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Raboteau Book Prize Winners

2021 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions: Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures (Columbia University Press 2020)

In Afrolatinx religious practices such as Cuban Espiritismo, Puerto Rican Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé, the dead tell stories. Communicating with and through mediums’ bodies, they give advice, make requests, and propose future rituals, creating a living archive that is coproduced by the dead. In this book, Solimar Otero explores how Afrolatinx spirits guide collaborative spiritual-scholarly activist work through rituals and the creation of material culture. By examining spirit mediumship through a Caribbean cross-cultural poetics, she shows how divinities and ancestors serve as active agents in shaping the experiences of gender, sexuality, and race.

Members of the 2021 selection committee included Yolanda Covington-Ward (University of Pittsburgh), Pablo Gomez (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Kate Ramsey (Miami University), Dianne M. Stewart (Emory University), and Dew Spencer (Kenyon College).


2020: Spencer Dew, The Aliites: Race and Law in the Religions of Noble Drew Ali (University of Chicago Press 2019)

2019: Bruce Haynes, The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America (NYU Press 2018)

2018: Pablo F. Gomez, The Experiential Caribbean: Creating KNowledge and Healing in the Early Modern Atlantic (UNC Press 2017)

2017: Judith Weisenfeld, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity During the Great Migration (NYU Press 2016)

2016: Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press 2015)

2015: Cécile Fromont, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (UNC Press 2014) 

2014: Jacob S. Dorman, Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions (Oxford University Press 2013)

2013: Ras Michael Brown, African-Atlantic Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry (Cambridge University Press 2012)