Jerry Philogene’s book, The Socially Dead and Improbable Citizen: Visualizing Haitian Liberation will examine the connections between representation, agency, and social death in the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Édouard Duval-Carrié, Myrlande Constant, and Raoul Peck to reflect on contemporary Haitian visual arts as having a long tradition of radical aesthetics within Black Atlantic visual art. Philogene will use the metaphor dead citizen as a heuristic device to propose alternative visual narratologies that present the liberatory possibilities of social death as a living-within-death that allows for resistance practices and self-actualization. She will employ dead citizen as a conceptual framework to theorize how meaning has been placed on Haitian bodies through a visually informed discursive paradigm bound by historical, political, and cultural markers, which have defined Haiti as an inept nation with flawed, disposable citizenry.

Jerry Philogene is Associate Professor in the American Studies and Africana Studies Departments at Dickinson College. She received her doctorate from New York University in American Studies. In addition to exploring the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, and gender as articulated in contemporary visual arts, her research and teaching interests include interdisciplinary American cultural and art history, African diasporic art history and visual arts, (with an emphasis on the Francophone Caribbean), black cultural politics, and theories of the African diaspora. Her articles have appeared in Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of CriticismBOMBContemporary French and Francophone StudiesRadical History Review, MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, and the Journal of Haitian Studies. She was a co-editor of a special issue of Small Axe that focused on the work of women artists from the Caribbean and diaspora. She has been a Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow at Duke University, and the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the National Gallery of Art, Center for the Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts. She is currently a co-curator of the retrospective of Haitian contemporary artist Myrlande Constant, “Painting with Beads: The Art of Myrlande Constant,” which spotlights the development of Constant’s artistic vision, innovative techniques, and art-making practice opening at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, April 2022.