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Queerness in Haitian Vodou

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Eziaku Nwokocha is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. She is a scholar of Africana religions with expertise in the ethnographic study of Vodou in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Her research is grounded in gender and sexuality studies, visual and material culture and Africana Studies. She obtained a Ph.D. with distinction in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s degree in Theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Black studies and Feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Nwokocha is the author of Vodou en Vogue: Fashioning Black Divinities in Haiti and the United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2023), an ethnographic study of fashion, spirit possession, and gender and sexuality in contemporary Haitian Vodou, exploring Black religious communities through their innovative ceremonial practices. The book is featured within the series Where Religion Lives.

Nwokocha is currently working on her second book project which is tentatively entitled: “‘Tell My Spirit’: Black Queer Women in Haitian Vodou,” which investigates Black queer women’s interactions with Haitian Vodou divinities, their performance of ritual work, and their formation of religious communities in multiple locations including Montréal, Canada; Miami, Florida; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; Brooklyn, New York, and Northern California. She pays particular attention to spiritual possession, which serves as a site for subversive ritual performances that contest dominant national and regional discourses on sexuality, gender, and race.

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