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The Stick and the Calabash: Building gods in Bahian Candomblé
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology. (Religionshistoria)
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Practitioners of the Brazilian religion Candomblé frequently explain syncretism with a myth about how slaves camouflaged the cult of their embodied African gods behind the worship of icons of Catholic saints. The myth is multivalent and here I try to see it as a mapping of how Candomblistas operate hybridity in their construction of deities. Two cult houses have been investigated, houses that lean away from the common ideal of African purity and instead operate with a high degree of mixing between different modalities of Afro-Brazilian religion (Capone, 2010; Dantas, 2009). I investigate the role of this cultural hybridity in the intersection between immanent elements of the religion and cultural contexts where this immanence has been stigmatised as “fetishism.” I analyse this intersection through the lens of two analytical concepts, dividuation (Bird-David, 1999) and safeguarding (Apter, 1992). Dividuation is the way in which humans realize deities as consciousness of relatedness through engagement, metaphors, hierarchies and performances that “educate attention.” Safeguarding is signifying that relates Candomblé to the surrounding context and through a “hermeneutics of power” creates ritually protected spaces where immanent technology of dividuation can remain uncompromised. Safeguarding operates through a specific “language of trickery”(Gates Jr, 1988),  which contradicts the steep othering that has cast African immanent motifs as markers of the defining primitive Otherness to modern Euro-descendant constructions of self as rationalist and civilized. In safeguarded space deities are dividuated through an array of technologies that produce them as immanent in objects (the assentamento) and in humans (in possession).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2019. , p. xi+322
Keywords [en]
Afro-Brazilian religion
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
History of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391158ISBN: 978-91-506-2785-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391158DiVA, id: diva2:1344223
Public defence
2019-10-08, Sal IV, Gamla universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, 753 10 Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-16 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2019-09-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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