“We are the mirror of your fears”: Haitian Identity and Zombification

Franck Degoul

in Better Off Dead

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234462
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241255 | DOI:
“We are the mirror of your fears”: Haitian Identity and Zombification

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This chapter presents findings of fieldwork, conducted in Haiti from 2001 to 2003, on the contemporary folklore of the phenomenon of zombification. The chapter illustrates that the myth of the zombie is used to constitute a sense of national identity, that the witchdoctors wield zombification, or the threat of it, as a kind of weapon of the imaginary. Using evidence collected, such as interviews with practitioners of Vodou, and personal experiences in the field, this chapter illustrates that, among a certain segment of the population, the zombie is reconstituted in the popular Haitian vernacular as a site of resistance to foreign aggression, rather than a means of denigrating the people as uncivilized.

Keywords: Haiti; folklore; voodoo; zombie; zombification; magic; resistance; anthropology

Chapter.  6433 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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