Paper presented for the 2015 Sociology and Anthropology Seminar Series at the University of Newcastle

New Orleans Voodoo: A Discursive and Semiotic Exploration of a House of Voodoo

New Orleans Voodoo is a religion that originated from the ancestral religions of the African diaspora and survived for many years under the guise of Catholicism. This paper will present an examination of the historical discourses around the supposedly violent and libidinous nature of Voodoo practice. These discourses will then be contemporised with qualitative accounts of actual beliefs and practices. In order to do so I will be discussing current understandings of contemporary Voodoo practice in New Orleans through an in-depth exploration of a single ‘House of Voodoo’. This talk will explore how Voodoo beliefs and practices resist the over-arching discourses of race and patriarchy. Further, I will draw upon and contemporise existing academic work by focusing on the role of women in Voodoo and exploring the religious symbolism, concepts and language used in Voodoo ceremonies. If you would like a copy of this paper please contact me: emma.quilty@newcastle.edu.au

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