Cover for BELLEGARDE-SMITH: Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World. Click for larger image

Fragments of Bone

Neo-African Religions in a New World

African religions as adapted and recontextualized in various New World environments

Fragments of Bone discusses African religions as forms of resistance and survival in the face of Western cultural hegemony and imperialism. The collection is unique in presenting the voices of scholars primarily outside of the Western tradition, speaking on the issues they regard as important. Bellegarde-Smith, himself a priest in the Haitian Vodou religion, brings together thirteen contributors from different disciplines, genders, and nationalities.

Fragments of Bone draws on an impressive range of sources including research, fieldwork, personal interviews, and spiritual introspection to support the provocative thesis that the fragments of the ancestral traditions are fluidly interwoven in the New World African religions as creolized rituals, symbolic systems, and cultural identities.

"Fragments of Bone, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith's collection of essays on religions that developed out of the experience of chattel slavery and colonialism, takes the reader to a deeper and broader understanding of Afro-Caribbean traditions than we have had before. . . . The cumulative effect of this unusual collection moves religions such as Vodou, Santeria, Palo, and Candomblé out of the realm of the exotic and into a merited position among progressive religious alternatives in the contemporary world."--Karen McCarthy Brown, author of Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn

"Impeccably researched, persuasively argued, and engagingly written. . . . This is the most comprehensive, creative collection available, and should become the standard text for courses on the subject in the United States and abroad."--Richard Brent Turner, professor of African American World Studies and Religious Studies, University of Iowa

"This is a rare and important work. Fragments of Bone makes major progress toward reconstructing and rehabilitating historically subjugated indigenous spirituality. It is innovative, informative, and of the utmost significance."--Claudine Michel, author of Aspects moraux et educatifs du Vodou haitien

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is the author of Haiti: The Breached Citadel and other books.

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