The Center for Critical Democracy Studies

CCDS Hosts Alumni Talk on Francophonie Through Decoloniality

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On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, AUP’s Center for Critical Democracy Studies (CCDS), hosted alumna Dr. Clara Rachel Eybalin Casséus ’06 and G’09 for a discussion of her recent book, Une Caraïbe décoloniale: Ressusciter les ancêtres à travers la langue. (A decolonial Carribean: resurrecting the ancestors through language.) The event was cosponsored by the AUP Library and the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention. Attendees were welcomed in person in the Omid and Gisel Kordestani Rooftop Conference Center on the 8th floor of the Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons.

Dr. Eybalin Casséus fondly remembered her time at AUP, both as a student and a part-time library employee. Her work broadly builds on her PhD research, which she completed at the University of Poitiers. She began with a comparative study of Haitian and Jamaican diasporas, before going on to trace connections to geographical regions in France. Her more recent work is also informed by her time as a fellow of the Center for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Her book examines bilingualism and the tensions between French and Creole in Haiti, especially in the context of direct and indirect domination by the United States. In 1987, a constitutional article introduced Creole as a legitimate language, which was thought to be a progressive initiative. Dr. Eybalin Casséus sought to add further context, picking apart the persistent hierarchies, the ubiquity of English and even Spanish in the diaspora, and the relationship between language and collective memory. Following her talk, attendees raised questions about the applicability of her research beyond the Haitian context.