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 New World environments

In Fragments of Bone, thirteen essayists discuss African religions as forms of resistance and survival in the face of Western cultural hegemony and imperialism. The collection presents scholars working outside of the Western tradition with backgrounds in a variety of disciplines, genders, and nationalities. These experts draw on research, fieldwork, personal interviews, and spiritual introspection to support a provocative thesis: that fragments of ancestral traditions are fluidly interwoven into New World African religions as creolized rituals, symbolic systems, and cultural identities.

Contributors: Osei-Mensah Aborampah, Niyi Afolabi, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Randy P. Conner, T. J. Desch-Obi, Ina Johanna Fandrich, Kean Gibson, Marilyn Houlberg, Nancy B. Mikelsons, Roberto Nodal, Rafael Ocasio, Miguel "Willie" Ramos, and Denise Ferreira da Silva


"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, 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 is a professor emeritus of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of Haiti: The Breached Citadel and other books.

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