My Soul Is in Haiti

Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas

200 pages

December, 2014

ISBN: 9781479809936



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Bertin M. Louis, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies, Affiliated Faculty of American Studies, and a Faculty Fellow of the Center for the Study of Social Justice, Global Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

All books by Bertin M. Louis, Jr.

In the Haitian diaspora, as in Haiti itself, the majority of Haitians have long practiced Catholicism or Vodou. However, Protestant forms of Christianity now flourish both in Haiti and beyond. In the Bahamas, where approximately one in five people are now Haitian-born or Haitian-descended, Protestantism has become the majority religion for immigrant Haitians.
In My Soul Is in Haiti, Bertin M. Louis, Jr. has combined multi-sited ethnographic research in the United States, Haiti, and the Bahamas with a transnational framework to analyze why Protestantism has appealed to the Haitian diaspora community in the Bahamas. The volume illustrates how devout Haitian Protestant migrants use their religious identities to ground themselves in a place that is hostile to them as migrants, and it also uncovers how their religious faith ties in to their belief in the need to “save” their homeland, as they re-imagine Haiti politically and morally as a Protestant Christian nation.
This important look at transnational migration between second and third world countries shows how notions of nationalism among Haitian migrants in the Bahamas are filtered through their religious beliefs. By studying local transformations in the Haitian diaspora of the Bahamas, Louis offers a greater understanding of the spread of Protestant Christianity, both regionally and globally.


  • "Dr. Bertin M. Louis Jr. has just offered to the world of intelligentsia a remarkable book on the culture of Haitian Protestantism in the Haitian diaspora of the Bahamas.  It is, without a doubt, a roadmap for cultural anthropology or ethnography designed for researchers with deep insights, students, and scholars to address religious issues, not only under the lens of inquiry, but with a profound thirst for social justice."

    Ethnic and Racial Studies, Clarence St. Hilaire

  • "[F]or bringing Haitian Protestantism to our attention—and apparently to the attention of Bahamians—and for linking religion to class, race, and transnational variables, the project is a welcome addition to the literature on Latin and Caribbean Christianity."

    Anthropology Review Database

  • "A ground-breaking study drawing on five years of transnational ethnographic research in the Bahamas, Haiti, and the United States. As a Haitian-American, Louis is cognizant of the subtleties of Haitian culture and the cultural differences between Haitians living in Haiti and Haitians living abroad. A major strength of this book is the author’s keen recognition of the importance of boundary maintenance and his insights into native constructions of 'religion,' such as the distinction Haitians make between being Protestant (Pwotestan) and being Christian (Kretyen)."

    —Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • "A ground breaking study of the evangelical Protestant churches in the Haitian communities of the Bahamas, describing the ways in which these churches provide their congregations with a sense of national and transnational identity. Vital for students of diasporic and transnational studies, anthropologists, historians and sociologists of religion, this book is a comprehensive study likely to be the authoritative source on this topic for years to come."

    —Leslie G. Desmangles, Trinity College