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LE POUVOIR MORAL ET SPIRITUEL DES FEMMES DANS LE VODOU HAÏTIEN: LA VOIX DE MAMA LOLA ET DE KAREN MCCARTHY BROWN

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The article attempts to interpret morality in Haitian Vodou by illustrating its ethical framework in the day-to-day realities of its followers. In so doing, I demonstrate how Vodou as a living system of belief and practice has historically served as the informal infrastructure for morality in Haiti. To this end, I draw upon the work of Karen McCarthy Brown whose work on Mama Lola, a Haitian priestess living in Brooklyn, is an insightful venture into the heart of this widely misunderstood religious and social system. Furthermore, this essay offers the perspective of a very distinctive single voice which emerges from the long and complex dialogue between the multiple voices of the researcher/observer/participant and the manyfaceted voices of the priestess/informant. Their diverse perspectives and individual utterances fuse successfully in a powerful articulation of feminist intervention and cultural understanding. Their lives and their work clearly establish how the Haitian religion empowers women and how the manbo subtly manifests Haitian female power.

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