Laurent Dubois

Author, Professor of the History & Principles of Democracy

Laurent Dubois is a historian, musician and writer who seeks to tell stories that illuminate our contemporary global politics and culture. He has written about the revolutionary history of the Caribbean, and its global impact, in A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (winner of the 2005 Frederick Douglass Prize) and Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. In the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, he wrote a history of the country, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and has written about Haiti for Aeon, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker and The New York Times. These historical perspectives have shaped his writing on contemporary culture, where he focuses on the generative worlds of music and sport. His 2016 book The Banjo: America’s African Instrument, brings to life the story of the instrument from its deep African roots to its present soundings, and his upcoming album Traversées, recorded in Dakar, Senegal, brings together these musical traditions. He is a passionate fan and interpreter of the global force of soccer, which he has written about in two books: Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France, and The Langauge of the Game: How to Understand Soccer, as well is in writings for The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times, Slate, and Sports Illustrated. At the University of Virginia, he teaches the history of the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, as well as a popular course called Soccer Politics. He also is the Academic Director of the Karsh Institute of Democracy, where he helps to lead conversations and research projects about the history and future of democracy in the U.S. and worldwide.

TOPICS: Politics, History, Race, Music, Sports