Wenner-Gren IDG Project in Haiti Enters Year-Two
In December 2013, the Wenner-Gren foundation awarded an Institutional Development Grant (IDG) to the Université d’Etat d’Haïti (UEH) to partner with scholars at Teachers College (Columbia University), the University of Kansas (KU), and others around the world to develop an anthropological doctoral program in Haiti. This doctoral program will endeavor to provide students with world-class credentials in anthropology. The two main partners at the UEH are Dr. Jacques Jovin and Dr. Jhon Picard Byron. The primary partner at Teachers College is Dr. Hervé Varenne.Though the project counts on the participation of many renowned scholars, the architects for this project conceived of it while finishing their dissertations at Teachers College. Kiran Jayaram, now Lecturer in Haitian Creole at KU and a 2015 Fulbright Scholar, worked with his colleague, Scott Freeman, now a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University, to support the UEH’s proposal. Both have worked extensively in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
In January 2015, Jayaram spent two weeks in Haiti supporting Norberto Baldi, as he taught the first-ever graduate level course in biological anthropology in Haiti. Baldi taught “Introduction to Biological Anthropology”, in which he covered the history of evolutionary theory, the development of biological anthropology, forensic anthropology, and primatology. Jayaram interpreted student comments, helped answer questions, helped grade students’ written assignments, and provided interpretations of lectures in Haitian Creole. Several professors have been traveling to Haiti to teach intensive courses in anthropology since 2014, but Baldi’s short course was the first offering by a visiting scholar who did not speak French or Haitian Creole.
Building upon this experience, in May 2015, Hervé Varenne will travel to Haiti with Scott Freeman to offer a course on educational anthropology as a part of the IDG project. Freeman will teach a course on political ecology.
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Published Thursday, May. 14, 2015