Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



The focus of this Research Report is on morality as a culture-specific and contextual phenomenon. It argues that Vodou, as a religion, has largely been misrepresented in the West and has been portrayed as having no legitimate basis for morality mainly because of its African origins. This paper attempts to interpret morality in Vodou by presenting a model of ethics construction grounded in the history of the people and based on the true meaning of the religion. It argues that Haitians have turned to their ancestral religion and to their African past to survive isolation and ostracism from the West — consistently using the Vodou religion as a tool of both resistance and continuity. In that respect, Vodou is a microcosm which reflects a reconstructed form of the traditional African world view and the moral values inherent to it. Mama Lola and Karen McCarthy Brown's combined voice their insiders' comments, views, and insights are used as a source of data to support the proposed framework.


Research Report #27.


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