Abstract

The word vaudoux or vaudou, found in French-language accounts of colonial Saint-Domingue in, was borrowed by Anglophone writers from the 1850s, and eventually domesticated as voodoo by the 1880s. As an exercise in political etymology, this paper explores the pre-history of voodoo in English and suggests how far it might have a bearing on the continuing debates over what form to use when referring to Afro-Haitian religious beliefs and practices.

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