Vodou in Haitian Memory

The Idea and Representation of Vodou in Haitian Imagination

Contributions by Wiebke Beushausen, Anne Brüske, Brandon R. Byrd, Asselin Charles, Patrick Delices, Crystal Andrea Felima, Myriam Moïse, Shallum Pierre Edited by Celucien L. Joseph, Nixon S. Cleophat

Hardback - £81.00

Publication date:

12 May 2016

Length of book:

248 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9781498508346

Throughout Haitian history—from 17th century colonial Saint-Domingue to 21st century postcolonial Haiti—arguably, the Afro-Haitian religion of Vodou has been represented as an “unsettling faith” and a “cultural paradox,” as expressed in various forms and modes of Haitian thought and life including literature, history, law, politics, painting, music, and art. Competing voices and conflicting ideas of Vodou have emerged from each of these cultural symbols and intellectual expressions. The Vodouist discourse has not only pervaded every aspect of the Haitian life and experience, it has defined the Haitian cosmology and worldview. Further, the Vodou faith has had a momentous impact on the evolution of Haitian intellectual, aesthetic, and literary imagination; comparatively, Vodou has shaped Haitian social ethics, sexual and gender identity, and theological discourse such as in the intellectual works and poetic imagination of Jean Price-Mars, Dantes Bellegarde, Jacques Roumain, Jacques Stephen Alexis, etc. Similarly, Vodou has shaped the discourse on the intersections of memory, trauma, history, collective redemption, and Haitian diasporic identity in Haitian women’s writings such as in the fiction of Edwidge Danticat, Myriam Chancy, etc.

The chapters in this collection tell a story about the dynamics of the Vodou faith and the rich ways Vodou has molded the Haitian narrative and psyche. The contributors of this book examine this constructed narrative from a multicultural voice that engages critically the discipline of ethnomusicology, drama, performance, art, anthropology, ethnography, economics, literature, intellectual history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, religion, and theology. Vodou is also studied from multiple theoretical approaches including queer, feminist theory, critical race theory, Marxism, postcolonial criticism, postmodernism, and psychoanalysis.
Joseph and Cleophat offer to the field of Haitian Studies a very original, comprehensive and complex work that attempt to grasp Haitian Vodou in its complexities. The phenomenological, philosophical, theological, anthropological, sociological and literary approaches presented are all written according to the epistemological view of decoloniality, and consequently embraced pluriversalism instead universalism. Vodou in Haitian Memory… is an important and imaginative book for the intellectual understanding of Haitian Vodou in the post-secular age.