Haitian Vodou and voodoo: Imagined religion and popular culture

Citation:

McGee A. Haitian Vodou and voodoo: Imagined religion and popular culture. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. 2012;41 (2) :231-56.

Abstract:

Vodou is frequently invoked as a cause of Haiti’s continued impoverishment. While scholarly arguments have been advanced for why this is untrue, Vodou is persistently plagued by a poor reputation. This is buttressed, in part, by the frequent appearance in popular culture of the imagined religion of ‘‘voodoo.’’ Vodou and voodoo have entwined destinies, and Vodou will continue to suffer from ill repute as long as voodoo remains an outlet for the expression of racist anxieties. The enduring appeal of voodoo is analyzed through its uses in touristic culture, film, television, and literature. Particular attention is given to the genre of horror movies, in which voodoo’s connections with violence against whites and hypersexuality are exploited to produce both terror and arousal.