2019-2020 – “The Fruits of Colonial Botany: How Haitians used Plants to Create an ‘Indigenous’ Identity,’” SSHRC Institutional Grant, Queen’s University ($5,000 Awarded)
While the field of Haitian Studies remains dominated by an interest in the racial, political, and philosophical dimensions of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) which secured Haiti’s independence from France and ended slavery in the colony, as a whole, the field is now entering a turn towards the greater nineteenth century. Fossilized interpretations, once focused on the nation as the unit of analysis, are giving way to a reexamination of long-neglected Haitian nineteenth century works in the context of Haitian participation in multilingual and transnational networks of migration from Europe and the Americas. At the same time, recent research into “colonial botany,” the study of the symbiotic relationship between botanical knowledge and colonial power, has tended to privilege the eighteenth-century. As a result, it has generally failed to provide an account of how the Caribbean elite weaponizes botanical knowledge after empire. As a humanities-driven work of “postcolonial botany,” this project shows how Haitian botanical writings could be used to imagine forms of national belonging throughout the nineteenth century that tied Haitians to the indigenous Taino, while strategically minimizing their connections with Africa.
2018-2019 – “How should we correct mistakes in the speech of foreign language learners? Assessing the training of Undergraduate Teaching Assistants in effective feedback strategies.” ($3,000 Awarded)
The introductory course in the Department of French Studies uses fourth-year undergraduate teaching assistants (UTAs) to provide first-year students with speaking practice in small group tutorials. In recent years, however, students have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of feedback that they received on speaking from their UTA. For this study, I will research the effectiveness of different strategies for providing feedback and train UTAs in practices supported by this literature. I will then assess the effectiveness of this training on student perceptions of feedback they received from their UTA and determine if the feedback improved students’ speaking skills.