|This year marks the 200th anniversary of Haitian independence, which laid the foundations both for the abolition of slavery on the island and the creation of the first Black republic. This key event has been deliberately ignored in the past, and this Panel aims to try and restore it to the historical centrality it deserves, focussing especially on the issue of the Haitian revolution's influence on political and philosophical thought during the German Enlightenment.
Sibylle Fischer, Associate Professor of French- and Spanish-Language Literatures, German Studies, Afro-American and Women Studies at New York University. Sibylle Fischers work is situated at the intersection of literature, history, political philosophy and aesthetics. One of her thematic focuses is the significance of Haitian history and the Haitian Revolution for transnational cultural studies. In 2004, she made an important contribution to the critique of the Western modernity discourse with her work Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. In addition to publishing numerous articles on Caribbean, Brazilian and Spanish-language literature from the colonial era to the present century, she has written on the history of slavery, the stories related to it, and slave resistance. Additional topics: literature and dictatorship, and literature and orality.
Gina Ulysse, PhD, anthropologist and poet, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Afro-American Studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Gina Ulysse was born in Pétionville, Haiti. She emigrated to the US East Coast as a youth and has lived there ever since. Her research focuses on political and economic issues, the representation of gender and the nature of race and class within the context of the Black Diaspora. She has published her theoretical reflections in a number of articles.
Her dissertation Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importing and Self-Fashioning in Jamaica - a Reflexive Political Economy Study of the Work and Subjective Practices of Import/Exporters in Kingston will be published shortly.
In her very expressive poems Gina Ulysse endeavours not only to extend the framework of cultural anthropology, but also to break through its boundaries. In this sense, she uses spoken poetry as an "alterednative" form of ethnography.
Social injustice, complex identities, anger at the far-reaching consequences of colonial atrocities and racism - now and in the past - are themes of this "changed origins" and these "original changes". Her most important poems are: "A Poem about Why I Can't Wait: Going Home Again and Again and Again: Why I Prefer the Term Incarcerated When Talking about Agency" in The Butterfly's Way: Voices From the Haitian Diaspora in the United States, edited by Edwige Danticat (2003), "I Came of Age Colonized Now my Soul is Tired and I Am Feeling All this Rage" in Jouvert: Journal of Postcolonial Studies; "Homage to Those Who Hollered Before Me" in Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism; "Water Spirits and Revolutionary Barbies" and "Ode to the Metres: On Going Home and Learning How to Glide" in Ma Comere, Journal of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars.