Call for Papers: September 23, 2021/” Religions for Peace, Democracy, and Mutual Understanding: Vodou and Christianity in Interreligious Dialogue”

Call for Papers: Extended deadline: September 23, 2021

“Religions for Peace, Democracy, and Mutual Understanding: Vodou and Christianity in Interreligious Dialogue”

by Drs. Celucien L. Joseph, Charlene Désir, and Lewis A. Clormeus (eds)


Scholars, researchers, and faith practitioners have characterized the history of Haiti’s two dominant religious traditions: Christianity—both Protestant and Catholic— and Vodou as antagonistic, conflicting, and unproductive, and a lack of mutual understanding. Historically and practically, the problem between these two faith traditions lies in the resistance of the two groups to build bridges and constructive channels toward mutual understanding and peace, and to engage in interfaith dialogue and participate in interreligious collaboration and partnership. These pivotal concerns not only had had a tremendous impact on nation-building in Haiti; they have weakened Haitian democracy, challenged the importance of religious freedom and expression, and delayed human development and flourishing in society.

This book project on religions for peace, democracy, and mutual understanding in Haiti is premised on a two-fold interrelated question: how can faith leaders and practitioners of both traditions unite to speak and act together and to build strong communities in Haiti and improve the human condition for all Haitian citizens? How can these faith leaders and practitioners of both traditions mobilize and join hands to fight violence, injustice, and corruption in Haiti, and to hold together public events, including press conferences, networking events, award ceremonies, charity events, fundraising events, conventions, public dialogues, and interfaith trainings—leading to the advancement of a truly democratic life and the safeguarding of religious rights and freedom?

There are three philosophical and practical ideas underlying this book project: (1) it is grounded on the belief that religion has value, and it could bring social goods to different communities and enhance human dignity and justice; (2) it is premised on the idea that dialogue and cooperation are necessary for nation-building and human development (as democratic ideals), and that one of the leading functions of the world’s religious traditions is to promote both cooperation and dialogue through mutual understanding and for the common good; and (3) that the power and public role of religion (i.e. Vodou, Christianity) in society can be used as a major force of unification and peace-building among divergent factions and schools of thought, and to promote reconciliation, mutual respect, and friendship in the world.


The aims and objectives of this book on interreligious dialogue between Vodou and Christianity in Haiti could be summarized into a five-fold objective or purpose:


(1) promote dialogue, understanding, and a sense of belonging and to work collaboratively to foster cultural, social, educational, and economic progress and justice through Haiti’s faith traditions in collaboration with other organizations and institutions.

(2) use the wisdom, principles, and teachings of both religions to strengthen democracy, eradicate poverty and violence in Haiti, and to improve the country’s civil and political societies toward a more just community.

(3) work together through the ethics of coalition-building and interrelationality to produce constructive religious literature and curriculum about both Vodou and Christianity and engage in sustaining interreligious advocacy and intervention.

(4) use the channel of interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding to prevent interreligious tensions, reduce death threats and violence, and counteract rhetorical discourses about Vodouphobia and Christianophobia in Haitian society and literary productions.

(5) use religion in conjunction with the knowledge from other disciplines of study in Social Sciences and the Humanities to address and cure Haiti’s ecological crisis and to foster sustainable and positive dynamics between Haitian citizens and nature/the environment toward the overall safety of the Haitian people and the protection of the earth.


We are looking for papers from religious leaders and scholars, faith practitioners, social scientists, educators, curriculum designers, anthropologists, theologians, activists, environmentalists, public intellectuals, cultural critics, psychologists, philosophers, politicians, and others that will take into consideration the five objectives of the book and will interact with the pertaining issues addressed above. In addition, we also looking for papers that will offer guidelines for interfaith conversations and dialogues between Vodou and Christianity, and those that will maximize our democracy and citizenship/social responsibility. We are looking for curriculum designers who could produce interreligious literature to foster a better understanding between the two corresponding faiths. Similarly, we are seeking for papers that will address how these two religions in conjunction with other resources and fields of knowledge could be deployed to address responsibly and ethically the “problem areas” in the country at the service of humanity and democracy in the Haitian society.


The deadline to submit the 300-word-proposal along with a brief biography to Dr. Celucien Joseph, celucienjoseph@gmail.com, is September 23, 2021. Paper acceptance notifications will go out to contributors on October 11, 2021.

About the editors

Celucien L. Joseph (Ph.D.) is the lead editor of the book project. Currently, he serves as an associate professor of English at Indian River State College. Dr. Joseph is a leading scholar and researcher in Haitian, Black, Caribbean, and Africana Studies. He received his first PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he studied Literary Studies with an emphasis in African American Literature, African American Intellectual History, and Caribbean Culture and Literature. His second PhD in Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics is from the University of Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa). He has done additional academic studies in Religious Studies and the Humanities at the University of Louisville. He is a prolific writer in the areas of religion and education, religion and race, Liberation Theology, Theological Ethics and Anthropology, Theological Interpretation and Hermeneutics, Literary Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Africana Studies, and Haitian literature and intellectual history. His most recent publications include “Theologizing in Black: On Africana Theological Ethics and Anthropology,” “Revolutionary Change and Democratic Religion: Christianity, Vodou,” and “Secularism, and Reconstructing the Social Sciences and Humanities: Anténor Firmin, Western Intellectual Tradition, and Black Atlantic Tradition.”

Lewis A. Clormeus (PhD) is a Professor of Sociology of Religion at State University of Haiti. He has written prolifically on the intersections of religion, Haitian society, and Haitian intellectual history. Particularly, his research covers different relationships: the rapport between Vodou and the Haitian state, Vodou in Haitian intellectual history, and the history of Protestant Christianity in the Haitian society. You also study the perspectives of non-Haitian thinkers and writers about Haiti’s national history, popular religion (vodou), and society.  He is the author of three important books. Le vodou, le prêtre et l’ethnologue: Retour sur la polémique Joseph Foisset / Jacques Roumain (Haïti, 1942) (HÉMISPHÈRES ÉDITIONS, 2021), Duverneau Trouillot et le vodou: réflexions d’un intellectuel haïtien du XIXe siècle (Les Éditions du CIDIHCA, 2016), Le vodou haïtien, entre mythes et constructions savantes (Riveneuve, 2015).

Dr. Charlene Désir is a research professor at Nova Southeastern University and a Vodou priestess/manbo initiated in the Sosyete Nago Lakou in Jacmel, Haiti. She received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a research focus on the spiritual and psycho-social acculturation of disenfranchised children in the US and Haiti. Dr. Désir is a member of the Sunshine Cathedral and the LightSeekers Mystic Spiritual Fellowship in South Florida. In addition, she co-founded T.E.N., Global, an mpowerment network focused on upliftment and spiritual liberation. She was also the 2012 president of the academic association – Haitian Studies Association and is presently the co-vice president of Kosanba – an academic association focused on the study of Haitian Vodou. Dr. Désir has worked as a healer, spiritual advisor, school psychologist, K-12 school counselor, school administrator, and professor.


Recent Updates for Contributors:

Vodou and Christianity in Interreligious Dialogue (Book Project)

October 16, 2021

 Please be advised of the following instructions regarding this project:

1.      The Philosophy of the Book Project and Its Website

As you begin researching and writing your book chapter, please be mindful of the aims and objectives of this book on interreligious dialogue between Vodou and Christianity in Haiti. We would like all contributors to stay faithful to the original intent of the book and hope to see such evidence in your respective chapter; therefore, we are requesting that you interact with one or more of its five-fold objective or purpose:

(1) promote dialogue, understanding, and a sense of belonging and to work collaboratively to foster cultural, social, educational, and economic progress and justice through Haiti’s faith traditions in collaboration with other organizations and institutions.

(2) use the wisdom, principles, and teachings of both religions to strengthen democracy, eradicate poverty and violence in Haiti, and to improve the country’s civil and political societies toward a more just community.

(3) work together through the ethics of coalition-building and interrelationality to produce constructive religious literature and curriculum about both Vodou and Christianity and engage in sustaining interreligious advocacy and intervention.

(4) use the channel of interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding to prevent interreligious tensions, reduce death threats and violence, and counteract rhetorical discourses about Vodouphobia and Christianophobia in Haitian society and literary productions.

(5) use religion in conjunction with the knowledge from other disciplines of study in Social Sciences and the Humanities to address and cure Haiti’s ecological crisis and to foster sustainable and positive dynamics between Haitian citizens and nature/the environment toward the overall safety of the Haitian people and the protection of
the earth.

Use the link to the website below as a reference for instructions, updates, and other important information about the book project:

2.      Vodou Spelling

The spelling “Voodoo” or “Voodooism” has been changed to “Vodou” by the Library of Congress. Vodou is the most accurate spelling designating the religion practiced by most Haitians.  Please be consistent in the usage of the term.

Note below:

“Voodooism/Vodou

PSD was petitioned by a group of scholars and practitioners of vodou to change the spelling of the heading Voodooism. They successfully argued that vodou is the more accurate spelling, and that the spelling
“voodoo” has become pejorative. The base heading was revised to Vodou on this list, and all other uses of the word “voodoo” in references and scope notes have also been revised.”

Website: http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/saco/cpsoed/psd-121015.html

3.      Manuscripts and Style Guide

Manuscripts must be computer generated in Microsoft Word and submitted electronically via e-mail to Dr. Joseph: celucienjoseph@gmail.com  or Dr. Désir: cdesir13@gmail.com. All manuscripts must include an
abstract, be edited carefully before submission, and double-spaced. Manuscripts must conform to guidelines published in The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition).

Here is the link to the website to access the Manual online (FREE of charge):

https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/frontmatter/toc.html

Articles are limited to a maximum of 30 pages of text including references. Personal narratives or essays are limited to 10 pages. Please use endnote and provide a Bibliography for all references used in the text.

4.      Double-Blind Peer Review

All book chapter submissions deemed appropriate for this collected volume (“Voudou and Christianity in interreligious Dialogue”) are sent out for review under the double-blind system: the identity of participants is not disclosed to referees who serve as editors of this volume.  All manuscripts are reviewed by all members of the
editorial team and only those submissions that meet the editorial standards of the book and fit within the philosophy and objectives of the project will be accepted.

5.      Important Dates to Remember

February 18, 2022                          Chapter Submission Deadline

April 18, 20122                            Chapter Feedback to Authors

June 18, 2022                              Final Edited Submission Due

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me: Dr. Joseph (celucienjoseph@gmail.com) or Dr. Désir (cdesir13@gmail).

We’re looking forward to collaborating with you and receiving your first draft by Friday, February 18, 2022. Again, thanks for your interest in this important book project on Vodou and Christianity in interreligious dialogue.

Sincerely,

Celucien L. Joseph, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Department of English and Communications
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, Florida

Lewis A. Clorméus, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology of Religion
Faculty of Ethnology
State University of Haiti (UEH)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Charlene Désir, Ed.D.
Research Professor
Abraham S. Fichler College of Education
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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