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Chapter 1 - Powering the Soul

Queer Energies in Haitian Vodou

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2023

Mary Grace Albanese
Affiliation:
SUNY Binghamton
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Summary

Histories of colonial energy tend to emphasize the development of the steam engine, the rise of electric power, or the beginnings of industrial agriculture, through the rise of cash crops such as indigo, cotton, sugar, and tobacco. Chapter 1, “Powering the Soul: Queer Energies in Haitian Vodou,” argues that any history of colonial energy production must also recognize that nonhuman forms of power were dependent on the human energy of enslaved labor, particularly reproductive labor. Yet far from considering enslaved labor as the flexible, malleable unit of energy desired by capitalist production, this chapter instead argues that Vodou radically disrupted the logics of racial capital and coerced biological reproduction. Vodou personhood is antithetical to the calculus of racial capitalism, and its porosity, I argue, helped reconfigure the plantation’s structures of power to resist imperialist extraction. Through an archive that ranges from colonial treatises to Vodou practices and epistemologies, this chapter highlights the ways in which Haitians expanded the category of gender and reimagined the energies of labor and birthwork under conditions of biocapitalist violence.

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  • Powering the Soul
  • Mary Grace Albanese, SUNY Binghamton
  • Book: Black Women and Energies of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Haitian and American Literature
  • Online publication: 09 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314268.002
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  • Powering the Soul
  • Mary Grace Albanese, SUNY Binghamton
  • Book: Black Women and Energies of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Haitian and American Literature
  • Online publication: 09 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314268.002
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Powering the Soul
  • Mary Grace Albanese, SUNY Binghamton
  • Book: Black Women and Energies of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Haitian and American Literature
  • Online publication: 09 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009314268.002
Available formats
×