Bibliography of African Religions in the Americas

African Religions in the Americas Reading List

Surveys and Overviews

Everyone has his or her own reading list for these religions. This list is based on the readings I use for my African Religions in the Americas class. Not all are used in class, some I use for background material.

Each of these authors brings their own background and belief system to their work. I don’t agree completely with what any of these authors say (including Clark, 1998), but together they present a good introduction to these religions.

The key (Key Texts) indicates those books I usually suggest be read first.

The star (🌟) indicates new books.

If you have found some book especially enlightening and feel it should be added to the list, please add it to the comments.

Surveys and Overviews

African Traditional Religion

Black Church in America

(This list is especially underdeveloped. I have included these
particular books because they focus on the African elements in the
religions of the U.S.)

  • Genovese, Eugene D. 1975. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World
    the Slaves Made
    . Book 2 Part 1. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Key TextsPitts, Walter F. Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Sobel, Mechal. The World They Made Together: Black and
    White Values in Eighteenth-Century Virginia
    . Part III. Princeton,
    N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987.


  • Landes, Ruth. The City of Women; introduction by
    Sally Cole. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.
  • Voeks, Robert A. Sacred Leaves of Candomblé.
    Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.
  • Key TextsWafer, James William. The Taste of Blood: Spirit Possession in Brazilian Candomblé. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.


  • Pérez y Mena, Andrés Isidoro. Speaking with the Dead: Development of Afro-Latin Religion among Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Study into the Interpenetration of Civilizations in the New World. New York, N.Y.: AMS Press, 1991.


  • Beliso-De Jesús Aisha M. Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion. Columbia University Press, 2015. Maybe more what you’re looking for a in terms of an Afro-Cuban identity.
  • Brandon, George. Santeria from Africa to the New World: The Dead Sell Memories. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.
  • 🌟Carr, C. Lynn. A Year in White: Cultural Newcomers to Lukumi and Santería in the United States. Rutgers University Press, 2015.
  • Key TextsClark, Mary Ann. Santería: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 2007.
  • Clark, Mary Ann. 2005. Where Men are Wives and Women Rule: Santería Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implications. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
  • Curry, Mary Cuthrell. Making the Gods in New York: The
    Yoruba Religion in the African American Community
    . New York:
    Garland Pub., 1997.
  • Brown, David D. 2003. Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Edwards, Gary, and John Mason. 1985. Black God–Orisa
    Studies in the New World
    . Brooklyn, N. Y.: Yoruba Theological
  • Flores-Peña, Ysamur and Roberta J. Evanchuk. Santeria Garments and Altars: Speaking without a Voice. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.
  • Mason, John. 1985. Four New World Yorùbá Rituals. Brooklyn: Yorùbá Theological Archministry.
  • Mason, John. 1992. Orin Òrìsà: Songs for Selected Heads. Brooklyn: Yoruba Theological Archministry.
  • Mason, John. 1996. Olóòkun: Owner of Rivers and Seas. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Yorùbá Theological Archministry.
  • Mason, John, and Gary Edwards. 1999. Ìdáná Fún Òrìsà: Cooking for Selected Heads. Brooklyn: Yoruba Theological Archministry.
  • Mason, Michael Atwood. 2002. Living Santería: Rituals and
    Experiences in an Afro-Cuban Religion
    . Washington and London:
    Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • 🌟Murphy, Joseph M. Botánicas: Sacred Spaces of Healing and Devotion in Urban America. University Press of Mississippi, 2015.
  • Key TextsMurphy, Joseph M. Santeria: African Spirits in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
  • Palmié, Stephan. 2002. Wizards and Scientists: Explorations in
    Afro-Cuban Modernity and Tradition
    . Durham and London: Duke
    University Press.
  • Pérez, Elizabeth. Religion in the Kitchen: Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions. New York University Press, 2016.
  • Key TextsVega, Marta Moreno. 2000. The Altar of My Soul: The Living Traditions of Santería. New York: One World, The Ballantine Publishing Group.
  • Wendel, Johan. 2003. Santeria Healing: A Journey into the Afro-Cuban World of Divinities, Spirits, and Sorcery. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
  • 🌟Witz, Kristina. Ritual, Discourse, and Community ion Cuban Santeria: Speaking a Sacred World. University Press of Florida, 2007.


  • Key TextsBrown, Karen McCarthy. Mama Lola. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1991
  • Key TextsDeren, Maya. Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti. New York: McPherson & Company, 1983.
  • Dunham, Katherine. Island Possessed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  • Hurston, Zora Neale. Tell My Horse. Philadelphia, New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1938.
  • Laguerre, Michel S. Voodoo and Politics in Haiti. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989.
  • Métraux, Alfred. Voodoo in Haiti. Translated by Hugo Charteris. New York, Oxford University Press, 1959.
  • Tallant, Robert. Voodoo in New Orleans. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1946.

Other Traditions

  • 🌟Hazzard-Donald. Mojo Workin’:The Old African American Hoodoo System. Univ.ersity of Illinois Press, 2013

Online Resources

See my African and Afro-Diaspora Religions page for websites devoted to Santería, Candomblé, other Orisha religions, Vodoun, and more.


1 thought on “Bibliography of African Religions in the Americas

  1. Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks dedecebffdgf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s