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Ritual knowledge, virtual analysis : reading Vodou from the inside out

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Ritual knowledge, virtual analysis : reading Vodou from the inside out

Boutros, Alexandra (2001) Ritual knowledge, virtual analysis : reading Vodou from the inside out. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Vodou is a syncretic and hybrid religious tradition that generates unique understandings of concepts such as identity and home. This examination of Vodou practices in Montreal focuses on a growing number of new initiates and converts to the religion. These newcomers to Vodou have a complex relationship with a religious discourse that is often continuous with the historical and cultural specificity of Haiti, the birthplace of the Vodou tradition. The purpose of this analysis is to make a religious system of thought explicit by examining how the religion constitutes and reconstitutes the identity of its practitioners. Exploring how newcomers to the Vodou tradition both shape and are shaped by discourses transmitted through the language, literature and rituals of Vodou reveals a unique and fluid epistemology that is original to the Vodou tradition. What emerges in this self-reflexive and interdisciplinary analysis is the realisation that Vodou posits ways of understanding the world that differ substantially from ways of knowing embraced by the academy. The ease with which the discourses of Vodou empower practitioners to concurrently encompass seemingly conflicted identities disrupts standard and dichotomous perceptions of identity. In addition, the knowledge generated and disseminated through the lwa (gods) of the tradition shapes the way in which new Vodouists understand the world and their place in it. Sometimes this conception of the world opposes the one generated by academic discourse. This thesis illustrates the dialogue and tension between these divergent ways of knowing.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Boutros, Alexandra
Pagination:vi, 156 p. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2001
Thesis Supervisor(s):Joseph, Norma
ID Code:1513
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:20
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:21
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