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Read "Voodoo in Haiti" by Alfred Métraux available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. Voodoo in Haiti is a masterwork of. Voodoo in Haiti is a masterwork of observation and description by one of the most distinguished anthropologists of the twentieth century. Alfred Métraux. Alfred Metraux. an admirable narrative description of the native religion of Haiti. He painstakingly traces the origins of Voodoo from the religious beliefs This content downloaded from on Sat, 13 Jul UTC.
Thus, in fact, the years when Haitian culture was first emerging as a major object of anthropological study both domestically and internationally were actually a period of prolonged penalization and persecution for many who served the Vodou spirits. Rather, I am interested in studying the larger questions raised by the fact that the prohibition and persecution of popular ritual practices during and just after the US occupation seemed to become the occasion for their staged reenactment — in some instances strategically instigated by practitioners and in others, coerced and even performed by the authorities themselves.
They also encouraged the exploitation of this law among others in the Haitian legal Codes in exacting labor and information from local communities.
He is pictured in his striped prison uniform, seated on a hard-back chair, a conical drum angled between his knees, hands poised to strike the drum head a moment later — an image that documents succinctly, I think, how the prohibition and persecution of popular religious practices during the occupation became at times the occasion for their coerced, displaced reenactment.
Armour, the American minister, shortly before noon, and we went over at once. He is Thus, Herskovits advised the woman whose family had been denied permission, to approach the lieutenant again, and this time, presumably on behalf of the intervention of the visiting researchers, authorization was granted.
Whatever you did, it worked wonders. The ceremony for which permission was desired was quite an important one, lasting four days, and we were able to see everything; more than that, it established our position here as nothing else could have done. Yet to a greater extent than Herskovits or any of his several American colleagues working in Haiti during the mids, Simpson built discussion of the existing penal regime against Vodou — and, notably, its tightened enforcement at the time of his fieldwork — into his published work on Haitian popular religion Such disclaimers highlight what must have been the ambiguous position of the several white male American researchers who worked in rural Haiti as the Marine occupation was ending, and in the years thereafter His own research interest lay not, primarily, in studies of ritual, but rather in pre-Columbian archeology, and his stakes in organizing the Bureau seem to have focused on protecting and preserving this heritage in Haiti This may seem paradoxical, yet of course, the idea of recording for posterity what is presumed to be vanishing has long been an incentive for ethnographic research and representation.
While Roumain does not specify how he worked with Abraham in researching his article and makes no mention of relying on staged reenactments of the kind that Simpson describes, his close, technical descriptions of ritual movement and dance, as evidenced in the passage quoted above, suggest that they may have figured as part of his research process as well.
Quoted in Kate Ramse As they [informants] danced in front of us, we would analyze the steps, trying to see what they meant, trying to see the background, and the interpenetration of the songs and rhythms.
With the support of Denis, Abraham assembled a group of about a dozen performers, mostly women, drawn from his own sosyete in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Fort Saint Clair Of course, the elder Duvalier exploited the iconography of Vodou, and Later in the s, Emmanuel C. While the decriminalization of popular religious rituals seems implicit to this project, Paul does not make specific reference to it.
Born of the assumption that Haitian popular religious belief and practice was external to and incompatible with Western modernity, this view translated, professionally, into collection and documentation rather than advocacy.
Port-au-Prince, Imprimerie Henri Deschamps. Chicago, University of Chicago Press 1st ed.
Herskovits, Melville J. Garden City, Doubleday and Co. Paris, Gallimard. Carnets de notes et journaux de voyage. Paris, Payot. Paul, Emmanuel C.
Specific locational origins aside, I ask one to consider what religion--be it eastern or western, pagan or monotheistic, animist or anthropomorphic--doesn't fit this exact description? My argument: that religion is a series of metaphors created by a society in order to help them find healing and meaning--has no bearing on any religious "reality".
All religions, Christianity included, hinge on belief; they are to be experienced and interpreted individually. Metraux doesn't see it this way.
For him, Vodou isn't a religion because only Christianity could be taken seriously enough to be a religion. I won't lay into this too much.
The fact is that I believe true insight comes only when one believes in the subject matter. This is as true in literature as it is in religion. Can someone who never really enjoyed reading--Faulkner, Joyce, DFW, Pynchon, etc--really be a good judge of what that author is trying to say?
Metraux needs his anthropologist credential to give himself objectivity, but it turns out to be a shield between himself and the society he is studying and isn't a bit strange to study a society as if they were microbes and not people? Isn't that missing the point to start with? Some may disagree with my conclusion about Metraux.
While a certain disinterested view of religion can be beneficial--in that this view will allow others to formulate their own opinions--at a certain point one loses the ability to explain that which one does not believe in.The slave-owner's philosophy was work the Voodoo traditions have their roots in Dahomean beliefs Kingdom of Dahomey, modern day Benin , as well as other civilizations in the area.
Suddenly become friendliness itself, she greets those present and showers them with polite remarks.
They show signs of forgetfulness or negligence which contradict their divine personalities. Further attributes follow along this dichotomy.
Maladi lwa, afflictions by lwa, are therefore kinds of relational disease. The fact is that I believe true insight comes only when one believes in the subject matter.
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