Darlène Dubuisson

  • Assistant Professor

Darlène Dubuisson received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2020. Her research interests and teaching span political and legal anthropology, activist and engaged anthropology, Black feminist anthropology, Black intellectual histories, migration and transnational studies, and speculative fiction and visual culture.

Her work weaves together analyses of Black radicalism, feminism, social and political movements, imagination, migration and diaspora, and crises and futures. Her primary geographic focus is the Caribbean and Latin America.

Degrees and Education

Columbia University

Research Description

Darlène Dubuisson’s current book project, Reclaiming Haiti’s Futures: Returned Intellectuals, Placemaking, and Radical Imagination, is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Port-au-Prince between 2013 and 2018. The book, which is under contract with Rutgers University Press, explores Haitian intellectual exile and academic diaspora homecomings after two would-be moments of social transformation in Haiti: post-Duvalier (1986-) and post-earthquake (2010-). The book argues that despite their internal displacement—the result of global and local fissures—returnees created "place" within and beyond Haiti's fractured academic landscape through improvisation, rasanblaj (assembly), and imagination. The book extends theories and research on returned migrations, the anthropology of intellectuals, and the emergent anthropologies of crises and futures. It also pursues fundamental anthropological questions of displacement, home, and place through the stories and experiences of returned scholars across three decades. 

Professor Dubuisson's next research project examines how black transit migrants in Latin America create futures amid antiblackness and immigration governmentality. It also looks at how refugee and migrant rights organizations challenge antiblack racism and xenophobia in national contexts where the official discourse denies structural racism and/or the existence of a local Black population. This project will expand scholarship on Black geographies, global antiblackness, Black futurity, and new immigration control mechanisms. 


Anthropology of Crises and Futures 

Anthropology of Crises and Futures (Black Futures in the Anthropocene) reviews theories and approaches in studies of temporality, crises, and futures. We read texts in anthropology, cultural studies, feminist studies, and SF (science/speculative fiction), which examine the relationship between temporality, crises, and imagining/enacting better futures. Specifically, we put ethnographies of crises and disasters in conversation with SF within Afrofuturism and Afro-pessimism frameworks. This course’s central goal is to challenge students 1) to integrate various approaches to produce innovative questions about current and impending issues and 2) to interrogate their relationship to time and temporarily. Students are also encouraged craft anthropologically grounded audio, material, or visual speculative projects that seriously engage Black and Indigenous theorists.  


Dubuisson, D., Campos-Medina, P., Gleeson, S. and Griffith, K. L., (2023). Centering Race in Studies of Low-Wage Immigrant Labor. Annual Review of Law and Social Science 2023 19:1, 109-129. 

Dubuisson, D. (2023), “There Is a Real Generational Problem in This Country”: Haitian Intellectual Exile and Academic Diaspora Returns. Transform Anthropol. https://doi.org/10.1111/traa.12247

Dubuisson, D. (2022). The Haitian zombie motif: against the banality of antiblack violence. Journal of Visual Culture, 21(2), 255–276. https://doi.org/10.1177/14704129221112976

Dubuisson, D. (2022), Ethnography In-Sight and Sound: Rasanblaj and the Poetics of Creole Orality. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jlca.12622.

Dubuisson, D. and Schuller, M. (2022), Beyond poto mitan: Challenging the “Strong Black Woman” archetype and allowing space for tenderness. Feminist Anthropology, 3: 60-74. https://doi.org/10.1002/fea2.12065.

Dubuisson, D. (2022), The (State) University of Haiti: Toward a Place-Based Understanding of Kriz. PoLAR, 45: 8-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12464.

Dubuisson, D. (2022), "Haiti: Black Utopia." Hot Spots, Fieldsights, May 3. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/haiti-black-utopia.

Dubuisson, D. (2020/21), "We Know How to Work Together": Konbit, Protest, and the Rejection of INGO Bureaucratic Dominance. Journal of Haitian Studies 26 (2): 53-80. doi:10.1353/jhs.2020.0012.