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Marsha Jean-Charles is a Ph.D. student in Africana Studies, interested in transnational literary studies of black women’s coming-of-age, (im)migration novels and conceptualizations of black feminisms in the contemporary moment. Ever intrigued by the transformations of protagonists in texts that enhance understandings of cosmologies and revolutionary politics aroused from intersectional identity formation, forced migration, and statelessness, Marsha’s research itself exists at the intersection of radical politics, identity, and art. She explores these sites by advancing two concepts, “Black Feminist Citizenship” and “Dyaspora Saudade.” In discussing artists of the African—and principally Haitian—diaspora in the USA, Cuba, and Brazil, she seeks to use these terms to catalogue their rebellions.

 An organizer at her core, she fuses her academic work with her activist work and expands understandings of the uses of literary and performance art as tools for activism.

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Carole Boyce Davies is a professor of English and Africana Studies at Cornell University. She has held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994) and Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008). In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Boyce Davies has also published the following critical anthologies: Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature (Africa World Press, 1986); Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature (Africa World Press, 1990); and a two-volume collection of critical and creative writing entitled Moving Beyond Boundaries (New York University Press, 1995): International Dimensions of Black Women’s Writing (volume 1), and Black Women’s Diasporas (volume 2).

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Michel Frederic DeGraff is a Haitian creolist who has served on the board of the Journal of Haitian Studies. He is a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a founding member of the Haitian Creole Academy. His field of scholarship is Creole language, also known as Lang Kreyòl Linguistics. He is known for his advocacy towards the recognition of Haitian Creole as a full-fledged language. In the fall of 2012, he received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to introduce online Creole language materials in the teaching of STEM in Haiti. He believes that Haitian children should be taught in their native language at all levels of instruction, contrary to the tradition of teaching them in French. Degraff believes that instruction in French, a foreign language for most Haitian children, hinders their creativity and their ability to excel.