University of California Santa Barbara
Born and raised in Venezuela from Haitian and Venezuelan parents, Laurent-Perrault recently completed her PhD in History at New York University. Her dissertation, “Black Honor, Intellectual Marronage, and the Law in Venezuela, 1760-1809,” explores Afro-descendants’ intellectual contributions to the political debates, during the dawn of the Age of Revolutions. Ms. Perrault has a Licenciatura degree in Biology, from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Ms. Laurent-Perrault has been the recipient of several scholarships and fellowships, including Ford Dissertation and a Margaret Brown Fellowship. She has lived and traveled throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Ms. Laurent-Perrault is the founder of the Annual Arturo Schomburg Symposium that takes place at Taller Puertorriqueño, in Philadelphia. Its main objective is to educate a general audience about the experiences and contributions of the African Diaspora, with an emphasis in Latin America and the Caribbean. This event also seeks to further develop better communication and collaboration between Latin American/Latino and African-American communities. Taller will hosts its twentieth Schomburg Symposium in February 2016. Ms. Laurent-Perrault is also the co-founder of ENCUENTRO, an initiative that seeks to promote a global Afro-Diasporic dialogue.
I have been a member of ASWAD since 2007 when I began my PhD at NYU’s History Department (African Diaspora Program). Then, after being part of Afro-Latin American movements and debates, I questioned the nuances and root causes of the racialized structures that continues to prevail in Latin America and the Latino communities in the USA. ASWAD membership and the opportunities to present at its Bi-Annual conferences since 2009 offered me outstanding opportunities to present my ideas, establish a network with scholars, and engage in intellectual debates that nurtured my learning process. I feel growth after every ASWAD conference. Likewise I have seen ASWAD grow up; I admire the fact that the organization continues seeking new boundaries and challenges as situations unfold and remind us that things have not changed as much as we wished.
I believe, now that ASWAD is well established, time has come to expand and strengthen its relationship with the world of activism and grassroots organizations. I have shared this idea first with Michael Gomez and later with Kim Butler, whom I proposed as the Keynote speaker at the Academic Section of the 3rd World Summit of Africans and African Diaspora Leaders (Cali – Colombia, September 2013). I also proposed that ASWAD considers hosting one of its Bi-Annual Conferences in Lima-Peru, with CEDET (Centro de Desarrollo Étnico) as the local host organization. Its director has expressed interest in hosting the conference and has the capacity to do so. I think these alliances will create new learning opportunities and possibilities for more growth and collaboration, as we all try to un-silence and render visible the experiences and legacies of the African Diaspora. I look forward to sharing my experience, expertise, and creativity with ASWAD.