Haiti Working Group

Attention will be focused on individuals who were forced to leave Haiti, either because they were victims of state violence or because they believed their lives and those of their family members to be threatened by the regime. the goal is to understand how this violence was conceived, and how it was executed by agents of the regime. In addition to its political dimensions, the Haiti Working Group seek to understand how state violence operated in the day-to-day lives of individuals, and in their relationships with family, friends and neighbors. Through interviews with forty individuals, recruited mainly through community organizations, we will examine personal trajectories of migration and insertion into Canadian society and how the experience and memories of violence have affected personal identity, sense of cultural belonging and social position and mobility in the adopted country.

This Working Group is also interested to know how these stories of violence are told and by whom? How can these stories be communicated to a general public? How can we transmit them to Montreal audiences and others through exhibits, theatrical performances, class courses, on-line educational activities and film and radio documentaries?

Our Project

The Haiti Working Group research centers around  life story interviews and the ways in which the knowledge from this research can be disseminated through both academic means and explorations in multimedia projects.

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Life Story Interviewing
The life stories of Haitian refugees living in Montreal will be recorded through interviews with a representative cross-section of people who emigrated to Montreal during the Duvalier years (1957-1994).

Collective Storytelling
The results of this research will be shared with scholars, the general public, community organizations and project partners through multimedia art exhibits as well as a film festival focused on the Duvalierist régime, a round table or workshop with participants presenting their testimonies and a colloquium organized in partnership with community organizations.

Academic Publications
Research results will be published in journal articles, reports and conference papers as well as presented through an academic workshop on political violence and Haitian immigration to Montreal. A colloquium on life story interviewing with participation from both academics and Haitian community members is also planned.