Professional Development

The Outreach Program offers thematic workshops that bring Duke and UNC scholars, community experts, and artists together with K-12 and college educators to share knowledge about many different parts of Latin American and the Caribbean. These workshops provide teachers with new curriculum materials as well as offer a space for creative collaboration.



Haiti Workshop flyer

The History, Language, and Arts of Haiti: A Workshop for Educators

Saturday, December 13, 2014

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

John Hope Franklin Center, Room 240

Duke University, Durham, NC


This workshop is free and open to 25 participants on a first come, first serve basis.  The activities and content provided will be most suited to teachers of grades 6-12, but the workshop is open to educators of all grades and levels.  Some background reading (approximately 2 hours) will be required prior to the workshop.  Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.  Registration is required.

This workshop will be an opportunity for teachers to broaden their knowledge of many aspects of Haiti.  Participants will gain new content and curriculum materials to take back to their classroom, as well as new perspectives on pedagogy.



  • to gain knowledge of key events in the history of Haiti;
  • to understand histories of and social and political issues related to Haitian language, music, dance, visual arts, and proverbs;
  • to develop methods of teaching about Haitian history and culture through the arts; and
  • to use new content on Haiti and pedagogical resources to design curriculum suited to your classroom.
Questions? Contact Outreach Program Coordinator Emily Chávez at
Download a Haiti Workshop flyer in PDF form here.

Session 1

History of Haiti

Presenter: Eric Barstow

Once home to the Taíno Arawak people, the island of Hispaniola was the first region of the Americas to be colonized by the Spanish and the site of the first American plantation. In 1804, Haiti became memorialized as the first nation in the Americas in which the oppressed masses, free and enslaved people of color, claimed independence from their colonizers, a radical feat. This talk will explore key historical dimensions of Haiti, creating a framework for the remainder of the workshop. Topics to be covered include: indigenous peoples, the slave trade and sugar industry, the Haitian Revolution and Toussaint Louverture, U.S. occupation, Papa Doc and Baby Doc, the Parsley Massacre, Aristide’s presidency, and the 2010 earthquake. Participants will take away a foundational understanding of the historical currents that have led to current-day political, social and economic conditions; notions of national identity; and cultural and religious practices.

Eric Barstow is a documentarian and narrative film director of Haitian decent as well as a recent graduate of Duke’s own MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts program. His films have shown at the San Francisco Black Film Festival (CA), the Dam Short Film Festival (CO), and the Capital City Black Film Festival (TX), along with Durham’s own Hayti Heritage Film Festival, and SPARKCon (filmSPARK) in Raleigh. His short film, Bi/RACIAL Me, won the Best Short Doc Award at the Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Atlanta, GA. Eric has done extensive work in Haiti documenting various Vodou rituals for the NEH-funded Vodou Archive, a collaborative online catalog of ethnographic work between Duke and the University of Florida. While in Haiti, Eric also worked as the cinematographer for the documentary film, In the Eye of the Spiral, which delves into the Haitian art world. Narrated by Annie Lennox, the film recently won Best Feature Documentary at the 2014 Big Apple Film Festival in New York. He currently works as the Video Producer/ Director of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute.


Session 2

Haiti: Language, Music, Arts and Proverbs

Presenter: Jacques Pierre

In this session, participants will learn about the language of Haitian Kreyol, its roots, and its role in society today. Using the work of Felix Morisseau-Leroy, a renowned playwright and author who wrote in both French and Haitian Kreyol, Mr. Pierre will engage participants in learning about the significance of language in Haiti. Educators will also explore language issues related to the education system, in which French is the official language although only a small percentage of the population speaks it.

Mr. Pierre will also discuss and offer examples of Haitian music, visual arts, and proverbs; participants will explore the historical roots and cultural meanings behind these forms of expression. This session will include looking at various works appropriate to the secondary classroom which can be used within various subject areas.

Jacques Pierre was born in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. He studied Haitian Creole and French Applied Linguistics at the State University of Haiti. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Haitian Creole and Culture in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University and Core Affiliated Faculty in the Haiti Lab. Before joining Duke University, he was a Visiting Lecturer in Haitian Creole and Culture at Florida International University. In addition, he has been coordinating the Haitian Summer Institute at Florida International University for four years. He was trained as a lexicographer at Indiana University and worked for six years as an Assistant Editor on the Haitian Creole-English Bilingual Dictionary (2007) published by the Creole Institute at Indiana University. He has an M.A. in Translation Studies with a concentration in French and Haitian Creole and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, both degrees from Kent State University.



Session 3

Our Haitian Neighbors: Learning about Haiti’s History through Dance

Presenter: Aya Shabu

In this session, participants will learn about the importance of dance in Haitian culture, discuss the African origins of Haitian dance and religion, and become familiar with folkloric dances that demonstrate aspects Haiti’s history and culture. Through discussion and movement, Ms. Shabu will lead participants in exploring the folkloric dances that are emblematic to Haiti’s revolutionary history and the influence of the African aesthetic on movement practices within Haitian Vodun. Participants will have an opportunity to practice these dances.

Ms. Shabu will also invite participants to examine and discuss common stereotypes about Haitians in the media, modeling an activity educators may want to use in the classroom to initiate conversation about the country. This session aims to provide educators with relevant information and teaching tools that will help them to introduce new content knowledge and to foster compassion and empathy for the people of Haiti among their students.

Aya “Hope” Shabu is a professional dancer and theater choreographer living in Durham, North Carolina, and an alum of the nationally and internationally recognized African American Dance Ensemble. Ms. Shabu has trained in various dances of the African diaspora, including Haitian folkloric dance. Ms. Shabu began her training in 1995 under Baba Richard Gonzalez at Mt. Holyoke College and Dr. Yvonne Daniels at Smith College, before studying with the Haitian dance company Tumba Francesa in Guantánamo, Cuba. In 1999 Ms. Shabu became a founding company member of Fantezi Kreyol, a Boston based Haitian folkloric dance troupe. In 2004, Ms. Shabu had the privilege of being a student of the late Drs. Henry Frank and Jean Leon Destine at Jacob’s Pillow. Ms. Shabu now performs and teaches at local theatres and schools. She is the Managing Director and performer with The Magic of African Rhythm, a West African dance and drum ensemble. Ms. Shabu founded her own dance/theater company, Fearlessly Made, in 2011. Her company is responsible for the creation of the Historic Hayti Heritage Walking Tour: Fayetteville Street, which explores the history of a historically black neighborhood in Durham named for the revered nation of Haiti.




Past Workshops


Cultural Heritage in the Classroom Workshop Flyer


Teachers and Dreamers  

Hands On Global Ed-Projects from the Duke Haiti Lab Workshop Flyer

Storymaking and Oral Histories Workshop flyer

Reaching Beyond Borders Workshop Flyer

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