The Haiti Lab was founded in 2010 as the Franklin Humanities Institute’s inaugural Humanities Lab. The Lab’s term at the FHI concluded in 2013 but, through the support of Duke’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, it continues to offer public events and to serve as a focal point for scholars and students working in Haitian Studies.
The Haiti Lab merges research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the U.S. and Haiti. Located at the FHI’s headquarters at the Smith Warehouse, the Haiti Lab takes its inspiration from the collaborative and discovery-driven model of research laboratories. Undergraduate and graduate students work with specialists in Haitian culture, history, and language on projects featuring vertical integration of Duke University expertise across disciplines and schools. The Haiti Lab is also a resource for media outlets seeking to gain knowledge of Haiti.
On this page we have assembled a video, an interview, and a journal article that provide a deeper look into the Lab’s practice of interdisciplinary collaboration – into the organizational designs as well as intellectual environment that made its work possible.
In addition to the Lab’s courses and independent studies, research and other collaborative projects, and faculty/student directory, we invite you to browse through the following special features:
— A multimedia timeline of the Haiti Lab: notable moments in the Lab’s 3-year history at the Franklin Humanities Institute; all public events and (when available) event videos
— A list of scholarly publications by Lab faculty and students: in addition to peer-review publications, a few select digital projects and collaborations are also included
— A list of op-eds, interviews, and other media/public engagements by Lab faculty and students: in print and online
— A collection of press coverage about the Lab: because of its thematic focus and experimental form, the Haiti Lab generated a significant amount of interest both on campus and in the broader world of higher education; also includes blog features from the Franklin Humanities Institute website
Academic resources focused specifically on Haiti are scarce. There are no departments, centers, or institutes devoted solely to Haiti, Haitian Creole is not commonly taught, and departments and even entire universities may at best have a single specialist focused on Haiti. Meanwhile, the humanities are able to grapple most usefully with human experience when they draw on the full array of academic expertise that responds to human dilemmas, across disciplines and languages, focused on the present and past, drawing on qualitative and quantitative research. Thus by concentrating resources, we hoped to meld a broad array of research questions, methodologies, and social purposes in one alchemical dream: Duke’s Haiti Lab.
“Humanities in the Lab: Rethinking Haitian Studies,” Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson
“We Had the Idea, And We Did It” – Interview with Laurent Dubois
The Haiti Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute is supported by Humanities Writ Large, a major grant from the Mellon Foundation.