Kate Ramsey

Assoc. Professor
2017 Hemispheric Caribbean Studies Faculty Lead-UMIA

(305) 284-5581
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About Kate Ramsey

Kate Ramsey works on Caribbean history and culture. Her research and teaching interests include the politics of religion, law, and performance in the Caribbean; histories of medicine and healing in the Atlantic world; and Caribbean intellectual history, artistic production, and social movements. Her first book, The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (Chicago, 2011), centers on the history and legacies of penal and ecclesiastical laws against the Vodou religion in Haiti. It won the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, the Elsa Goveia Book Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians, the Haitian Studies Association Haiti Illumination Project Book Prize, and a Médaille Jean Price-Mars from the Faculté d’Ethnologie, Université d’État d’Haïti. Ramsey is co-editor with Louis Herns Marcelin of Transformative Visions: Works by Haitian Artists from the Permanent Collection (Lowe Art Museum, 2015), and was co-curator of the exhibition by the same name.

Ramsey’s current research is focused in two ways. One project studies how early writings about and laws against Afro-Caribbean spiritual practices were shaped by medical theories of mind-body interaction during the final decades of British Caribbean slavery. Her article “Powers of Imagination and Legal Regimes against ‘Obeah’ in the Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century British Caribbean” was published in Osiris 36. Ramsey is currently working, as well, on the history of Vodou objects confiscated by U.S. marines during the 1915-1934 occupation of Haiti, and thereafter donated or sold to anthropology, natural history, and military museums in the United States and beyond. Based on collaborative research with Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique, this project spotlights the interlinked histories of Afro-Caribbean religion, U.S. imperialism, and museum collecting during the early to mid-twentieth century. Ramsey serves on the Board of KOSANBA: A Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou.



2002Ph.D. Columbia University

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Caribbean, Cultural, Religion, Law, Medicine, Performance

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Caribbean, Cultural, Religion, Law, Medicine, Performance

Honors & Acknowledgements

2015-2018 UM College of Arts and Sciences Gabelli Senior Scholar Award


Kate Ramsey The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti (The University of Chicago Press. 2011). [Link]

Kate Ramsey, Louis Herns Marcelin Transformative Visions: Works by Haitian Artists from the Permanent Collection (Lowe Art Museum. 2015).