Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Professor Emeritus
 Mitchell Hall 214C


Professor emeritus Patrick Bellegarde-Smith received his doctorate in international relations, comparative politics, and Latin American Studies, in 1977. He taught in the field of international development, political economy, and culture, at Bradley University, then later, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the field of African-American Studies with a focus on Caribbean cultures, politics and history, Afro-Caribbean religions, and in the area of Black feminisms. He is the author or editor of five books. In the Shadow of Powers (Humanities Press International, 1985, 2nd ed. Vanderbilt University Press, 2019), The Breached Citadel (Westview Press, 1990, 2nd ed. Canadian Scholars Press, 2004), and Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World , ed. (Illinois University Press, 2005). With Claudine Michel, Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, & Reality (Indiana University Press, 2006), With Claudine Michel, Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture, Invisible Powers (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2006.)

A sixth book on gender identities and African religious systems is in preparation. Some of his writings have been anthologized, notably, “Hormones and Melanin: The Dimensions of ‘Race,’ Sex and Gender: Reflexive Journeys,” in Jacqueline Bobo et al., The Black Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2004).

For his work on issues of ethnic, racial, and national identities, he received from the State University of Haiti, the Jean Price-Mars Medal in 2013, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Scholarship from the Haitian Studies Association in 2010. Some of his books and articles have been translated into French, Spanish, Kreyol (Haitian), and Portuguese.

Bellegarde-Smith served as the President of the Congress of Santa Barbara (KOSANBA), a scholarly association for the study of Vodou and other African-derived religions, and is a former president of the Haitian Studies Association, (HSA). He is an associate editor for the Journal of Haitian Studies, and serves on the Scientific Committee of Perspectivas Afro: Revista de investigaciones en estudios afrolatinamericanos y afrocaribenos (Universidad de Cartagena). He served on the editorial boards of Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, and the Journal of Africana Religions. He is an advisory board member/Elders-Distinguished Member of the Institute for the Study of North American Slavery, in Halifax, NSCAD, Nova Scotia, and member of the board of the Revue d’ethonologie haitienne.


He is a Houngan asogwe, a priest of Haitian Vodou.


He attended The University of the Virgin Islands, the “youngest” HBCU, Syracuse University at Utica College, and The American University, School of International Service.


PhD, The American University

Research & Teaching Interests

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith is a professor emeritus of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He obtained a Ph.D. from The American University in international studies and taught in that field. Later, he taught courses in both African-American and Women’s Studies. His scholarship presently is in the areas of African and neo-African religious thought and social philosophy, with an emphasis on national and cultural identities. Bellegarde-Smith has authored, edited and co-edited five books on these subjects, and a large number of articles, notably In The Shadows of Power: Dantes Bellegarde in Haitian Social Thought; Haiti: The Breached Citadel, and Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in the New World. Some of this work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Bellegarde-Smith is the recipient of the Medaille Jean Price-Mars, Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, and of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Scholarship from the Haitian Studies Association. Currently, he is the President of the Congress of Santa Barbara (KOSANBA), a scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou, and the Vice-President (and President-elect) of the Haitian Studies Association. Additionally, he is an associate editor of the Journal of Haitian Studies, a member of the international editorial board of Kalfou: A journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Africana Religions. Also, Bellegarde-Smith is a oungan asogwe, a priest of Vodou.

Selected Publications

. “L’Occupation 1915-1934: Perspectives on Haiti and the US at the Centennial” Journal of Haitian StudiesEd. Sommers, Jeffrey W., Saint Jacques, Ermitte, and Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.(2015).
Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.Dans l’ombre des grandes puissances: Dantѐs Bellegarde dans la pensée sociale haïtienneMontréal: CÌDÌHCA. 2012.
. Vodu haitiano: espírito, mito e realidadeEd. Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D., and Michel, Claudine. Rio de Janeiro: Editora PALLAS. 2011.
. Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, RealityEd. Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D., and Michel, Claudine. Bloomington, IL: University of Indiana Press. 2006.
. Invisible Powers: Vodou in Haitian Life and CultureEd. Michel, Claudine, and Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.New York: Palgrave/MacMillan. 2006.
. Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New WorldEd. Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.Urbana, IL: Illinois University Press. 2005.
Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.Haiti: La cuidadela vulneradaSantiago: Oriente Editorial. 2004.
Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.Haiti: The Breached CitadelToronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press. 2004.
Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick D.In the Shadow of Powers: Dantѐs Bellegarde in Haitian Social ThoughtAtlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International. 1985.

Other Activities and Honors


Lifetime Achievement Award for Scholarship, Brown University, 2011

Journal of Africana Religions, Editorial Board Member

Books by Bellegarde-Smith, scholarly reviews

Philosophical and Identity Constructions of an Elite: Haiti in the 19th and Early 20th Century Lecture, University of the West Indies, 2011

Michael Baptista Lecture, York University, 2010

Haiti Bicentennial: 200 Years of Freedom, Hope and Struggle Lecture, 2004

Divine Haiti: Portraits of the Lwa Exhibition, UCSB Center for Black Studies, 2006

African Symbols: Adinkra and VèVè

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