Eziaku Atuama Nwokocha, “Vodou en Vogue: Fashioning Black Divinities in Haiti and the United States” (UNC Press, 2023)

In Haitian Vodou, spirits impact Black practitioners’ everyday lives, tightly connecting the sacred and the secular. As Eziaku Atuama Nwokocha reveals in Vodou En Vogue: Fashioning Black Divinities in Haiti and the United States (UNC Press, 2023), that connection is manifest in the dynamic relationship between public religious ceremonies, material aesthetics, bodily adornment, and spirit possession. Nwokocha spent more than a decade observing Vodou ceremonies from Montreal and New York to Miami and Port-au-Prince. She engaged particularly with a Haitian practitioner and former fashion designer, Manbo Maude, who presided over Vodou temples in Mattapan, Massachusetts, and Jacmel, Haiti. With vivid description and nuanced analysis, Nwokocha shows how Manbo Maude’s use of dress and her production of ritual garments are key to serving Black gods and illuminate a larger transnational economy of fashion and spiritual exchange.

Eziaku Atuama Nwokocha is assistant professor of religion at the University of Miami.

Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).

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