Dr Hilary Sparkes is an independent researcher and freelance writer. Her research interests include African-Jamaican folk religion in the late post-emancipation era, folklore, and the history of anthropology. Dr Sparkes’ PhD. thesis, Shadow worlds and “superstitions”: an analysis of Martha Warren Beckwith’s writings on Jamaican folk religion, 1919-1929 (University of Warwick, 2015), examined the American anthropologist’s research into African-Jamaican faiths and how her research reflected the way developments in the study of anthropology influenced portrayals of African-Jamaican spiritual practices.
Dr Sparkes has had a number of journal articles published on African-Jamaican folk religions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and on the relationship between anthropologists and those faiths. Dr Sparkes also writes a blog, “Nature and Supernatural Nature” based on plant lore collected in Hawaii and Jamaica by Martha Warren Beckwith.