Poster for Kosanba colloquium featuring a vibrant Haitian painting of a Black man walking along a path with trees on either side

KOSANBA Colloquium XIV (2023)
The Kalfou and the Lakou: Vodou & Africana Religious Crossroads

Held in Conjunction with Haitian Studies Association Conference
Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA - October 5th-8th, 2023

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Kalfou, the crossroads, stands as a majestic symbol uniting the cosmovision of several intersecting Africana religious systems and spiritual practices. As an emblem, it encapsulates the idea of chance, fate, possibilities and the passage of time, uniting the realms of the visible and invisible in the past, present and future. At the crossroads, we greet those who are just beginning their life’s journey and we accompany those who are transitioning to the ancestral realm. The kalfou offers a powerful intersection in which people convene, exchange ideas, and gather strength in collectivity.

KOSANBA’s 14th Conference, Pan-Africanism at the Kalfou: Vodou & Africana Religions at the Crossroads, encourages exploration of Pan-Africanism, the belief that all people of African descent share common interests and should be unified in their political, socio-cultural, and spiritual ventures. Examining Pan-Africanism as a crossroads urges us to consider the relational politics existing between African religious traditions and their cultural communities. 

Proposals may explore themes that include but are not limited to:

  • Religious transformations with border crossing & (im)migration
  • Transgressive realities among queer devotees of Africana religions
  • The intersections of Western “environmentalism” & Black spiritual ecologies 
  • Kalfou economies - the spiritual roots of konbit & social work collectives
  • Innovations & new cultural integrations in sacred arts & visual culture
  • Multiple religious belonging & interreligious engagement
  • Intersectionality as both a lived reality & spiritual experience
  • Crossroads of time - transitions of birth, death, ancestors, and rebirth

KOSANBA was founded in 1997 as a Scholarly Association of Haitian Vodou, so we invite presentations that center Haiti and its religious traditions. Additionally, we welcome all studies of Africana traditions. Presentations should center Vodou or another African heritage tradition, such as Beninese Vodún; Cuban Vodú; Dominican 21 Divisiones/Vudú; Cuban & African American Lucumí; Brazilian Candomblé, Umbanda & Batuque; Trinidadian Shango Baptist; African American Hoodoo, Voodoo, or Conjure; Jamaican Revival Zion; Jamaican & African Rastafari; Nigerian Ifá-Òrìsà or Isese; Kongo cosmologies; Nigerian Igbo traditions; and other related religions. Consideration will also be given to papers that discuss Black peoples’ Africanization of other religious traditions.

We invite proposals from individuals as well as fully constituted panels of 3-4 presenters and roundtables of 4-5 presenters. Practitioners, artists, spiritual leaders, and intergenerational groups are also welcome to submit proposals or performances. For consideration, please complete the submission form linked at by June 15, 2023.

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(Image credit: Kafou Boumba by André Pierre [John Browning Fulling Collection]. Used with permission of the Fulling family.