“But the Past Is Passed”: Haiti, Historical Memory, and New Narratives

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Public Humanities

  • Image Credit/Caption: Haïti. Au marché devant la cathédrale à Port-au-Prince, en 1888 / [photogr.] Salles.

What is the stuff of history? Who writes it, who is allowed to speak in it - and in what language? And where is the place of stories, memories, metaphors, conflicts, translations, and mistranslations in historiography? How can asking these questions help us understand not only the historical process but the ways in which historical narrative shapes the present? Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow Mary Grace Albanese will speak on a nascent oral history project that aims to gather, publish, and translate Haitian and Haitian-American narratives. The talk will focus particularly on the role of oral history in a Kreyol-French-English linguistic context and, more broadly, on the challenge of translation to the historian.