Elizabeth McAlister is Professor of Religion, and also teaches in American Studies and African American Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from Yale in American Studies with expertise in Afro-Caribbean religions. Her first book is Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and its Diaspora (University of California Press, 2002) and is an analysis of this parading musical festival as both religious and political. Her second book is a volume co-edited with Henry Goldschmidt that theorizes race and religion as linked constructs: Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas (Oxford University Press, 2004).
McAlister has published Rara, numerous articles and book chapters and produced three compilations of Afro-Haitian religious music: Rhythms of Rapture (Smithsonian Folkways, 1995), Angels in the Mirror, and the CD Rara that accompanies her first book.
In her efforts to make Afro-Caribbean religions and music better understood by the American public, McAlister has written for Newsweek and CNN, been interviewed by Terri Gross on “Fresh Air,” was profiled in the New York Times, and consulted for projects such as “Africans in America” for PBS, the Learning Channel, and for Afropop Worldwide on Public Radio International. She has also served as an expert witness in legal cases concerning Afro-Caribbean religions.
McAlister’s recent articles are on religion in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, on telethons in the U.S. after the quake, on the recent interest in zombies in American pop culture, and on the thought and interactions between American and Caribbean evangelicals who perform “spiritual warfare” in and for the nations of Haiti and the United States. With a grant from the John Templeton Foundation/Social Science Research Council, she has been awarded a grant to study what she terms “aggressive forms of prayer.”
You can click on the Publications link for pdfs for most of her articles