Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Paris functions as a diverse site in which Haitians and French Antilleans come together most significantly in relation to musical interaction. Haitian music in Paris, especially konpa, is frequently paired with Antillean music, specifically zouk, whether it be on the radio, as Antillean stations frequently co-opt konpa or in dance clubs for deejayed events. Thus, konpa and zouk share modes of dissemination and consumption, and are frequently grouped together. These mutually shared spaces of musical consumption enable and promote the formation of connections between Antillean and Haitian communities, enabled by a minoritarian politics rooted in shared colonial histories and coupled with strict contemporary stratifications that are challenged by musical taste. This dissertation explains how the musical results of these interactions, histories, and relationships are distinctly Haitian, but transnational, complicated, and evocative of a new understanding of postcolonial relation in the Caribbean diaspora.
This project illuminates the dynamic relationship between immigrant communities, specifically the profound and significant role of immigrant communities in each other’s lives, while highlighting the complicated histories that can enable these relationships, with music as the primary unifying force. Elements like class, race, citizenship, language, history, and geographic proximity all influence the creation of minor-to-minor networks, mostly in unifying groups in difference from the major, but music over all other factors serves as the bridge that allows minoritarian politics to unfold as they have in Paris. In connecting to an inclusive identity politics, these interactions in Paris can allow us to re-think what “French Caribbean” can mean and to what musical ends. Ultimately, this dissertation is about Haitians but also in particular the unique qualities of Paris that represent it as a locale in relation to Haitian history, immigration, geography, transnationalism, and ideologies that ultimately result in expressive musical representations of contemporary life.
Donnelly, Laura, "Pwofite Tèt Ou”(Avail YOourself): The Minoritarian Politics of Haitian Music in Paris" (2016). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 1690.