Nation Dance

Nation Dance

Religion, Identity, and Cultural Difference in the Caribbean
Edited by Patrick Taylor
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/18/2001
Format: Paperback 1 b&w photos, 1 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21431-7
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Dealing with the ongoing interaction of rich and diverse cultural traditions from Cuba and Jamaica to Guyana and Surinam, Nation Dance addresses some of the major contemporary issues in the study of Caribbean religion and identity. The book’s three sections move from a focus on spirituality and healing, to theology in social and political context, and on to questions of identity and diaspora.

The book begins with the voices of female practitioners and then offers a broad, interdisciplinary examination of Caribbean religion and culture. Afro-Caribbean religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all addressed, with specific reflections on Santería, Palo Monte, Vodou, Winti, Obeah, Kali Mai, Orisha work, Spiritual Baptist faith, Spiritualism, Rastafari, Confucianism, Congregationalism, Pentecostalism, Catholicism, and liberation theology. Some essays are based on fieldwork, archival research, and textual or linguistic analysis, while others are concerned with methodological or theoretical issues. Contributors include practitioners and scholars, some very established in the field, others with fresh, new approaches; all of them come from the region or have done extensive fieldwork or research there. In these essays the poetic vitality of the practitioner’s voice meets the attentive commitment of the postcolonial scholar in a dance of "nations" across the waters.

Author Bio

Patrick Taylor is Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities and in the Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought at York University, Toronto. He is past Deputy Director of the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean and Editor-in-Chief of the Caribbean Religions Project. Author of The Narrative of Liberation: Perspectives on Afro-Caribbean Literature, Popular Culture and Politics and co-editor of Forging Identities and Patterns of Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, his articles have appeared in Callaloo, Studies in Religion, and other scholarly journals and books


“Nation Dance addresses the ongoing interplay of diverse spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions across the Caribbean from an interdisciplinary perspective. Essays in the volume pay close attention to issues of voice and representation, historical and social context, and identity and difference.

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Table of Contents


Dancing the Nation: An Introduction
Patrick Taylor

I. Spirituality, Healing and the Divine
1. Across the Waters: Practitioners Speak
Eva Fernandez, Yvonne B. Drakes, Deloris Seiveright
2. How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land? Constructing the Divine in Caribbean Contexts
Althea Prince
3. Communicating with our Gods: The Language of Winti
Petronella Breinburg
4. The Intersemiotics of Obeah and Kali Mai in Guyana
Frederick Ivor Case
5. Religions of African Origin in Cuba: A Gender Perspective
María Margarita Castro Flores

II. Theology, Society and Politics
6. Sheba’s Song: The Bible, the Kebra Nagast and the Rastafari
Patrick Taylor
7. Themes from West Indian Church History in Colonial and Post-Colonial Times
Arthur C. Dayfoot
8. Congregationalism and Afro-Guyanese Autonomy
Juanita de Barros
9. Eden After Eve: Christian Fundamentalism and Women in Barbados
Judith Soares
10. Current Evolution of Relations Between Religion and Politics in Haiti
Laënnec Hurbon

III. Religion, Identity and Diaspora
11. Jamaican Diasporic Identity: The Metaphor of Yaad
Barry Chevannes
12. Identity, Personhood and Religion in Caribbean Context
Abrahim H. Khan
13. Sanfancón: Orientalism, Self-Orientalization and "Chinese Religion" in Cuba
Frank F. Scherer
14. The Diasporic Mo(ve)ment: Indentureship and Indo-Caribbean Identity
Sean Lokaisingh-Meighoo

Caribbean Religions: A Selected Bibliography