The Center for Black Studies Research has distinguished itself as the major Haitian studies center west of the Mississippi. The Center has published the Journal of Haitian Studies, the official publication of the Haitian Studies Association, since 1995. In 1997, thirteen scholars met at UCSB for a colloquium on Haitian Vodou, “The Spirit and The Reality: Vodou and Haiti.” At the end of the conference, these scholars decided to institutionalize their efforts through a new association under the name “The Congress of Santa Barbara—KOSANBA.”
The Center's commitment to Haiti includes ongoing support for Haiti Soleil and its program at the Bibliothéque du Soleil, a neighborhood library and community center in Carrefour Feuilles, Port au Prince.
Carrefour-Feuilles Redevelopment Project:
In June 2015, three UCSB faculty members, five UCSB undergraduate students, three UCSB graduate students, and two videographers embarked on a field research trip to Haiti as part of the Carrefour-Feuilles Neighborhood Redevelopment Project (CNRP), spearheaded by Nadège T. Clitandre, CBSR Haitian Studies Coordinator and assistant professor in the department of global studies. A grant from the Orfalea Center Cluster Initiative awarded to Professor Clitandre in 2013 provided initial funding to investigate the short-term and long-term development prospects in the earthquake-devastated Haitian community of Carrefour-Feuilles, located in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
The project brought UCSB scholars and students together with Haitian faculty and students, community leaders and residents, grassroots organizations, and international nongovernmental organizations working in Carrefour-Feuilles to evaluate community needs and UCSB’s contribution to community development. The trip also offered an opportunity for faculty and students to explore social, cultural, and economic nuances relative to questions of global development, and to assess the gap between local grassroots community initiatives and international development efforts. The project builds on the CBSR’s ongoing relationship with Bibliothèque du Soleil, a community library located in Carrefour-Feuilles, and a partnership between the CBSR and the UCSB department of global studies.
The undergraduate students—Ashley Baker, Mariah Boyd, Andrew Neiman, Sean Tanabe, and Unique Vance—all enrolled in one of Clitandre’s Haitian studies courses and completed a research paper prior to the trip. The graduate students—Nikita Carney, Jamella Gow, and Nathalie Pierre—are all doing Haitian studies research, as are faculty Claudine Michel, Nadège T. Clitandre, and Philip McCarty. All participants met as a collective over two years to organize this research project and fieldwork trip. The trip further succeeded at elevating the international dimensions of civic engagement and solidifying the transformative aspects of research. A coauthored article based on the trip was published in the Spring 2015 issue of the Journal of Haitian Studies.
The Center is a partner in the production of Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy, a new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Renée Bergan and Mark Schuller of Tèt Ansam productions.
KOSANBA (the Congress of Santa Barbara)
A scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou
A guide to the Lwa of Haitian Vodou, illustrated with paintings by Hërsza Barjon and text by Kyrah M. Daniels.
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Urban Studies Projects
Kalfou, a Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies is a new journal associated with the Center's urban studies projects.
Other aspects of the project include environmental justice issues. Dr. Robert Bullard, one the of founders of the environmental justice movement, delivered the Center's 2009 Shirley Kennedy Memorial Lecture.
The Center has also provided support for student groups aiding relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Race & Technology Projects
Founded by former director Anna Everett in 2003, the Race & Technology Initiative provides a forum for researchers and professionals to discuss perceptions and realities beyond the digital divide.The two AfroGEEKS conferences and the anthology, AfroGEEKS: Beyond the Digital Divide (Anna Everett and Amber Wallace, eds.), are results of this initiative.