About the Project
After generations of Haitian immigration to the United States, this oral history project aims to shine light on Haitian-American experiences of identity with particular attention to social categories including but not limited to race, gender and class (socioeconomic status). A goal of the project was to capture stories within a discourse of transnational identity and long distance-nationalism. Using primarily family holidays and traditions I listened to the experiences of a wide range of family members to get a better sense in order to both learn more about the construction of the Haitian Diaspora and contextualize my place within the said diaspora. In listening to these stories, I decided to interpret these experiences by framing them around conceptions of Family and Nation. Thus, the Title of the project Family and Nation: Transnational Identity Formation in the Haitian Diaspora. In order to understand the diverse ways these Haitian-Americans understand themselves, it is imperative to understand how interlocking forms of oppression can nuance the way we negotiate our identities. To that end, race and gender are addressed directly in interview questions but class (SES) is something that is presented less directly within interviews. As far as medium, I chose audio because the aurality of these interviews denies us visual cues that influence the way that we interpret a person’s story. For example, you can not engage with audio content that engages race and continue to think of race as merely about skin color. In terms of a larger human picture, each of the interview subjects is near to me personally and I wanted to do my best to present their stories with all the human splendor that the details of their lives can show us.
As a Senior, this project allowed me to use my final year at Kenyon to blend the personal and academic and ensure that my schooling facilitated my learning. Shoutout to all the family, professors, and librarians who made this possible.