Skip to main content Menu Menu

Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics

Login   |   Signup

Madison Smartt Bell's Haitian Trilogy: Historical Fiction Today

March 3rd, 2016
3:00 PM


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Join us at the Forum for Scholars & Publics for a roundtable discussion with Madison Smartt Bell about his trilogy of novels about the Haitian Revolution. In addition to Bell, panelists Barry Gaspar, Deborah Jenson, Adriane Lentz-Smith, and Laurent Dubois will discuss the trilogy and the broader question of historical fiction today. The event will be moderated by Joseph Porter.

All are welcome and no registration is required.

Header image courtesy of The Atlantic Slave Trade & Slavery in the Americas Website.

Madison Smartt Bell


2016 Reynolds  Price Visiting Fiction Writer Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels, including his Toussaint Louverture trilogy, All Soul's Rising, a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race, Master of the Crossroads, and The Stone That The Builder Refused, available in a uniform edition from Vintage Contemporaries.  Bell’s Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, appeared in 2007. Devil's Dream, a novel based on the career of Nathan Bedford Forrest, was published by Pantheon in 2009. His most recent novel is The Color of Night. Since 1984 he has taught at Goucher College, and he has been a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers since 2003.

Deborah Jenson

Director, Franklin Humanities Center, Duke University

I take the broad mandate of the humanist very seriously: my research is diverse. In the field of neuroscience and the humanities, my work includes an article on mirror neurons and literary bio-mimesis with neuropsychiatrist Marco Iacoboni, a course called "Flaubert's Brain: Neurohumanities," and several projects related to traumatic stress, cognition, and culture. In the arena of Global Health and the History of Medicine, we are working with Haiti Lab students on topics ranging from the history of cholera in Haiti and the Caribbean (see our article and digital map in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2011) to the history of anthropological psychiatry in Haiti, to post-disaster mental health. I am also researching slaves' African ethnic identities in 18th century Saint-Domingue through study of ads for runaway slaves.

Adriane Lentz-Smith

Duke University

Adriane Lentz-Smith is Associate Professor of History at Duke University. She researches African American history and the history of the US & the World. Her 2009 book, Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I, looks at the black freedom struggle in the World War I years, with a particular focus on manhood, citizenship claims, and the international experience. Her recent research explores how African Americans engaged the world in the age of Cold War civil rights, and how their participation in US state and empire set the horizons of their freedom struggles.

Laurent Dubois

Duke University

Laurent Dubois is Professor of Romance Studies and History and the founder and Faculty Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. From 2010 to 2013, he was the co-director of the Haiti Laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of six books, including Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004) and A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (2004), which won four book prizes including the Frederick Douglass Prize, and Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012). He has also written about the politics of soccer, with Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (2010) and is the founding editor of then Soccer Politics Blog. His most recent book is The Banjo: America's African Instrument (2016). He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship. He is also involved in several Digital Humanities projects, including the Soccer Politics blog and the Banjology website. His writings have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Slate. He tweets @Soccerpolitics.

Barry Gaspar

History Department, Duke University

Dr. Gaspar concentrates on comparative slave systems, with a special interest in the development of slave society and the evolution of slave life in the United States and the Caribbean. The Atlantic Slave Trade,
Atlantic history and culture, the legacy of slavery in post-slave societies, historical geography, colonial British America, and Caribbean and Afro-American history are also fields of major interest. He has published articles on slave resistance and social control. His study, Bondmen and Rebels: A Study of Master-Slave Relations in Antigua, was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and he co-edited More than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas, published by Indiana University Press. He is currently working on transitions in patterns of slave revolt in the Caribbean and North America.

Joe Ashby Porter

Department of English, Duke University

Joe Ashby Porter, Chair, Creative Writing Committee, Duke English, is the author of ten books of fiction.  His alter ego is Shakespearean Joseph A. Porter.