The University of Iowa

Hadley Galbraith

Finalist

Bigidi and Creating the Memory of Survival: Resisting Slavery in Literature, Film, and Performance

Hadley is a PhD Student in the Department of French & Francophone World Studies. She completed her MA in the same field at the University of Iowa in 2017. Hadley’s research focuses on the memory of slavery in France’s former colonies, in particular, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion. There is an unfortunate lack of archival material authored by enslaved peoples in these areas, a fact that is often brought up in works by artists writing or performing about this history. Inspired by Guadeloupean choreographer Léna Blou and her study of the tradition gwo-ka, Hadley decided to start analyzing works of literature, film, dance, and other forms of performance by descendants of enslaved peoples, as carriers of history. Hadley hopes her work can challenge dominant notions of ways of knowing about the past, as well as bring recognition to the traces of resistance and empowerment that lay within stories of hardship under slavery. Doing so would contribute to bringing greater critical interest to the cultural practices of island communities that are often overlooked, as well as help recast a challenging heritage for descendants as one of adaptation and self-determination. She is very grateful to the mentorship and encouragement she has received from her advisor, Dr. Anny Dominic Curtius, her dissertation committee, and her department to pursue this work. Hadley enjoys organizing events and socials with her fellow graduate students, is an avid cook, and spends time outside the office with friends, her partner, and their cats.

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French & Francophone World Studies