Michel-Rolph Trouillot

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Michel-Rolph Trouillot (November 26, 1949 – July 5, 2012;[1][2] PhD, Johns Hopkins 1985) was a Haitian academic and anthropologist. He was Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago.[3][4]


Rolph (as he was known conversationally) was the son of Ernest Trouillot and Anne-Marie Morisset, both black intellectuals from Port-au-Prince. His father was a lawyer and his uncle, Hénock Trouillot was a professor who worked in the National Archives of Haiti. Hénock was an influential noiriste historian. He attended the Petit Séminaire Collège Saint-Martial, moving on to the École Normale Supérieure. However, faced with repression from the Duvalier regime in 1968, Trouillot joined a mass exodus of students who found refuge in New York City.

In 2011 Trouillot was awarded the Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given annually by the Caribbean Philosophical Association in recognition of work of special interest to Caribbean thought.

In 1977, he published his first book Ti dife boule sou Istwa Ayiti on the origins of the Haitian slave revolution while completing his undergraduate degree at the City University of New York. It has been described as "the first book-length monograph written in Haitian Creole."[5] In July 2012, Université Caraïbe Press reprinted this masterful work. He rewrote the book as a separate publication in French and again in English as Haiti: State Against Nation. Trouillot's lifetime of work presented a vision for anthropology and the social sciences, informed by historical depth and empirical examination of Caribbean societies.[6]

Trouillot died on July 5, 2012.[7] The Haitian Studies Association named an annual prize for him at the 2012 meetings, the Michel-Rolph Trouillot fund, which provides financial support for Haiti-based scholars "who might not be able to attend the conference without financial assistance" [8].

Selected works[edit]

  • 1977 Ti difé boulé sou Istoua Ayiti. New York: Koléksion Lakansièl.
  • 1988 Peasants and Capital: Dominica in the World Economy. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • 1990 Haiti: State against Nation. The Origins and Legacy of Duvalierism. Monthly Review Press.
  • 1995 Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Beacon Press.
  • 2003 Global Transformations: Anthropology and the Modern World. Palgrave.