Haitian professor to discuss earthquake, politics

By Brian Hancock

UK students and faculty will have the opportunity to hear one of the leading experts in the field of Haitian politics this Friday.

Robert Fatton Jr., the Julia A. Cooper professor of government and foreign affairs in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, will be on hand to give a lecture entitled, “Haiti in the Aftermath of the Earthquake: the Politics of Catastrophe.”

His speech will be a part of the “Haiti in the Modern World” series, which is taking place this semester at UK.  The series includes four speakers throughout the fall, focusing on Haitian language, politics, religion and art.

UK history professor Jeremy Popkin began the series with the hope of educating students and the Lexington community about the recently ravaged country.  It runs in conjunction with his History 355 class: Haiti in the Modern World.

“We had a very good turnout [at the first lecture], and we hope to have even more people at this one,” Popkin said.

Fatton, who was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is the author of a plethora of books and scholarly articles.

“This is an opportunity for UK students to hear the number one American expert on Haitian politics,” Popkin said.  “This is the guy the New York Times calls when they need information about politics in Haiti.”

Popkin also discussed the importance of gaining knowledge about other countries such as Haiti.

“It’s very important for all of us to learn about other countries, especially ones as close and as influential as Haiti,” he said.

Friday’s lecture by Fatton will take place in room 213 of the Gatton College of Business and Economics building at 4 p.m.

The next lecture will be presented by Leslie Brice on Nov. 5.  Brice will discuss Voodoo religion and art in Haiti.

Russell Porter, the deputy coordinator for Haiti Earthquake Reconstruction at USAID, will conclude the series with a talk on Nov. 19.