New Book—“Istwa across the Water: Haitian History, Memory, and the Cultural Imagination”


Istwa across the Water: Haitian History, Memory, and the Cultural Imagination (University Press of Florida, 2017) by Toni Pressley-Sanon explores Haitian Vodoun in its broader contexts—sociological, historical, psychological, philosophical, aesthetic—as methodology, liberatory tool, and approach to existence.

Claudine Michel (editor, Journal of Haitian Studies) writes: “Pressley-Sanon’s important book demonstrates that Haitian Vodou is a serious enterprise with its own phenomenology and epistemologies, and that the religion’s unique pragmatic dimensions offer initiatory answers to otherwise unanswerable questions about Haiti’s past, present, and future. A must read.”

LeGrace Benson (author of Arts and Religions of Haiti: How the Sun Illuminates Under Cover of Darkness) says that the book “reveals an impressively rich cultural landscape inhabited by women and men whose legendary resilience in the face of adversity clothes a ferocious dedication to their identity as free people.”

Toni Pressley-Sanon, assistant professor of African and African American studies at Eastern Michigan University, is the author of The Haitian Peasantry through Oral and Written Literature.

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