Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1895-1963) Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University who conducted extensive fieldwork in Dahomey, Dutch Guinea, Haiti, Trinidad, and, to a lesser degree, Brazil. His Life in a Haitian Valley (Knopf 1931) illustrates Herskovits's awareness of the African contributions to family organization, economics, and religion in the New World. In his classic The Myth of the Negro Past (Harper 1941), he argued that African American religions and cultures have retained numerous practices surviving from Africa, or "Africanisms." For example, he found that in such areas as Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and the American Deep South, Catholic saints and African deities had merged to produce a new set of spirits.

Hans A. Baer

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