Gradhiva n°1


Haiti and anthropology

Spring 2005

Edited and presented by Carlo A. Célius. 

The first issue of the new series of Gradhiva is devoted to anthropology in Haiti: its origins, role, recent developments and future. This 272-page double issue evokes the close relationship between anthropology and Haiti’s multiform culture, through the work of Haitian painters, historians, writers and ethnologists. The file analyses the development of a Haitian anthropology necessarily linked to racial questions and the country’s unique political situation, thereby helping readers to better understand the political and cultural complexity of contemporary Haitian society. It is enriched by a wealth of hitherto unpublished archive material, including documents by Michel Leiris and Alfred Métraux, both of whom were fascinated by Voodoo. The « Haiti and anthropology » file is edited by Carlo Avierl Celius, Professor of comparative history at the Université de Laval.

Two basic texts complement the special issue, one by Marcel Detienne on comparative studies in anthropology and in history, the other – along with an interview by Jean-Luc Bonniol – relates René Depestre’s account of his experiences in Haiti.


Studies and essays

  • Comparable things in political arena. Between us, ethnologists and historians , by Marcel Detienne.
  • France and Haiti : myth and reality , by René Depestre, followed by an interview with René Depestre by Jean-Luc Bonniol. 

Special issue: Haiti and anthropology

  • Cheminement anthropologique en Haïti, by Carlo A. Célius.
  • Freeing the double. Beauty will be convulsive: on a collection of vodoo Art, by Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique.
  • Creation in the plastic arts and the "ethnological turning point" in Haiti, by Carlo A. Célius.
  • Anténor Firmin and Haïti's contribution to anthropology, by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban.
  • Anthropology, politics and social engagement : the experience of ethnological bureau in Haïti, by Rachelle Charlier-Doucet.
  • Haiti and the Anthropological Imagination, by Gérarde Magloire and Kevin A. Yelvington.
  • The status of vodoo and the history of anthropology, by Laënnec Hurbon.
  • Prohibition, persecution and performance : anthropology and the penalization of Vodou in the Mid-Twentieth Century, by Kate Ramsey.
  • From on island to the other: Alfred Métraux in Haïti, by Christine Laurière.
  • Art creation and the ethnological turn in Haïti, by Carlo Avierl Célius.
  • A sad playground: on international adoptions, by Chantal Collard.

Documents and materials

  • Missed date with the vodoo, by Jean Jamin.
  • Sacrifice d'un taureau, by Michel Leiris.
  • « Trésors de veillées » : les contes haïtiens, recueillis by Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain, by Kathleen Gyssels.
  • « Croyances religieuses populaires en Haïti », radio lecture followed by two letters , by Jacques Roumain, collected and presented by Christine Laurière.
  • « Mes amis les paysans de Marbial », previously unpublished article and letter to Benoît Lévi, by Alfred Métraux, collected and presented by Christine Laurière.

Scientific column