Migration and Vodou

Migration and Vodou

by Karen E. Richman
     
 

ISBN-10: 081303325X

ISBN-13: 9780813033259

Pub. Date: 09/23/2008

Publisher: University Press of Florida

 "The most ambitious, insightful, and interesting account of the nature and centrality of religion for transnational migrants yet written . . . a pathbreaking study."--Josh DeWind, director, International Migration Program, Social Science Research Council

This book and accompanying compact disc provide a rare excursion in the innovative ways a

Overview

 "The most ambitious, insightful, and interesting account of the nature and centrality of religion for transnational migrants yet written . . . a pathbreaking study."--Josh DeWind, director, International Migration Program, Social Science Research Council

This book and accompanying compact disc provide a rare excursion in the innovative ways a community of Haitian migrants to South Florida has maintained religious traditions and familial connections. It demonstrates how religion, ritual, and aesthetic practices affect lives on both sides of the Caribbean, and it debunks myths of exotic and primitive vodou (often spelled "voodoo"), which have long been used against Haitians.

As Karen Richman shows, Haitians at home and in migrant settlements make ingenious use of audio and video tapes to extend the boundaries of their ritual spaces and to reinforce their moral and spiritual anchors to one another. The book and CD were produced in collaboration to give the reader intimate access to this new expressive media. Sacred songs are recorded on tapes and circulated among the communities. Migrants are able to hear not only the performance sounds--drumming, singing, and chatter--but also a description, as narrators tell of offerings, sacrifices, prayers, and the exchange of possessions. Spirits who inhabit the bodies of ritual actors are aware of the recording devices and personally address the absent migrants, sometimes warning them of their financial obligations to family members in Haiti. The migrants’ dependence on their home village is dramatically reinforced while their economic independence is restricted.

Using standard ethnographic methods, Richman’s work illuminates the connections among social organization, power, production, ritual, and aesthetics. With its transnational perspective, it shows how labor migration has become one of Haiti’s chief economic exports.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813033259
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Publication date:
09/23/2008
Series:
New World Diasporas Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents


List of Figures     ix
Compact Disc     xii
Foreword     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvii
The Pwen of Transnational Haitian Migration     1
Migrants, Remittances, and Development     38
Ti Rivye: Between Home and Over There     65
Peasants and Hidden Proletarians in Leogane     85
Discovering the African Traditions     116
The Dialectic of Guinea and Magic     150
Guarantying Migrants in the Core     184
They Will Remember Me in the House: Aesthetics of Contest and Persuasion on Cassette Letters     212
The Rebellion of the Pwen     250
Epilogue     272
Notes     289
Glossary     301
Bibliography     305
Index     331

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