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Thread: Exploring the History of Vodou in Haiti from the 1804 Revolution to the 2010 Earthqua

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    Exploring the History of Vodou in Haiti from the 1804 Revolution to the 2010 Earthqua

    Exploring the History of Vodou in Haiti from the 1804 Revolution to the 2010 Earthquake


    University of Miami Associate Professor Kate Ramsey‘s The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti has been awarded the 2011-2012 Association of Caribbean Historians Elsa Goveia Prize; this book prize is awarded once every two years.

    The book examines the history and legacies of penal and ecclesiastical laws against popular ritual practices in Haiti and has also received the Berkshire Conference Book Prize and has been reviewed on The Huffington Post.

    Vodou has often served as a scapegoat for Haiti’s problems, from political upheavals to natural disasters. This tradition of scapegoating stretches back to the nation’s founding and forms part of a contest over the legitimacy of the religion, both beyond and within Haiti’s borders. The Spirits and the Lawexamines that vexed history, asking why, from 1835 to 1987, Haiti banned many popular ritual practices. 

To find out, Ramsey begins with the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath. Fearful of an independent black nation inspiring similar revolts, the United States, France, and the rest of Europe ostracized Haiti. Successive Haitian governments, seeking to counter the image of Haiti as primitive as well as contain popular organization and leadership, outlawed “spells” and, later, “superstitious practices.” While not often strictly enforced, these laws were at times the basis for attacks on Vodou by the Haitian state, the Catholic Church, and occupying U.S. forces. Beyond such offensives, Ramsey argues that in prohibiting practices considered essential for maintaining relations with the spirits, anti-Vodou laws reinforced the political marginalization, social stigmatization, and economic exploitation of the Haitian majority.

    At the same time, she examines the ways communities across Haiti evaded, subverted, redirected, and shaped enforcement of the laws. Analyzing the long genealogy of anti-Vodou rhetoric, Ramsey thoroughly dissects claims that the religion has impeded Haiti’s development. 

Profesor Ramsey works on Caribbean history and culture with a particular focus on Haiti. Her research and teaching interests include the politics of law, religion, and performance in the Caribbean; the genealogy of the concept of “magic” under colonialism; Caribbean intellectual history and social movements; histories of health and healing; and the relationship between anthropology and history.

    Ramsey is co-coordinator of the Haiti Research Group through the Miami Consortium for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Prior to arriving at UM, she was the recipient of postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Forum and Yale University’s Center for Religion and American Life.

    For the original report go to Exploring the History of Vodou in Haiti from the 1804 Revolution to the 2010 Earthquake | WLRN
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

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    Girl Crush Mrs. Campbell's Avatar Mrs. Campbell is offline
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    Our Queen went to sleep, her people left to weep....in song she lives on.



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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Its funny that ppl still can't see that. Not only regarding Haiti..I remember after the SE Asian Tsunami and earthquakes ppl were saying that it was because of non christian/idolaters etc and I'm thinking are you ppl serious? Regurgitating the very nonsense that was the excuse used by savages to take land and enslave ppl all over the world? SMH
    Socapro and Mrs. Campbell like this.
    "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." -Plato

    "god is the deification of a culture."
    -Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan

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    Girl Crush Mrs. Campbell's Avatar Mrs. Campbell is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacchanalDiva View Post
    Its funny that ppl still can't see that. Not only regarding Haiti..I remember after the SE Asian Tsunami and earthquakes ppl were saying that it was because of non christian/idolaters etc and I'm thinking are you ppl serious? Regurgitating the very nonsense that was the excuse used by savages to take land and enslave ppl all over the world? SMH
    *hugs* my favoritest imix mommy.
    Our Queen went to sleep, her people left to weep....in song she lives on.



    Long Live the Queen!

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    Registered User BacchanalDiva's Avatar BacchanalDiva is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chinks View Post
    *hugs* my favoritest imix mommy.
    Hugs back to my dahlin
    "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." -Plato

    "god is the deification of a culture."
    -Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan

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