- Byen Pre Pa Lakay: Toward a Complete Bibliography of Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Writings
Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1949–2012) was professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago and just 62 years old when he died suddenly on July 5, 2012. Rolph (to colleagues and students) or Roro (to family and close friends) was Haitian-born and deeply committed to Ayiti cheri/Ayiti toma, even though he was a resident of the United States and a cosmopolitan world citizen. From 1978 to 2002, Rolph became one of the most accomplished and influential scholars and teachers of his generation. By word and deed, he shared deep knowledge of theory, method, and evidence in several intellectual disciplines, as well as keen awareness of the political roots and implications of knowledge for nearly a quarter-century.
The inspiration for this bibliographic project comes in part from Caribbeanists Sidney W. Mintz and Richard Price, who were Rolph’s main advisors during his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University as well as my teachers at Yale some years earlier. Professors Mintz and Price taught us to combine bibliography with ethnography and historiography as a means of studying culture, history, society, and political economy in Haiti and elsewhere. This lesson led me to explore and value work by master Haitian bibliophiles and bibliographers Ulrick “Père” Duvivier (1867–1932), Edmond Mangonès (1883–1967), and Max Bissainthe (1911–78). Their work created an infrastructure for research and policymaking that has been pursued by Max Manigat and Michel S. Laguerre since the 1970s.1
“Byen Pre Pa Lakay” (“Being Close By Is Not the Same as Being Home”) is an apt title for this bibliography because research on Rolph’s writings is far from complete. Despite the recent compilations by Rolph’s students Jason Antrosio2 and Yarimar Bonilla,3 as well as my ongoing investigations, we do not yet have a comprehensive and accurate list of Rolph’s always-informative and thought-provoking writings about anthropology, history, political economy, literature, music, art, and politics. Here, I expand the selective bibliography published with Rolph’s obituary in Caribbean Studies.4 The following compilation enables readers to gauge the range of Rolph’s [End Page 183] writings and track the development of his ideas over time. It is another token of my respect for Roro—frè ak bonjan zanmi-kamarad-mwen. My hope is that it will inspire others to prepare the kind of bibliography that Professor Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s work richly deserves, and that those who would follow his lead sorely need.
1. See Ira P. Lowenthal and Drexel G. Woodson (eds.), Catalogue de la Collection Price-Mars, Pétionville, Haïti, December 1973. Yale University Sterling Memorial Library; Lowenthal and Woodson (eds.), Catalogue de la Collection Mangonès, Pétionville, Haïti, 1974. ARP Occasional Papers, 2, Yale University Antilles Research Program; Woodson, Review of Michel S. Laguerre, The Complete Haitiana: A Bibliographic Guide to the Scholarly Literature, 1900–1980. Nieuwe West-Indische Gids/New West Indian Guide 57, no. 3/4 (1983): 233–37; and Woodson, Review of Frantz Pratt (ed.), Haiti: Guide to the Periodical Literature in English, 1800–1990. New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 68, no.1/2 (1994): 189–92.
2. See Jason Antrosio, “In Memoriam, Michel-Rolph Trouillot, 1949–2012.” Anthropology Report (Real Anthropology, Real Anthropologists). July 5, 2012. http://anthropologyreport.com/in-memoriam-michel-rolph-trouillot-1949-2012/.
3. See Yarimar Bonilla, “Michel-Rolph Trouillot: A Comprehensive Bibliography.” Small Axe 17, no. 3.42 (2013): 213–22.
4. See Drexel G. Woodson and Brackette F. Williams, “In Memoriam: Dr. Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1949–2012), with a Selective Bibliography.” Caribbean Studies 40, no. 1 (2012): 153–68. [End Page 184]