Bastien Craipain Headshot

Bastien Craipain

Bastien Craipain (he/him/his)
Assistant Professor of Francophone Studies and Comparative Literature
Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago

My research and teaching focus on the relationship between literature and the social sciences in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Francophone world, with a specific anchoring in the fields of Haitian and Caribbean studies, critical race theory, and Black Atlantic history.

My book project, “Patterns of Indiscipline: Anthropology, Literature, and Race in the Haitian Atlantic,” studies the critical contribution of Haitian social thought and literature to the field of anthropology in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Atlantic world. Specifically, it examines the works of Haitian intellectuals who challenged the theories and discourses of biological racism and the “civilizing mission” championed by members of prestigious scientific institutions and learned societies in Europe and the Americas. By mapping their transatlantic experiences and analyzing their scientific, political, and literary writings, I show how these authors of African descent not only enacted an early decolonization of the language and ideas of anthropology, but also propounded a radical reinvention of its objects, practices, and purposes. In short, I argue that their use of literature as a source and medium of anthropological knowledge allowed them to push against disciplinary methods and boundaries, which in turn led to a reconstruction of the field as a space of racial vindication and cultural affirmation.

Book Chapters
· “The Predicament of Civilization: Revisiting the Nineteenth-Century Haitian Novel.” In A Cambridge History of Haitian Literature. Eds. Marlene Daut and Kaiama Glover. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
· “There Is No Odd in Ordinary: Louis Joseph Janvier, Haiti, and the Tropics of Racial Science.” In Haiti for the Haitians by Louis Joseph Janvier. Eds. Brandon R. Byrd and Chelsea Stieber. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming.
· “Des biographies de Toussaint Louverture : histoire, mythologie ou littérature.” In Les biographies littéraires : théories, pratiques et perspectives nouvelles. Eds. Philippe Desan and Daniel Desormeaux. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2016. 143-55.

· Carolyn J. Eichner. Franchir les barricades. Les femmes dans la Commune de Paris. Paris: Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2020. Finalist for the 2021 Prix Augustin Thierry, awarded by the Ville de Paris.

Courses Taught

Thinking Through Race in the Francophone World, 1750-1918

Short Stories of the Francophone Black Atlantic
Anthropologie, littérature et société

M.A. in Language, Literature, and Translation (French), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
M.A. in Language, Literature, and Civilization (English), Université Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle
B.A. in Language, Literature, and Civilization (English), Université de Poitiers
B.A. in Foreign Languages, Business, Law (English & Spanish), Université de Poitiers