Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing


The authors of this outstanding collection share the refreshing ambition to historicize local knowledge and to embrace the opacity and persisting mystique of Caribbean spiritual realities – from the colonial occult to enchanted modernities

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Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing

In Obeah and Other Powers, historians and anthropologists consider how marginalized spiritual traditions – such as obeah, Vodou, and Santeria – have been understood and represented across the Caribbean since the seventeenth century.

In essays focused on Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider Anglophone Caribbean, the contributors explore the fields of power within which Caribbean religions have been produced, modified, appropriated, and policed. The “other powers” of the book’s title have helped to shape or attempted to curtail, Caribbean religions and healing practices.

These powers include those of capitalism and colonialism. Of states that criminalize some practices and legitimize others. As well as those of occupying armies that rewrite constitutions and reorient economies.

Also of writers, filmmakers, and scholars who represent Caribbean practices both to those with little knowledge of the region and to those who live there. And, not least, of the millions of people in the Caribbean whose relationships with one another, as well as with capital and the state, have long been mediated and experienced through religious formations and discourses.


Duke University Press

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