Books

My Academic Publications

(for fiction click here)

Click on the book cover for a link to Amazon.com.

Then We Will Sing a New Song Then We’ll Sing a New Song: African Influences on America’s Religious Landscape (May 2012)

Then We’ll Sing a New Song is a fascinating examination of how African religions have shaped belief and practices in America. Not just the story of the development of African American religions or the black church, this book tells the often-unrecognized, but important story of how African religions have shaped religion in America more broadly. (More Information)

Santeria: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion

Santeria: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion. Santeria, also known as Yoruba, Lukumi, or Orisha, was originally brought to the Americas from Africa by enslaved peoples destined for the Caribbean and South America. By the late 1980s it was estimated that more than 70 million African and American people participated in, or were familiar with, the various forms of Santeria, including traditional religions in Africa, Vodun in Haiti, Candomble in Brazil, Shango religion in Trinidad, Santeria in Cuba and, of course, variants of all of these in the U.S. Because of the secretive nature of the religion, it has been difficult to get accurate and objective information, but here, I introduce readers to the religion, explores the basic elements, including the Orisha, and answers the many questions Santeria arouses in observers and practitioners alike. (More Information)

Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santeria Ritual Practices and Their Gender ImplicationWhere Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santeria Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implications is a scholarly look at gender in the religion of Santeria.

Examining the practices of divination, initiation, possession trance, sacrifice, and witchcraft in successive chapters, I explore the ways in which Santería beliefs and practices deviate from the historical assumptions about and the conceptual implications of these basic concepts. After tracing the standard definition of each term and describing its place within the worldview of Santería, I attempt to tease out its gender implications to argue for the female-normative nature of the religion. By arguing that gender is a fluid concept within Santería, I suggest that the qualities of being female form the ideal of Santeria religious practice for both men and women. (More Information)


In Process (Fiction)

My current passion is an Afro-Futuristic novel. The original manuscript, Force of Destiny, explores the interactions between two cultures in the Arizona highlands of the future. Part one is still available in Wattpad.

In 2015 I began a major revision in an attempt to explore ideas about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) within the context of the characters and cultures of Force of Destiny. This new manuscript is tentatively title Cyborg Challenge.

For the 2015 National Novel Writers Month I drafted a completely new work tentatively titled Samsara: A Story of the Bardo. I’ve been working on that in the hopes I can self-publish it in 2016. You can follow my progress here.


 Other Publications

The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion (2015)

Encyclopedia of VoodooI have several articles in The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion.

Unlike its fictional depiction in zombie films and popular culture, Voodoo is a full-fledged religion with a pantheon of deities, a priesthood, and communities of believers. Drawing from the expertise of contemporary practitioners, this encyclopedia presents the history, culture, and religion of Haitian Vodou and Mississippi Valley Voodoo. Though based primarily in these two regions, the reference looks at Voodoo across several cultures and delves into related religions, including African Vodu, African Diasporic Religions, and magical practices like hoodoo.

Through roughly 150 alphabetical entries, the work describes various aspects of Voodoo in Louisiana and Haiti, covering topics such as important places, traditions, rituals, and items used in ceremonies. Contributions from scholars in the field provide a comprehensive overview of the subject from various perspectives and address the deities and ceremonial acts. The book features an extensive collection of primary sources and a selected, general bibliography of print and electronic resources suitable for student research.

Esotericism in African American Religious Experience: “There is a Mystery” …, (2014)

Esotericism in African American ExperienceLook for my  chapter: “Spirit is Universal: Development of Black Spiritualists Churches.”

In Esotericism in African American Religious Experience: “There is a Mystery” …, Stephen C. Finley, Margarita Simon Guillory, and Hugh R. Page, Jr. assemble twenty groundbreaking essays that provide a rationale and parameters for Africana Esoteric Studies (AES): a new trans-disciplinary enterprise focused on the investigation of esoteric lore and practices in Africa and the African Diaspora. The goals of this new field — while akin to those of Religious Studies, Africana Studies, and Western Esoteric Studies — are focused on the impulses that give rise to Africana Esoteric Traditions (AETs) and the ways in which they can be understood as loci where issues such as race, ethnicity, and identity are engaged; and in which identity, embodiment, resistance, and meaning are negotiated.

 

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