French Studies


French Studies

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Michael Reyes
Tél: 613-533-2082
Bureau: KIN212D
Co-chair of Graduate Studies


"Atabey, Yucayequey, Caney: 6000 ans d'aménagement territorial préhispanique sur l'île d'Ayiti (Review)" The Journal of Haitian Studies 21.2 (2015): 372-375

"The World of the Haitian Revolution (Review)". Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. 11.3 (2010): n. pag. Web.


Articles Submitted for Publication: 

"Caribbean Ethnobotany Before Roumain: Eugène Nau's Nineteenth-Century Contribution to an Understanding of the 'Indian Flora of Haiti'"

Several scholars have questioned the methodological rigor of Jacques Roumain's scientific writing on Amerindian plant use of the Pre-Columbian period.  Though important for understanding Roumain's misuse of emerging anthropological principals, these critiques have failed to highlight the continuities between his writings and nineteenth century Haitian botanical thought.  Drawing on Foucault, this paper examines the disciplinary foundation and organization of the mid-nineteenth century "Florre indienne d'Haïti" by Eugène Nau.  Specifically, I argue that this text provides a genealogy for Roumain's use of botany as the means by which an identification between the Taino and Haitians could be forged.

"Nous l'avons gardée en nous, la tranche blanche: Rethinking the time of the Haitian flag"

Despite a thorough debunking by non-partisan historians, it is still widely believed that the Haitian flag was created by Dessalines at the Archaie Conference on May 18, 1803.  Today, this mythic gesture is commemorated as the beginning of a project of national union amongst Haitians and a clear call to anticolonial action against the French.  Aided by readings of Jean F. Brierre's occupation-era, Le drapeau de demain (1931), I ask the question of just what is at stake in this "invented tradition", not only for Haitians but for an understanding of Haitian history itself.

Projets de Recherche

Research Topics summary: 

  • My research is primarily concerned with the literatures of Haiti and the French Caribbean and their contributions to theories of history, modernity, postcolonialism, and the emergence of nationalism.  I have recently become increasingly interested in approaching Québécois literature from this theoretical framework as well.   
  • My current research is focused on providing an account of the way in which historical time is figured and understood in nineteenth and twentieth century Haitian literary and historical texts.  It is grounded in theories of historicity and revolution (François Hartog, Reinhart Koselleck, Hannah Arendt), metahistory, and, most recently, commemoration. 
  • Specifically, in my current book project, “Inheriting Haiti,” I am researching the ways in which nineteenth century Haitian historians and poets sought to incorporate the fifteenth century Taino Indians that had once lived on the island into Haitian anticolonial and antislavery narratives.