This book is the result of collaboration between the two editors, as part of a
larger project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, titled ‘‘Colonial Rule and
Spiritual Power: Obeah, the State, and Caribbean Culture.’’ It took shape at a
conference, ‘‘Obeah and Other Powers,’’ held at Newcastle University in July
2008. We would like to thank all the participants at that conference, and
particularly the contributors to this book, whose initial papers made the
conference so stimulating and who subsequently worked efficiently to turn
their papers into book chapters. We have both learned a great deal from
collaborating with them. We owe a special debt to those who generously gave
their time and intellectual energy to act as chairs and panel discussants at the
conference: Juanita de Barros, Jean Besson, Erna Brodber, Richard Drayton,
Michael Jagessar, Projit Mukharji, Patricia Murray, Karen Fog Olwig, Stephan
Palmié, James Procter, Kate Ramsey, Terence Ranger, Patrick Taylor, and
David Trotman. Robert Hill delivered the keynote address at the conference;
it provided a typically rich stimulus to the discussions. Unfortunately, Hill was
unable to revise his paper for the book, an absence that we regret. The con-
ference and book have depended on the financial support of the Leverhulme
Trust, Newcastle University, and the Northern Centre for the History of Medi-
cine, and the practical support of Colette Barker, Janice Cummin, Geof Elling-
ham, Pat Harrison, Michelle Houston, Melanie Kidd, Tom Kirk, Helen Mc-
Kee, Bob Stoate, Sam Turner, and Craig White. Thanks to all of them.
At Duke University Press, we are grateful to Valerie Millholland and Miriam
Angress, who supported the project from the beginning. We also thank the
initially anonymous readers of our manuscript, Aisha Khan and Paul Johnson,
who greatly helped us to improve it.
The onset of health problems forced Karen McCarthy Brown to withdraw
from the Newcastle conference. Brown’s work has been an inspiration for
many of the contributors to this book; we dedicate it to her.
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