The HR-ification of BLM entails saying the right things while giving very little concrete, material support to the people who need it. Imagine if the focus was less on “Hire more Black admin” and more on “Abolish tuition. In fact pay students to attend school.” How many Black lives would be transformed by this kind of program?

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FA20: Haitian Revolution


Haitian Revolution


CLR James, The Black Jacobins

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World

Gerald Horne, Confronting Blak Jacobins


Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn!

Lydia Bailey (1947?)

Edward Halperin, White Zombie

doc. Egalitè for All

doc. Aristide and the Endless Revolution

Visual Arts

Kimathi Donkor, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804

Jacob Lawrence, The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

Black Dawn (film)


Aime Cesaire, The Tragedy of King Christophe

Orson Welles, Voodoo Macbeth

Eugene O’Neill, Emperor Jones

CLR James, Toussaint L’Ouverture: A Play in Three Acts


Alejo Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World

Madison Smart Bell, All Soul’s Rising (Haitian Trilogy)

Leonora Sansay, Secret History, or The Horrors of Santo Domingo

Nalo Hopkins, Midnight Robber

Arna Bontemps, Black Thunder

Syl Cheney-Coker, Sacred River: A Novel


Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History

Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood

Alfred Métraux, Voodoo in Haiti




In this noir melodrama a brilliant cellist (Paul Henried) scarred by the war, arrives in New York and reunites with his former flame, an aspiring pianist played by Bette Davis, who betrays him with a narcissistic composer then sacrifices everything.

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  • What’s your approach to fostering student-student interaction? How will you invite students to bring themselves into the course and to see each other as real human beings (e.g. portraying yourself as real, enabling risk-free expression, encouraging collaboration)?

Now we’d like to prompt you to take that one step further.

  • How will you connect that social presence with cognitive presence to create an online community of inquiry and learning (e.g exchanging ideas, sharing personal meaning, focusing discussions, connecting ideas)? In other words, how will you integrate student-student interaction with the core content of your course (for example, a Criminal Justice icebreaker that asks students what movies they watched that got them into that major)?


My basic stance regarding online education owes something to Michel Houellebecq’s dystopian novel The Possibility of an Island, which tells the story of a ruined futureworld sparsely populated by human clones who live barren lives of social isolation.

From this perspective, fostering online community feels like gallows humor. Attempting to  humanize the sterile corridors of cyberspace resembles an effort to soften the lighting of a surgical theater with a piece of peach-colored gauze.

Why not then, as famed corporate technocrat Sheryl Sandberg might say, lean in to the fundamentally alienating affect of Youtube State University? Why not tell students to embrace their isolation and turn inward, directing any frustrated sociality or libidinal energy into careful reading and quiet reflection? In an age when higher education has decayed into vocational training, why not encourage students’ solitary engagement with the Humanities? It could be that they will discover that the discipline’s most redeeming characteristic lies precisely with its purported uselessness: its compensatory function.

That said, I intend to have my students mail me postcards stating their current progress at several points during the semester. It’s my hope that requiring they send a tangible object inscribed with their handwritten words through physical space will suggest that beyond the suffocating weightlessness of Online there is world where their thoughts and feelings are real.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

— Dylan Thomas (1934)