Chelsey L Kivland

As a cultural anthropologist, I strive to understand how and why people find meaning in power and conflict. I am fascinated by the way power is both feared and desired, contested and embraced, and the culturally unique ways in which people fight for as well as against power. My current research focuses on local forms of leadership in a Haitian ghetto, and attempts to uncover the multiple and contradictory ways people compete for control over an area. I write and teach about violence, rituals of power, grassroots organizing, insecure cities, and Haiti.

Personal Website
Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Ph.D., M.A., University of Chicago
M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A., Colorado College

Selected Publications

2014.  Becoming a Force in the Zone: Hedonopolitics, Masculinity, and the Quest for Respect on Haiti’s Streets. Cultural Anthropology.

Forthcoming.  Showing Off To Show Up: Popular Politics and Carnival Street Bands in Urban Haiti. In Showing Off, Showing Up: The Political and Aesthetic Economies of Heightened Performance. Laurie Frederick, Catherine Schuler, Kim Marra, eds.

2013.  On Accidental Recoveries and Predictable Disasters: The Haitian Earthquake Three Years Later. Fieldsights-Episcope, Cultural Anthropology Online.

2012.  To Defend or Develop? On the Politics of Engagement Among Local Organizations, Before and After the Earthquake. Theme Issue, “Education and Humanitarian Aid,” Journal of Haitian Studies 18(1):75-99.

2012.  Unmaking the State in “Occupied” Haiti. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 35(2):247 -269. *Top 15 of 2015:

Spillover Web Feature:

2009.  On Rituals of Governance: A Research Note on the Performative Logic of Sovereignty, Sparked by the Contemporary Practices of Bann a Pye [street bands] in Bel Air, Haiti. Journal of Haitian Studies 15(1/2): 318-332.

Works in Progress

Street Sovereigns: Politics, Violence, and Development in a Haitian Ghetto (manuscript in progress)



Assistant Professor of Anthropology
The John Sloan Dickey Center