New York University Press is about to release the second and much expanded edition of Creole Religions of the Caribbean, which I published first in 2003 with my dear colleague Margarite Fernández Olmos. It has a new preface by Joseph M. Murphy and a cool new cover.
Here’s the description from the publisher:
Creolization—the coming together of diverse beliefs and practices to form new beliefs and practices—is one of the most significant phenomena in Caribbean religious history. Brought together in the crucible of the sugar plantation, Caribbean peoples drew on the variants of Christianity brought by European colonizers, as well as on African religious and healing traditions and the remnants of Amerindian practices, to fashion new systems of belief.
Creole Religions of the Caribbean offers a comprehensive introduction to the syncretic religions that have developed in the region. From Vodou, Santer’a, Regla de Palo, the Abakuá Secret Society, and Obeah to Quimbois and Espiritismo, the volume traces the historical–cultural origins of the major Creole religions, as well as the newer traditions such as Pocomania and Rastafarianism. This second edition updates the scholarship on the religions themselves and also expands the regional considerations of the Diaspora to the U. S. Latino community who are influenced by Creole spiritual practices. Fernández Olmos and Paravisini–Gebert also take into account the increased significance of material culture—art, music, literature—and healing practices influenced by Creole religions.
And here are some comments from early reviewers:
“Fernández Olmos and Paravisini-Gebert write with evident expertise, keen to uphold our understandings of how the major Creole spiritualities—everything from Vodou to Rastafari—have always dynamically adapted to change to ensure their survival and flourishing. This second edition is, in short, an extraordinarily rich work for scholars and students alike; it is certain to become the field’s standard text.”
“Brings to life the living and lively religious traditions of Caribbean peoples. This new edition offers to scholars and students of Caribbean religions and cultures an illuminating introduction to religious continuity, change, and creativity in the Caribbean region in the past 500 years, especially among the Afro-Caribbean population.”
“Offers a unique perspective on Caribbean religions and provides well-reasoned explanations for the diverse ways in which African religious traditions were adapted to a new cultural milieu in the diaspora…. A brilliant book and a significant contribution to the literature on Caribbean religions. In short, it leaves no stone unturned.”