African Vodun in the Age of Globalization

Westerners’ knowledge of Africa typically includes images of safaris, poverty, and of course, “tribal” religion, with all of its racist connotations of “primitiveness.” Among African religions, Beninese Vodun holds a prominent place as the precursor of Caribbean Vodou and North American Voodoo.

Africanist Anthropology Has a Lot to Offer

I knelt on the stiff prayer mat in silence. The keeper of this shrine in southern Togo had asked me to lead prayers and propitiations to the tron (spirits) that morning. I had never before been expected to make formal, public praise to the spirits. I felt unsure and self-conscious. “But I’m Catholic,” I said, lamely attempting to withdraw.