 ?


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014