On March 28, I successfully defended my dissertation. My committee included my advisor, Laurent Dubois, along with Deborah Jenson, Jocelyn Olcott, Deborah Jenson, and Charlie Piot. The defense went extremely well–the committee was enthusiastic about my project and impressed by the extent of my research and analysis. At the same time, they had important suggestions about what directions to grow my project as I transform it into a book. The process felt like a manuscript workshop with a supportive group of interdisciplinary scholars. The best possible outcome!
This week, I traveled to Port-au-Prince to participate in a two-day digitization workshop led by Miguel Ascencio, the FIU-based director of the Digital Library of the Caribbean. The workshop was oriented towards Haitian librarians and archivists from several different institutions who are interested in starting or continuing digitization projects at their home institutions. Participants included people from ISPAN, the National Archives, Bibliotheque Communataire de La Chapelle, the Institut Francais, and BHFIC.
I was involved in the workshop as a representative from a team of historians (Anne Eller, Erin Zavitz, Lewis Clorméus and myself) that is partnering with the director of BHFIC, Marie France Guillaume, to implement a grant from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Program to digitize a fragile collection of 19th-century newspapers. During my visit, I worked with Guillaume and Acensio to set up equipment for a new digitization station and finalize a project plan. I had the pleasure of being present when digitization specialists Wandred Pierre and Ernst Georges photographed the first pages for the project. It is exciting to see the collaboration coming to fruition! It is the result of months of hard work from many people from Haiti, Great Britain, and across the United States.