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Dr. Daniel Joseph Featured in AFA Spotlight

Dr. Daniel Joseph Featured in AFA Spotlight

Briefly state your educational background, past and current academic positions held and most recent or significant accomplishments.

I received my Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Kentucky in 2019 and 2016, respectively. I also hold a master's degree in societies and cultures: Europe and Americas from the University of Poitiers, France, and a bachelor's degree in languages from the State University of Haiti (UEH) and the University of the French Antilles (UAG). My research interests include transnationalism, migration, displacement, citizenship, the African diaspora, race, identity and ethnicity, and the Caribbean. From 2016 to 2017, I conducted research fieldwork with displaced persons in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti, a small town located on the Haitian-Dominican border. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), I investigated the experience of Haitian-Dominicans forced to re-settle in Haiti after the Dominican constitutional court rendered them stateless. In 2021, I published La Dynamique Identitaire et Transnationale des Immigrants Haïtiens aux États-Unis: l’Exemple de la Communauté Haïtienne de Chicago (Edilivre) based on a preliminary research fieldwork I conducted with the Haitian community in Chicago. Between 2019 and 2022, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.

How have you encountered Africana Studies, peoples, and societies in your research, studies, travels, scholarships, teaching, or associations?

My interest in Africana Studies and the African diaspora emerged from my preliminary research with Haitians in Chicago in 2015, where I investigated this community's diasporic and transnational identity dynamics. I was fascinated by the historical relationships that existed between Haitians and African Americans, which led me to examine the underexplored migration of African-Americans to Haiti in the 19thcentury, as Haiti, the first black Republic in the world, considered itself the land of freedom for all black people across the globe. My most recent research, which focuses on the forced displacement of Dominicans of Haitian descent from the Dominican Republic, engages with the African diaspora and Africana Studies in essential ways. Specifically, it highlights how the African heritage is perceived differently among members of the African diaspora. For instance, cultural and historical differences divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic over the question of African and European legacy.

What is the most gratifying experience of those encounters, and why?

My exposure to Africana Studies, peoples and AFA associations was beneficial and impactful on every level. I had the opportunity to merge my interests in anthropology with the African diaspora and African studies, which has served me enormously for my work with members of the Haitian diaspora in Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti, and Chicago. I understood better the history of these people concerning their heritage and their capacity to adapt, resist, and cope with the effects of an increasingly racialized world that reinforces exclusion. As a graduate student and a faculty member at DePauw University, I have participated in important AFA scholarly activities that have helped shape my experience as a person of African descent and instilled in me a sense of advocacy for social justice issues inclusion and human diversity.

What should anyone who is yet to experience African studies learn from your experience?

Africana studies offer a critical framework for a better understanding of the history and culture of Africans and people of African descent. After all, it is a discovery of ourselves, who we are as people, and the globalized world and humanity. 

Published on August 15, 2022

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