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5530: New book from Michael Dash

From: Bob Corbett <corbetre@webster.edu>

Culture and Customs of Haiti 
By J. Michael Dash 
Latin America and the Caribbean, Culture and Customs of (ISSN: 1521-8856) 
Greenwood Press. Westport, Conn. 2000. 200 pages 
LC 00-033126. ISBN 0-313-30498-X. GR0498 $45.00 (Reference Book) 

** Description **

Haiti is the only country that is considered Latin American but has a
language and culture that are predominantly French and a population that
is primarily of African descent. It is also the poorest country in the
Western Hemisphere and a country of extremes. Culture and Customs of Haiti
fleshes out the evolution of this diverse society through discussions of
the Haitian people, history, religion, social customs, media, literature
and language, and performing and visual arts. This much-needed resource
gives students and other readers a balanced picture of a Caribbean nation
known in the United States mainly for its "boat people," the Duvalier
dictatorships, and "voodoo." 

Culture and Customs of Haiti begins with an overview of the mountainous
island that seemed forbidding to European colonizers. Historical periods,
including French colonization, U.S. occupation in the early 20th century,
Independence and the Duvaliers' reigns, until today, are reviewed and
provide the framework for the volume. A chapter on the people and society
details the pride of the black state that managed the only successful
slave revolution in history. The extremes of society from the elite to the
peasantry and slum dwellers are depicted, along with Haitians in diaspora.
Religion in Haiti, with the strong amalgamation of Roman Catholicism and
vaudou, a West African import, is then explained. A "Social Customs"
chapter notes the joy that is found in such an economically depressed
culture. The media and literature and language chapters necessarily unfold
in the context of Haiti's political history. A section on writing in
Creole is especially intriguing. Finally, chapters on the performing arts
and visual arts evoke the energy and color of the people in such forms as
vaudou jazz and dance, contemporary rara rock, and the folkloric influence
on Haitian painting. A chronology and glossary supplement the text. 

** Table of Contents **
-- Series Foreword 
-- Context 
-- The People and Society 
-- Religion 
-- Social Customs 
-- Mass Media and Cinema 
-- Literature and Language 
-- The Performing Arts 
-- The Visual Arts and Architecture 
-- Index 
** Author **

J. MICHAEL DASH is a Professor of French at New York University, and is a
specialist of Haitian culture and literature.