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Millery Polyné’s teaching and research interests examine the history of US African American and Afro-Caribbean intellectual thought; coloniality in the Americas; human rights and dictatorship; race and sports. He has published articles in journals such as Small Axe, Caribbean Studies, and the Journal of Haitian Studies. The author of From Douglass to Duvalier: US African Americans, Haiti and Pan Americanism, 1870-1964 (University Press of Florida, 2010) Professor Polyné was the recipient of the 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Schomburg Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship and a 2005 University of Rochester Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Currently, he is working on the research projects: “Born to be Bred That Way: Atlantic Slavery in the Shadow of Global Sports” and “A Flame Superior to Lightning, A Sound Superior to Thunder: Human Rights and Caribbean Exiles, 1950-1986.” Professor Polyné’s Gallatin courses include “Consuming the Caribbean;” “Black Intellectual Thought in the Atlantic World;” “Sports, Race, and Politics;” and “American Poetics.” Polyné edited The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development, published by University of Minnesota Press in 2013.
Teaching and Research Interests
19th and 20th century African American and Caribbean Intellectual History; Haitian history; U.S. foreign policy in Caribbean; jazz; hip hop aesthetic; race and sports; film and propaganda; human rights and dictatorship
B.A. History, Morehouse College, 1996 M.A. History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1997 Ph.D. History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2003
For the CNN series Believer, Professor Millery Polyné and Elizabeth McAlister wrote a short piece on Vodou, the Haitian religion, which aired on Mach 12, 2017.
Professor Polyné gave the keynote address, "Left Alone in the Freedom of My Dreams: Governance and the Question of Isolation," at the symposium Sovereignty vs. Intervention: Haiti and the United States, 1915-2015 at the University of Cincinnati, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April 2015.
The University of Rochester invited Professor Polyné to organize and present on a panel for its African and African American Studies symposium in November 2014. The symposium, "The Idea of Africa: From the Haitian Revolution to the Liberation of South Africa," was inspired by his recent edited volume, "The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development." It was the second event in a series at the University of Rochester. Their interdisciplinary panel was titled "Respè ak Respekte (Respect and Enforce): History, Urban Planning and the Tensions of Humanitarianism in Haiti." He presented his work, "There is Money and Opportunity Waiting for the Right Man: The Commercial and Ideological Uses of Haiti--from Post U.S. Occupation to Post Earthquake."
Professor Polyné spoke on National Public Radio’s February 13, 2014 Alt.Latino broadcast “Cradle of Black Pride: Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Music in Between.” He presented two short essays on Martiniquan statesman and poet, Aimé Césaire, for the February 2014 Columbia University Conference “The Work of Man Has Only Just Begun: Legacies of Aimé Césaire.”