1st Edition

Materialities of Religion Spiritual Traditions of the colonial and post-colonial Caribbean

By Niall Finneran, Christina Welch Copyright 2024
    268 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an overview of the material expressions of Caribbean religious expressions, including those that have been imported through the vehicle of colonialism, and which subsequently changed and adapted within the Caribbean Islands and those religious expressions which developed through the contact of African, indigenous and imported world views.

    This book takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, drawing from subjects as diverse as archaeology, religious studies, history, human geography and anthropology. It introduces current topical debates around the role of colonialism and religion in the Caribbean, and also considers theoretical approaches to the study of Caribbean religions set within a wider global context. This approach introduces the reader to a number of important and topical concepts around the wider study of Caribbean religions, and illuminates the complex cultural history and interplay of these religions in the Caribbean Islands. Richly illustrated and drawing upon a range of different cultural approaches, it offers new and challenging perspectives on the development and cultural history of Caribbean spiritual and religious expression through the lens of the material world.

    The book is for anyone interested in the Caribbean as a region and the role of religious behaviour in human society. Students of religions, archaeology and anthropology will find a number of thought-provoking and important case studies which relate complex theories to real-world case studies. Any profits from this book will be donated to UNICEF Eastern Caribbean projects supporting vulnerable children in the region (https://www.unicef.org/easterncaribbean/).

    1.Introduction; 2. The context of Caribbean religious expression; 3. Method and theory in the study of the materiality of Caribbean religion; 4. Christianity, colonialism and the Caribbean; 5. The Jewish and Islamic Caribbean, and recent religious introductions; 6. African-Caribbean creolised religious traditions of the Greater Antilles; 7. African-Caribbean creolised religious traditions of Jamaica and the Anglophone Caribbean; 8. Caribbean spirituality in the 21st century: A material consideration


    Niall Finneran is Professor of historical archaeology and heritage studies at the University of Winchester. His PhD was in African archaeology from the University of Cambridge, and he has also been working in the Caribbean for over twenty years, mainly in the Windward Islands. He has written extensively on material culture, religious identity and community heritage.

    Christina Welch is a Reader in religious studies at the University of Winchester. Her PhD research focused on the spiritual appropriation of North American Indian identities. Since then, she has developed internationally significant research expertise around death studies, Caribbean indigenous knowledge systems and plant use, and community heritage. Christina is neurodivergent.