Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Albert Wuaku

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Christine Gudorf

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Ana-Maria Bidegain

Date of Defense

3-30-2012

Abstract

This study argues that as far as Haitian immigrants in Miami are concerned, issues of identity and health are interconnected. This stems from a Haitian understanding that sees health as the totality of wellbeing—material and spiritual. These two concerns merged in the creation of Halouba Hounfo, a ritual space in Little Haiti, where Haitian immigrants meet to produce and perform identity through Vodou ritual practices and meet their health needs at the same time.

Using ethnography, the study traces the origins of Halouba, identifies the actors involved in its creation and the ritual practices performed there. It also analyzes how the rituals facilitate the integration of the group and produce health for them at the same time. As Haitians migrate to America, Vodou is becoming more relevant in their lives, even for American born Haitians because of the pressing need to respond to questions of identity and health.

Identifier

FI12050126

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