Haitian folksinger/songwriter Bélo
Haitian singer/songwriter Bélo performs at Duke, November 30, 2019.

Duke’s CLACS supports Haitian Studies primarily in collaboration with the Haiti Lab and with the Haitian Creole Language Program.

Haitian Creole Language Program

French and Creole studies are historically linked through the history of French colonialism in the New World arena, just as Creole and African studies are linked through the African heritage salient in Haitian language, religion, music, and dance, etc. Creole studies are also linked to American studies as Haitian-Americans and Haitian migrants play an increasingly prominent role in U.S. culture; simultaneously, Americans are flocking to Haiti in ever greater numbers for work in NGOs, missions, journalism, academic research, business investments and relief work.

photo of a boulangerie in Haiti

Duke currently offers various levels of Creole courses, through the Department of Romance Studies. Duke graduate students can apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship funding to study Haitian Creole at Duke. 

View/Download the Haitian Creole course flyer



Haiti Lab

Founded in 2010 the Haiti Lab was the first humanities laboratory at the Franklin Humanities Institute. The lab merged research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the United States and Haiti.

Located at the FHI’s headquarters at the Smith Warehouse, the Haiti Lab took its inspiration from the collaborative and discovery-driven model of research laboratories. Undergraduate and graduate students worked with specialists in Haitian culture, history, and language on projects featuring vertical integration of Duke University expertise across disciplines and schools. The Haiti Lab is also a resource for media outlets seeking to gain knowledge of Haiti. 

Starting in the Fall of 2013, many Haiti Lab activities continue under the aegis of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. See the Haiti Lab archive for more information.