Vodou In Haitian Life And Culture / Edition 1

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This book introduces readers to the practice of Vodou and helps deconstruct and destroy stereotypes which have survived for hundreds of years. The authors in the collection—from Karen McCarthy Brown to Gerdes Fleurant to Leslie Desmangles—are leading scholars in the rapidly growing field of Vodou Studies. Tackling a wide range of Vodou practices and images, the essays within work to introduce readers to the history and practice of this religion, and to correct the fiction of Vodou which has been circulating as fact. The book focuses specifically on the role Vodou plays in Haiti, the country in which it has its strongest following, examining the influence it has on spiritual beliefs, cultural practices, national identity, popular culture, writing and art. By looking in detail at the beliefs and practices in one country, the reader will begin to understand this unique religion and the multiple domains in which it operates.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Les invisibles are the powers that have sustained Haitians through centuries of exploitation, impoverishment, and terror. This collection of essays by leading scholars has the great merit of showing how Vodou works as a healing force that thoroughly penetrates Haitian culture and social life. From ritual temple to street festival, from song and dance to art and literature, from democracy to social justice, from Haiti to New Orleans, each essay addresses a different aspect of Vodou's living presence. Assembled together in this volume, they constitute a vital whole that provides broad access to a living religion and way of life that has all too often been maligned and misunderstood."
—Patrick Taylor, Chair of the Division of Humanities, York University, editor of Nation Dance: Religion, Identity and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean

"The essays of this exceptional volume throw clear, cool water on a parched terrain. Many readers will emerge from Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture with a fresh vision of the world's oldest—and most maligned—spirituality. The book's contributors, both budding and accomplished scholars from multiple disciplines, honor the Haitian people who bravely nurture Vodou and weave it through every strand of their lives. Ayibobo to Claudine Michel and Patrick Bellegarde-Smith!"
—Lois Wilcken, Ph.D., author of The Drums of Vodou

"The collection makes a valuable contribution to the field, and it should draw much interest among scholars and students of Caribbean religions."
—Eugenio Matibag, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Iowa State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403971623
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Claudine Michel is Professor of Black Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara and Editor, Jourbanal of Haitian Studies. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith is Professor of Africology, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

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Table of Contents

• Afro-Caribbean Spirituality: A Hatian Case Study—Karen McCarthy Brown
• Voudou in Haiti: Way of Life and Mode of Survival—Claudine Michel
• African Interpretations of the Christian Vodou Cross—Leslie G. Desmangles
• Resisting Freedom: Cultural Factors in Democracy: The Case for Haiti—Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
• "The Jew" in the Haitian Imagination: Pre-Modern Anti-Judaism in the Post-Modern Caribbean—Elizabeth A McAlister
• The Song of Freedom: Vodoun, Conscientization and Popular Culture in Haiti—Gerdes Fleurant
• Water in their Eyes, Dust on their Land: Heat and Illness in a Haitian Town—Pierre Minn
• "I am Going to See Where My Oungan Is": The Artistry of a Haitian Vodou Flagmaker—Anna Wexler
• How Hougans Use the Light from Distant Stars—LeGrace Benson
• The Haiti-New Orleans Vodou Connection: Zora Neale Hurston as Initiate Observer—Richard Brent Turbaner

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