Chelsey Kivland

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Dartmouth College

Grant number

Gr. 9759

Approve Date

October 24, 2018

Project Title

Kivland, Dr. Chelsey L., Dartmouth C., Hanover, NH - To aid research on 'A Dream Deported: Race, Crime, and Deportation in Transnational Haiti'

Preliminary abstract: Since 2011, the United States has classified an increasing number of migrants as ‘criminal aliens’ for the purposes of deportation. Recent studies have illustrated this policy’s social toll: chronic insecurity among migrants, suffering among families torn apart, and alienation among those sent to an unfamiliar ‘homeland’ and as ‘criminals’ (e.g., Boehm 2016;Coutin 2016;Golash-Boza 2015;Khosravi 2018). These accounts underscore how criminal deportation targets Latino and Caribbean migrants, reinforcing longstanding patterns of race-based criminalization in the United States. Building on this finding, I plan to conduct an ethnography of the yet unstudied subgroup of Haitian deportees (dep’te), who offer a unique vantage point to theorize the transnational intersection of race, criminalization, and deportation not only because they primarily identify as black but also because they experience the criminalization of their blackness both in the United States and in Haiti. Dep’te who have endured racial profiling in the United States return to Haiti to confront the prejudices of Haitians who suspect them of importing violence, crime, and what is perceived as a disreputable African American culture to Haiti. Initial research has yielded both anticipated and unexpected outcomes: such prejudices can make finding employment, housing, and community in Haiti difficult, but some dep’te have been able to subvert the categories of their racial subjugation to become rap music stars, hip-hop DJs, or urban block leaders. Offering a new longitudinal approach in the ethnography of deportation, the proposed ethnography will follow twenty dep’te over the first few years of resettlement, allowing a picture of their everyday struggles and successes to emerge and inform how they rebuild lives in Haiti structured not only by but also around their criminalized transnational racial identity.