SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Britain's 1802 Man of the Year was Haiti's Toussaint Louverture


Date: 21 October 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 21 October 2020Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Webinar

A Caribbean Storyteller - Britain's 1802 Man of the Year was Haiti's Toussaint Louverture

The Panelists:
  • Charlot Lucien
  • Professor Charles Fosdick
  • Dr. Gabriella Beckles-Raymond
  • Dr Joanne Davis, Moderator
Gabriella Beckles-Raymond

Dr. Gabriella Beckles-Raymond has twenty years of national and international experience in education. She is an interdisciplinary philosopher, writer, educator, and strategic consultant. Gabriella’s research and academic writing focuses on the philosophy of race and gender and is particularly concerned with questions of intersectional ethics, education, and moral psychology. As a burgeoning children’s book writer and member of the Black Writer’s Guild, Gabriella is passionate about ensuring young people see all of us reflected in the literature we read. She is co-convenor of the African Diaspora Post-Graduate seminar at Birkbeck University and co-founder of the Black Thought Collective. She was Program Lead for Canterbury Christ Church University’s award-winning Theology Degree Partnership Program.

Joanne Ruth Davis

Dr Joanne Ruth Davis is a Research Associate at the Centre of World Christianity, Department of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS. She has a PhD in English Literary Studies from UNISA, South Africa, for her ground-breaking research on the 19th century southern African intellectual and minister Reverend Tiyo Soga. Her thesis was published in 2018 and won the Hiddingh-Currie Award in 2019 for research and for answering a social problem. Zimbabwean born, South African raised, she currently lives in the middle of London with her husband and two children. She is an African feminist, a committed anti-racist and a proponent of global harmony. Jo publishes on Rev Soga and his children, who were all important figures in South African history, and on African and African-American women’s literature. She has published the odd poem and has written but not published her first novel, There Must Have Been A Storm. Jo’s current research focuses on anti-slavery and race solidarity in the 17th, 18th and 19th century. She is happiest in an archive, seeking out works and pictures said not to exist and bringing them to the public arena.

Charles Forsdick

Dr. Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. He has published widely on travel writing, colonial history, postcolonial literature, comics, penal culture and the afterlives of slavery. He is also a specialist on Haiti and the Haitian Revolution, and is co-author of Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions (Pluto, 2017) and co-editor of The Black Jacobins Reader (Duke University Press, 2016). A former co-director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, he co-edits the Glissant Translation Project for Liverpool University Press.

Charlot Lucien’s segment looks at the opportunities to use history to tell stories and use stories to tell his country’s history. Over the years, having to present about Haiti both as a storyteller and as an artist in various circles, he sometimes found skeptical audiences unable to grasp that some 215 years ago a group of isolated slaves, removed from their native mother lands in Africa and oppressed by the fiercest European slave-states, were able to muster the courage, wit, ferocity and audacity to defeat such states and proclaim and independent nation. During these times, emerge oversized, fantastic characters, such as Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Henri Christophe, Sanite Belair… who seem to be perceived today as the stuff of legend, more folk characters than real life revolutionaries. Charlot uses the art of storytelling and lean of well researched academic publications to revive and some of them or episodes of their complex trajectories. His presentation will encompass a mix of storytelling and folktales that will take us to mysterious Haiti, the use of PowerPoint slides featuring Haitian historical facts on Toussaint Louverture and panel discussion.

Charlot Lucien

Charlot Lucien is a Haitian storyteller, poet and visual art artist based in Massachusetts, USA. He has released 5 acclaimed storytelling CDs in Haitian Creole and French. As a poet, his work has been published in various magazines and newspapers; he is the author « La tentation de l’autre rive » released by Trilingual Press in Cambridge, MA. He frequently offers readings, storytelling sessions and conferences on Haitian culture in academic and cultural venues in various US States, Canada, Haiti, Guadeloupe and France. He is also the founder and director of the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts (HAAM).


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This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas, a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

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