Payton, Claire. 2013. Vodou and Protestantism, Faith and Survival: The Contest over the Spiritual Meaning of the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti. Oral History Review. Advance online publication, no page numbers.
Abstract: This article explores the spiritual dimension of the Haitian earthquake of January 12, 2010, and argues that some of the quake’s most profound reverberations occurred at the level of the spirit. Drawing from oral histories with survivors of the disaster, it reveals that Protestantism and the Catholic-Vodou traditions, which are often seen as being diametrically opposed to each other, actually overlap and influence one another. The development of the Haiti Memory Project, an oral history initiative aimed at documenting the impact and implications of the earthquake among Haiti’s popular classes, is also described. Interviews for this project were conducted in Haitian Kreyòl, French, and English. This article features two embedded audio excerpts (one in French, the other in Haitian Kreyòl), as well as a hyperlink to supplementary audio excerpts, that allow readers to experience the multilingual nature of the project. Additionally, hyperlinks allowing online access to three full interviews from the collection appear at the end of the article.
McAlister, Elizabeth. 2012. “From Slave Revolt to a Blood Pact with Satan: The Evangelical Rewriting of Haitian History” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 42(2) [Pagination not available – Pre-publication electronic distribution]
Abstract: Enslaved Africans and Creoles in the French colony of Saint-Domingue are said to have gathered at a nighttime meeting at a place called Bois Caïman in what was both political rally and religious ceremony, weeks before the Haitian Revolution in 1791. The slave ceremony is known in Haitian history as a religio-political event and used frequently as a source of inspiration by nationalists, but in the 1990s, neo-evangelicals rewrote the story of the famous ceremony as a “blood pact with Satan.” This essay traces the social links and biblical logics that gave rise first to the historical record, and then to the neo-evangelical rewriting of this iconic moment. It argues that the confluence of the bicentennial of the Haitian Revolution with the political contest around President Aristide’s policies, the growth of the neo-evangelical Spiritual Mapping movement, and of the Internet, produced a new form of mythmaking, in which neo-evangelicals re-signified key symbols of the event—an oath to a divine force, blood sacrifice, a tree, and group unity—from the mythical grammar of Haitian nationalism to that of neo-evangelical Christianity. In the many ironies of this clash between the political afterlife of a slave uprising with the political afterlife of biblical scripture, Haiti becomes a nation held in captivity, and Satan becomes the colonial power who must be overthrown.