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Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas$
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Henry Goldschmidt and Elizabeth McAlister

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195149181.001.0001

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The Jew in the Haitian Imagination

The Jew in the Haitian Imagination

A Popular History of Anti-Judaism and Proto-Racism

Chapter:
(p.61) 2 The Jew in the Haitian Imagination
Source:
Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas
Author(s):

Elizabeth McAlister (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195149181.003.0003

This essay explores the contemporary legacies of colonial religious discourses, by examining how participants in Haiti’s annual Rara festival—a Lenten carnival and public performance of Haitian Vodou—at once inherit and transform the anti-Jewish sentiments of the clergy in colonial Saint Domingue. Through an active identification with the Jews who “killed Jesus,” disenfranchised Haitians reinvent the European demonization of Jews and Africans, deconstructing colonial religious categories from within, in order to craft rituals of resistance to their country’s predominantly Catholic and mulatto elites.

Keywords:   Haiti, Rara, Vodou, Catholicism, Jews, colonialism, anti-Judaism, proto-racism, Lenten carnival, rituals of resistance

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