Conferencing with My Students in Haiti

With the support of the UF Library’s Digital Initiatives Endowment, the UF Center of Undergraduate Research, and our GoFundMe supporters, five students from my Haitian Culture and Society course (spring 2018) accompanied me to the Haitian Studies Association conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in November 2018. They presented their digital scholarship projects from the course. We truly had an amazing conference experience, and I am still in awe that my students were able to attend. With my students’ permission, I am sharing photos and a video of our time in Haiti.

Group Photo:

From Left to Right: Soren Fuerst, Stephanie Beauvais, Crystal Felima, Nheissa Isidor, Natasha Joseph, and Gabby Khawly

We stayed at the lovely Plaza Hotel, which provided excellent hospitality, comfortable and affordable accommodations, and delicious breakfasts during our stay. The hotel is conveniently located near the University of Quikesya, the primary site of the conference activities. At the conference, students attended various sessions and connected with a variety of presenters. Some of my students even geeked out when they met the Haitian scholars we read in class and cited in their digital projects.

That Saturday morning, my students and I had our presentations. Moderated by Jerry Philogene of Dickinson College, my panel “Rasanblaj and Resistance: Reclaiming Haitian Studies” including the following participants:

  • Rasanblaj Theory of Vodou’s Sacred Arts, Kyrah Malika Daniels (Boston College)
  • Religious Resistance in Women’s Literary Voices, Christina Desert (Harvard Divinity School)
  • Teaching Haitian Studies: Exploring a Rasanblaj of Pedagogies in the Classroom, Crystal Felima (University of Florida) 

A photo with my brilliant colleagues at the HSA banquet:


From Left to Right: Kyrah Malika Daniels (Boston College), Christina Desert (Harvard Divinity School), and Crystal Felima (University of Florida)

After my panel presentation, I moderated my students panel, “Digital Scholarship on Haitian Studies, A Showcase Presented by Students from the University of Florida.”

Before their presentation:


Video of my students presenting: 

Photo at the HSA Banquet:


This experience is the highlight of my CLIR postdoctoral fellowship! With my supportive supervisor Laurie Taylor and library dean Judy Russell, I explored my interests in digital pedagogy, and I learned more about myself as a scholar-educator and mentor. 

I am currently writing an article about the course and my pedagogical strategies. My article is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2019. My students and I will submit a panel proposal to share more about our experience at the inaugural statewide conference of the Florida Digital Humanities Consortium (FLDH), hosted at the University of North Florida (UNF) in Jacksonville, Florida on March 29-30, 2019! This spring, I will teach Intro to African American Studies that I’ve structured as a digital humanities course. I am excited to see how students will respond to DH as they learn more about the African American experience. 

To end, funding this conference trip to Haiti was made possible by many!!! Much appreciation and thanks to:

Pat Reakes, Laurie Taylor, and the UF Libraries

UF Center of Undergraduate Research

GoFund Me Supporters

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