"The Earthquake and Religion: Facts and Fables of Haitian Experience"
Starts: April 28, 2010 at 6:00 PM
Ends: April 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Location: Washington 201
Event URL: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114098345291790
Contact: Lamar Brandon Shambley, 757-749-5062, firstname.lastname@example.org
William & Mary Supports Haiti is hosting an event entitled "The Earthquake and Religion: Facts and Fables of Haitian Experience". The guest speaker is anthropologist Karen Richman. A Question and Answer period and a small reception will follow. This event is going to be an opportunity to learn about the effects of the earthquake.
The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 took a devastating toll on property, resources and human life. An estimated 230,000 people died, 300,000 were injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The impacts of the earthquake on religious faith and practice are less clear. The lack of data on the religious implications of the earthquake, however, has not hampered the production of speculative claims about the role of exotic Vodou in Haitians' experience of the catastrophe. Some have asserted that the earthquake has tested Haitians' faith in their Vodou religion. They feel betrayed by their Vodou spirits for their failure to prevent the calamity. Large numbers of Haitians are, according to this logic, rejecting Vodou and converting in large numbers to Christianity, not only in response to the gods' failure to protect them from the disaster but also because of the exemplary role allegedly being played by Christian non-governmental organizations in the rescue and recovery. Such claims underscore the need for understanding the dynamic historical, cultural and religious contexts of the communities affected by the disaster as well as the need for accurate, factual information. This colloquium explores how Haitians' religious beliefs have influenced their perceptions of the earthquake. Our exchange will also consider whether and to what extent the earthquake has affected their religious beliefs and practice.