The majority of Americans today closely associate the term “Voodoo” with satanism, witchcraft and barbaric sacrifice. Yet, far from these illformed depictions and misconceptions— which first took root through the western dominance of 18th century colonial Haiti and have been perpetuated through mediums of popular culture ever since—a closer look at Haitian Vodou will illuminate that the spiritual practice transcends religion alone and should be better recognized as the very mechanism of unity that spurred AfroCaribbean independence via the Haitian Revolution of 1791. This paper explores not only the ways in which Haitian Vodou has been intentionally demonized throughout history in order to maintain western supremacy, but also scrutinizes Vodou as a product of transnationalism. Attempting to highlight the ways in which the evolving religion has shaped both the inhabitants of New Orleans throughout the twenty and twentyfirst centuries, as well as Haitian migrants postrevolution, this essay serves as a framework for rediscovering Vodou as more than a misunderstood religion.
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EKO HAITI Research Hub is a research and knowledge mobilization platform focused on creative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research and associated research-based learning. We aim to become the intellectual “home” for research about Haiti by creating and providing open access to the largest crowdsourced research archive dedicated to Haiti, by fostering cross-disciplinary research and innovation, and by providing support for progressive research in the form of contextual expertise and training.
“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”
Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding
Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.
> Transcripts archive
" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "
The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.
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