Open Source Archives

We strive to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and the implementation of progressive and  participatory research methods, with the goal of generating tangible, durable changes in the way research about Haiti is conceptualized, implemented and applied.


Research Hub & Open Source Archives

EKO HAITI Research Hub is a research and knowledge mobilization platform focused on creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research and associated research-based learning. We aim to become the intellectual “home” for research about Haiti by creating and providing open access to the largest crowdsourced research archive dedicated to Haiti, by fostering cross-disciplinary research and innovation, and by providing support for progressive research in the form of contextual expertise and training.

“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”

Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Haiti is the birthplace of a rich literary heritage that deserves more attention. Haitian authors open a window into this Caribbean nation’s vibrant culture and tumultuous history.

EKO HAITI collections include all works, published and unpublished by Anthropologists Gerald Murray, Glenn Smucker and Timothy Schwartz
Dedicated to the late great, Kreyolicious (Katheline St. Fort), our photographs archives holds a large collection of images dating back to the late 1800's .
40 years of development reports, evaluations and survey databases many of which are not publicly available, are buried in drawers, closets, private libraries of NGOs and government donors.


Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding

Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.

> Transcripts archive

" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "

The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.



As an independent institute, we rely on crowdsourcing and donations to continue expanding the depth and scope of our archives.  Your contribution enable us to provide open access to a vast collection of ethnographic and research material which in turn aims at fostering further research and contribute to a better understanding of the country.

This dissertation analyzes the social and political history of Haitian peasants and the formation of the brutally repressive Duvalier dictatorship. It establishes that the rise of the dictatorship was the result of a political trajectory shaped by historical processes. In post- emancipated Haiti during the nineteenth century, thousands of peasants, who were formerly enslaved, joined the military and participated in insurrections to achieve high status and social mobility. These traditions of militarism and popular revolt also undermined the state’s monopoly over force and checked its authoritarian tendencies. However, these militaristic traditions were curtailed and stamped out by US intervention (1915-1934). U.S. forces employed tactics of disarmament and imposed a repressive penal system that disempowered Haitian peasants.

This dissertation argues that decades of peasant marginalization from power eventually led to the rise of the Duvalier dictatorship in the twentieth century. After coming to power in 1957, François Duvalier remilitarized and rearmed peasants in exchange for their loyalty. This study shows how the dictator Duvalier, in particular, created a civil militia infamously known as the tonton makouts whose members formed the arm of state repression. Thousands of previously ostracized peasants enlisted into the dreaded makout militia to access status and political power. The support of an armed peasantry helped Duvalier repress the political opposition, allowing the regime to stay in power for almost three decades. In the same breath, this dissertation reveals that experience in the militia and the regime’s peasant councils politicized peasants over time. After being politicized, peasants participated in a major popular revolt in 1986 that was the first since the U.S. invasion. The popular revolt, which paradoxically included many makouts, led to the overthrow of the Duvalier regime and eventually to the truly democratic elected presidency of Jean- Bertrand Aristide.