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The Vodou Archive: Curating and Sharing the Sources of Vodou Religion and Culture

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For more information, contact:
Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Assistant Professor in Haitian Creole, Haitian & Francophone Studies
University of Florida
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
363 Dauer Hall
PO Box 115565
Gainesville, FL 32611-5565
Office phone: (352) 273-3762
Email: hebble@ufl.edu
Home page for Haitian Creole & Haitian Studies: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/hebble/


NEH-funded Project: Archive of Haitian Religion and Culture: Collaborative Research and Scholarship on Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora

Project Team
Principle Investigators: Benjamin Hebblethwaite & Laurent Dubois
University of Florida Team: Andrew Tarter, Wilmide Vernet, Musset Apollon
Duke University Team: Deborah Jenson, Jacques Pierre, Christy Mobley
Contributors: Jérôme Soimaud, Karen Richman, Kate Ramsey, Lois Wilcken, Maria van Daalen, Raphaël Confiant
Librarians: Laurie N. Taylor, Brooke Wooldridge, Mark Sullivan, Holly Ackerman, Richard Freeman, Margarita-Vargas Betancourt, Richard Phillips, Matthew Loving, Lois Widmer, Randall Renner, Bess de Farber

Announced in August 2012: University of Florida and Duke University researchers and librarians have spearheaded a collaborative partnership project which has been awarded $240,804 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This is the second largest award in Florida (and one of only 5 major grants awarded in the state) and one of 244 nationally this year. The Archive of Haitian Religion and Culture: Collaborative Research and Scholarship on Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora grant, led by project director Benjamin Hebblethwaite (UF) and co-director Laurent Dubois (Duke) will improve the understanding of a central Haitian and Haitian-American spiritual tradition, the Vodou religion, by gathering the audiovisual and textual sources of communities, by interpreting the collected materials, by expanding the holdings through a self-submission tool, and by diffusing the knowledge via an open access digital library hosted within the existing Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC; www.dloc.com).

The Archive of Haitian Religion and Culture: Collaborative Research and Scholarship on Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora project is part of a tradition of scholarly work stretching back to the early 20th century that has sought to counter reductionist and racist visions of Vodou religion through ethnography, analysis of culture and music, and an exploration of the role of religion in Haiti’s founding revolution (1791-1803). Such work has long turned to the central texts of worship which are Haitian Creole language songs. This three-year project will create a freely accessible multimedia digital library that uses audiovisual technologies to curate, elucidate and facilitate the advanced search of the rich primary materials of a central Haitian and Haitian-American spiritual tradition in order to promote discovery and educate a broad public. This project will provide content online for scholars and the public in the form of:

  • Audiovisual content available as sound, photographic or video footage that will be transcribed, translated, subtitled and explicated
  • Textual content available as facsimile, updated modernizations and translations
  • Critical syntheses such as commentary, exegesis, etymology, etc., available in English
  • New works obtained through the Digital Library of the Caribbean’s self-submission tool

This project’s 29 different primary and interpretative materials will be presented at the first-of-its-kind Vodou Archive digital library which is dedicated to “curating and sharing the sources of Vodou religion and culture.”

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