Research and Publications

Current work

My manuscript builds upon my dissertation research on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Haiti. I trace how Haitians have remembered and narrated the country’s foundational event, the Haitian Revolution. On 1 January 1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines formally declared the new country of Haiti independent and established a tradition for commemorating the revolution. For over two hundred years Haitian leaders have followed Dessalines’s example and staged a scripted version of the nation’s past that responded to the needs of the present. At the same time, ordinary Haitians have sought to construct their own narratives. I argue that for Haitians, regardless of class, commemorating the revolution was a means of defining themselves, defending Haiti’s existence, and celebrating the achievements of African descendants. However, competing memories emerged from these commemorations that challenged the fashioning of a unified Haitian national identity.

The remaining walls of Vincent Ogé’s mother’s coffee plantation in Dondon, Haiti


“Visions of Haiti’s Past: Commemorations and Representations of the Haitian Revolution,” manuscript project

Book Chapters & Articles

“Revolutionary Narrations: Early Haitian Historiography and the Challenge of Writing Counter-History.” Atlantic Studies (forthcoming fall 2017)

“Revolutionary Commemorations: Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Haitian Independence Day, 1804-1904.” In The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy, edited by Julia Gaffield, 219-238. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016.

“Encountering Creole genesis in the Haitian Press: Massillon Coicou’s fin-de-siècle feuilleton ‘La Noire.’” In La Española—Isla de Encuentros, edited by Jessica Barzen, Hanna L. Geiger, and Silke Jansen, 87-98. Tübingen, Germany: Narr Francke Attempto, 2015.

Digital Humanities

Digital Library of the Caribbean

“Boyer and the Outside World,” Haiti: Une île lumineuse, Digitial Library of the Caribbean, 2014,

Laurent Dubois and Erin Zavitz, “Thomas Madiou, Histoire d’Haïti: Excerpts that relate to history of Vodou,” Vodou Archive, UF-Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Digital Library of the Caribbean: 2013,

Benjamin Hebblethwaite, Erin Zavitz, and Megan Raitano, “Benjamin Hebblethwaite interviews Ati Max Beauvoir,” Vodou Archive, UF-Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Digital Library of the Caribbean: 2013,

Jacques Coret, Laurent Dubois, Erin Zavitz, and Benjamin Hebblethwaite, “Selections from The Guiding Angel of Devoted Souls,” Vodou Archive, UF-Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Digital Library of the Caribbean: 2013,

“Literary Representations of the Haitian Revolution: A Teaching Resource for Pierre Faubert’s Ogé ou le Préjugé de Couleur and Émeric Bergeaud’s Stella.” Digital Library of the Caribbean: 2012.

Blog Posts

“Revolutions in the Classroom: Digital Humanities and the U.S. History Survey,” Age of Revolutions 13 June 2016,

“The 2015-16 Haitian Elections: Politicizing Dessalines and the Memory of the Haitian Revolution,” 15 February 2016, Age of Revolutions: A HistorioBLOG

“Haiti’s Revolutionary Calendar,” H-Haiti, 6 May 2016,

“100 Years Later,” 15 February 2013, Haiti and the Atlantic World