Voodoo Culture in Central Florida

By Ashley Kistler

My class, Foundations of Latin American and Caribbean Culture and Society, explored Hurston’s representation of voodoo culture in the Caribbean in her work, Tell My Horse. Students delivered in-class presentations on the themes of her work as well as an evening presentation open to the Rollins community relating Hurston’s work on voodoo to the practice of voodoo religion in Central Florida today.  Doing so, students explored the role of continuity and change in voodoo practice over time.

To relate Hurston’s work to life in Central Florida, students visited local botánicas, stores that sell candles, oils, and statues used in voodoo religious rites and in the practice of santería.  When possible, they interviewed customers and employees at these botánicas as well as local voodoo practitioners about the beliefs and practices of voodoo religion today.  In short blog posts, students then related Hurston’s work to their experiences with voodoo in Central Florida.