“Minette’s Worlds: Theatre & Revolution in Saint-Domingue,” Lecture with UVA Prof. and Democracy Initiative Co-Director Laurent Dubois


Circling back to what was originally scheduled as the keynote for the March 2019 Haiti in the Atlantic World conference at Mizzou, University of Virginia John L. Nau III Bicentennial Professor of the History & Principles of Democracy and Co-Director of UVA’s Democracy Initiative Laurent Dubois will explore the transformative role that actors of African descent played in the intertwined histories of theatre and revolution in Saint-Domingue.

The lecture, which is co-sponsored by Missouri Humanities, the MU School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, Mizzou’s Afro-Romance Institute, and the Kinder Institute, will be held on Thursday, October 28 at 7:00pm in Swallow Hall 101.


This lecture explores the intertwined histories of theatre and revolution in Saint-Domingue during the years leading up the Haitian Revolution. Plays, actors, and musicians all moved back and forth across the French Atlantic, but in Saint-Domingue themes surrounding sexuality, race, and empire took on particular meanings, and actors of African descent—including one known as Minette— took the stage and transformed it in the process.

Laurent Dubois is the John L. Nau III Bicentennial Professor of the History & Principles of Democracy at the University of Virginia, and Co-Director of the Democracy Initiative. From 2007, to 2020, he was a Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, where he was Co-Director of the Haiti Laboratory from 2010-13 and founded and directed the Forum for Scholars and Publics from 2013 to 2020. He has written about the Age of Revolution in the Caribbean, with Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004) and A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (2004), which won four book prizes including the Frederick Douglass Prize. His 2012 Haiti: The Aftershocks of History was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He has also written about the politics of soccer, with Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (2010) and The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer (2018). His work on the cultural history of music, The Banjo: America’s African Instrument (2016), was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Fellowship, and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship. His most recent book is Freedom Roots: Histories from the Caribbean (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), co-authored with Richard Turits. His writings on music, history and sport have appeared in The Atlantic, The NationThe New RepublicThe New YorkerThe New York Times, Slate, and Sports Illustrated. He is currently beginning work on a history of the French Atlantic.