In the summer of 2012, Laurent Dubois received funding from the NEH, in collaboration with Benjamin Hebblethwaite at the University of Florida and other colleagues, to create a Vodou Archive (see red link below): an online library of songs, images, videos, and texts relating to Haitian Vodou, to be housed at the Digital Library of the Caribbean. (Full NEH grant title is “Archive of Haitian Religion and Culture: Collaborative Research and Scholarship on Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora”). This project has dovetailed with the PFIRST grant on Trauma in Haiti as part of it involves understanding the ways in which Vodou practice defines and responds to traumatic experiences in the wake of the earthquake.
In Fall 2012, two students in the Visions of Haiti course co-taught by Laurent Dubois and Edouard Duval-Carrié – an MFA student in the Center for Documentary Studies, Eric Barstow, and a PhD student in History, Claire Payton – went on a week-long research trip to Gonaïves, Haiti, where they recorded rituals for the Haitian lwa (god) Gede and interviewed a priest and other members of the religious community there. These materials are currently available through Barstow and Payton’s project website – and will eventually be incorporated into the DLOC archive – as a resource to researchers seeking to better understand Haitian Vodou’s relationship to the question of death and dying, among other issues. You can see an example of one of these videos here. A similar trip was carried out in Spring 2013 by Josh Clough.