Cholera in Haiti and other Caribbean regions, 19th century.

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Medical journals and other sources do not show evidence that cholera occurred in Haiti before 2010, despite the devastating effect of this disease in the Caribbean region in the 19th century. Cholera occurred in Cuba in 1833-1834; in Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Nevis, Trinidad, the Bahamas, St. Vincent, Granada, Anguilla, St. John, Tortola, the Turks and Caicos, the Grenadines (Carriacou and Petite Martinique), and possibly Antigua in 1850-1856; and in Guadeloupe, Cuba, St. Thomas, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Martinique, and Marie Galante in 1865-1872. Conditions associated with slavery and colonial military control were absent in independent Haiti. Clustered populations, regular influx of new persons, and close quarters of barracks living contributed to spread of cholera in other Caribbean locations. We provide historical accounts of the presence and spread of cholera epidemics in Caribbean islands.





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Jenson, Deborah, Victoria Szabo and undefined Duke FHI Haiti Humanities Laboratory Student Research Team (2011). Cholera in Haiti and other Caribbean regions, 19th century. Emerg Infect Dis, 17(11). pp. 2130–2135. 10.3201/eid1711.110958 Retrieved from

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Deborah Jenson

Professor of Romance Studies

I am a scholar of "long 19th century" in French and Caribbean literature and culture, cognitive literary studies, health humanities, and global health. Running through all my research, teaching, and outreach is the problem of representation and mimesis, on axes from social contagion to rhetoric to mirror neurons. Here are some ways to think about my work:

  • Research: recent articles on: Sylvia Wynter, cognitive exceptionalism, and Global South Philosophy in PMLA; Haitian psychiatrist Louis Mars in American Psychologist; Cognition in Keywords for Health Humanities, "Creole" poetry by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore in Cahiers Marceline Desbordes-Valmore), and qualitative representations of epilepsy in Epilepsy and Behavior. My most recent edited volume is a research topic with Marco Iacoboni and Len White on Representation in Neuroscience and Humanities in Frontiers. Monographs, edited volumes, editions, and translations include: Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution; Trauma and Its Representations: The Social Life of Mimesis in Post-Revolutionary France; Poetry of Haitian Independence (with D. Kadish and N. Shapiro); Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignty (with W. Anderson and R. Keller); Sarah, A Colonial Novella (with D. Kadish); and "Coming to Writing" and Other Essays by Hélène Cixous.
  • Public humanities: co-founder and co-director of the Haiti Lab (2010-2013), founder and co-director of the Health Humanities Lab (2015-2020), and co-founder and co-director of the Neurohumanities Research Group (2013-) at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.
  • Pedagogy: my teaching builds on the interdisciplinary nature of my work, from "Flaubert's Brain: Neurohumanities," "Pandemic Humanities: Reimagining Health and Medicine in Romance Studies," and "Trauma and Global Health," to "Mimesis in Theory and Practice," "Global Humanities in French," and "Sylvia Wynter and Caribbean Philosophy." After previously co-teaching with Felwine Sarr on African Philosophy, we are developing a course on African and Caribbean Philosophy.
  • Administrative leadership: my experience at Duke includes directing the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and co-directing the Brain & Society theme of Bass Connections, along with P.I.ship of grants including the Mellon "Humanities Futures" grant at FHI, and co P.I.ship with Ed Balleisen of the NEH Next Generation "Versatile Humanists" grant.
  • For a profile of one of my remarkable undergraduate students in French, see this feature on Marshall Scholar Julie Uchitel:

Victoria Szabo

Research Professor of Art, Art History, & Visual Studies

 My primary teaching and research interests are in the intersection of digital humanities and technology, media, communication, and information studies, especially in relation to spatial, immersive, and interactive media forms, histories, and cultures. My current projects focus on extended reality (XR) experiences in urban, exurban, and exhibition context, with ongoing attention to location-based augmented reality. Recent collaborative, archives-driven digital projects include Digital Durham, NC Jukebox (NC mountain music), Ghett/App (architectural history of the Venetian Ghetto), and Virtual Black Charlotte, in collaboration with Johnson C Smith University. A new project, Visualizing Lovecraft, explores the multimodal digital remediation of fictive places and spaces as a form of literary adaptation. I also co-create video game based art installations with Psychasthenia Studio, and engage in digital arts curation and exhibition projects within the digital arts community at ACM SIGGRAPH. Some of my recent written work has appeared in Media and Communication, the Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, and the recent CLIR report on 3D/VR in the Academic Library. I am currently co-editor of the upcoming Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture, with a focus on Digital Futures.

I have a strong interest in interdisciplinary and lab-based approaches to scholarship and to the digital and hybrid futures of higher education, pedagogy, museums, and public scholarship, and have served in various leadership roles. At Duke, I currently direct the Information Science+Studies Certificate Program, the Digital Art History/Computational Media MA in Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and the interdisciplinary PhD in Computational Media, Arts & Cultures, for which I was the inaugural DGS. I also collaborate in the Wired Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture and the Visualizing Venice/Visualizing Cities consortium, and helped create the new undergraduate interdepartmental major between Computer Science and Visual and Media Studies at Duke, as well as the Computation and Design major at Duke Kunshan University (DKU). At the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute I lead the Duke Digital Humanities Initiative, where I co-direct the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge and the NCCU-Duke Digital Humanities Fellows Program. I was co-lead of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme (2016-22), and partner in the Duke Game Lab, which sponsored a new Focus Cluster on Virtual Reality, Fictional Worlds, and Games, starting in 2021. I am also involved in faculty governance, and was elected to the Executive Committee of the Academic Council (ECAC) for 2018-20. Outside of Duke, since 2016 I have been Chair of the Digital Arts Community for ACM SIGGRAPH, an international professional organization focused on computer graphics and interactive techniques.

Before coming to Duke, I worked at Stanford University Libraries as an Academic Technology Specialist for the Introduction to the Humanities Program, where I also taught, and then as an ATS team manager for the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. I have also worked as an instructional Multimedia Specialist for Grinnell College. In the early 2000s I was a member of the iTunes U partnership with Apple that helped develop academic podcasting in higher ed.

I have a PhD in English from the University of Rochester (2000), where I studied 19th century British literature and culture, sensationalism, and women's authorship. I also have a Certificate from the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Research on Women and Gender. I got my start in what became the digital humanities in the 1990s by working on the original online Camelot Project and TEAMS Medieval English Texts Series at the Robbins Library at Rochester. I currently serve as a Consulting Editor for the METS. I also have an MA in English from Indiana University, Bloomington (1992), and a BA in English from Williams College (1990).

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