Brown Bag - Female African Warriors
Female Warriors and Vodun Priestesses: Power, Art and Religion in the Old Kingdom of Dahomey, West Africa
The history and culture of Dahomey, now known as Benin in West Africa, is conspicuous for the prominence of powerful women. The famous Dahomean female military brigades called "Amazons" by early French observers, originated there in in the early 19th Century under King Agaja of Abomey. The belief system known as Vodun with its many formidable priestesses also originated in these lands before it was exported to Caribbean Islands and the American South via the slave trade, where it became known as "Voodoo."
This presentation by Emeritus Professor David C. Conrad foregrounds the historical role of women in an overview of the history of Dahomey from the time of the Abomey kingdoms through the slave trade, featuring images from his own research on female spirits in West Africa, along with 19th Century archival photos from the French and German colonial periods.