Jason Herbeck in the Department of World Languages recently presented at the 25th annual Haitian Studies Association conference held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In his paper titled “La littérature de la reconstruction: au défi de la construction du consensus chez Yanick Lahens et Kettly Mars,” Herbeck examined how Haitian literature written since the 2010 earthquake addresses the ever-present issue of reconstruction. In particular, he focused on two works featuring architect protagonists, and the struggles these characters confront not only in terms of (re)building Haiti but with respect to the difficult task of building the consensus necessary (between, for instance, local communities, political constituents, NGOs and foreign governments) in order for construction in the country to succeed.
Herbeck was in Haiti for an international film and literature conference when the 2010 earthquake hit. He was staying at a hotel in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince near the quake’s epicenter.
The Haitian Studies Association conference brings together Haitian scholars from a broad range of disciplines. As a result, in addition to presenting, Herbeck was able to attend talks by Haitian writers Évelyne Trouillot and Yanick Lahens, documentary and feature filmmaker Raoul Peck, and anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer, who is perhaps best known for co-founding Partners in Health as described in Tracy Kidder’s book “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” That book was Boise State’s Campus Read selection in 2006.