Articles Published in Scholarly Journals and Reviews

In Francosphères 7.1 – « Comment écrire en évitant d’exotiser le malheur ? » : l’apocalypse et le retour au quotidien dans Je suis vivant de Kettly Mars (“How to write without making pain exotic?”: The Apocalypse and the Return to the Everyday in Je suis vivant by Kettly Mars

In the aftermath of hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes, the media always turns towards the apocalyptic, a discourse that seeks to represent the extent of the damages left by a disaster to the point where it completely loses sight of human intimacy. Since January 12, 2010, Haitian authors, artists, academics, and social actors have fought against this notion of apocalypse because it renders Haiti and its people incomprehensible, except via tropes of Haitian exceptionalism and resilience. These tropes, which emerge in multiple contexts throughout Haitian history, enable the media in justifying Haitian suffering when faced with catastrophic events and help to transform an entire people, like Michel-Rolph Trouillot argues, into something grotesque. In order to deconstruct this apocalyptic discourse in “post-quake” Haitian literature, this article examines Je suis vivant, a novel by Kettly Mars, which employs seismic and apocalyptic terminology to explain the return of the adult children to the Bernier family home rather than to elaborate the damage left after the 2010 earthquake. By using eschatological terms and metaphors to depict this familial situation, Mars does not revoke her characters’ humanity, which is ultimately the source for the newfound quotidian harmony in the Bernier household.

Keywords: Kettly Mars, Haitian Literature, Haitian Earthquake, Haitian Exceptionalism, Gender & Sexuality

 In The Journal of Haitian Studies 23.1 Beyond the Morality Tale of Humanitarianism: Epistolary Narration and Montage in Raoul Peck’s Assistance mortelle

From the introduction:

“…narratives, clips, and sound bites are the initial source material that Raoul Peck deploys in his 2012 documentary Assistance mortelle to debunk humanitarian claims to a moral high ground in the aftermath of the earthquake, repurposing them as evidence of neoliberal incompetence and exploitation. The film situates the viewer in the context of the post-earthquake relief effort by making use of interviews, infographics, and footage from inside the meetings of various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as well as email correspondence from on-the-ground perspectives. Peck combines these elements in two separate cinematic forms, montage and epistolary narration, through which he reframes the relief effort in Haiti. This article explores how Peck manipulates these two formal aspects in order to critique the neoliberal nature of NGOs during the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Montages of committee meetings, interviews, and B-roll footage allow Peck to reconstruct his own anticolonial narrative of the earthquake recovery while the epistolary narration provides viewers with an affective experience of the months following January 12, 2010; the film both instructs viewers and attends to the subjective, affective reactions to the event that sparked a problematically well-intentioned humanitarian frenzy.”

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