As a Caribbean historian with expertise in Haiti, I use geography, material culture, and urban planning to analyze the twentieth-century history of cities in the Global South. I will receive my Ph.D. in History from Duke University in May 2018.
My dissertation, “The City and the State: Construction and the Politics of Dictatorship in Haiti (1957-1986),” charts a new political history of urbanization and state-building in the Caribbean. By intertwining these themes, my research demonstrates that the Port-au-Prince’s built environment operated as an interface between material and political forms that transformed the dynamics of both. I investigate the social underpinnings of the city’s legal existence, the origins of highly segregated residential neighborhoods, and the politics of its transportation infrastructure, and the relationship between urbanization and Duvalierist kleptocracy.
I’ve also used oral history to document the lived experience of urban transformation, recording more than 100 interviews about the lived experience of the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. One of the most intimate collections of documentation on the disaster and its aftermath, the Haiti Memory Project has been cited in numerous accounts of the earthquake and has been used widely as a pedagogical resource in classrooms. I have written about the Haiti Memory Project in the Oral History Review and in a book chapter in the recently published volume Remembrance: Loss, Hope, Recovery after the Earthquake in Haiti