CAHSS Faculty Presentations, Proceedings, Lectures, and Symposia


Post-Imperial Imaginaries: The Science of Working Juju

Event Name

Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies Conference

Event Location

Auckland, New Zealand


Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date


Date Range:

2019-07-15 to 2019-07-19


My presentation explores the Caribbean “science” tradition—the term “science” references various practices associated with Afro-Caribbean spirituality and anchored in the belief that individuals can acquire and exercise magical abilities with the aid of products and spells. One of the leading influencers of science practitioners was William Lauron De Laurence, an American occultist who came to prominence in the early twentieth century. De Laurence’s catalog of books and magical artifacts were extremely popular in the Caribbean and other parts of the commonwealth, and his approach to spirituality inspired an entirely new branch of Obeah in Jamaica. My presentation considers the ways in which De Laurence gained such tremendous popularity.