RELIGION IN THE KITCHEN COOKING TALKING AND THE MAKING OF BLACK ATLANTIC TRADITIONS NORTH AMERICAN RELIGIONS

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Religion In The Kitchen

Author : Elizabeth Pérez
ISBN : 9781479839551
Genre : Religion
File Size : 82.34 MB
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Before honey can be offered to the Afro-Cuban deity Ochún, it must be tasted, to prove to her that it is good. In African-inspired religions throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States, such gestures instill the attitudes that turn participants into practitioners. Acquiring deep knowledge of the diets of the gods and ancestors constructs adherents’ identities; to learn to fix the gods’ favorite dishes is to be “seasoned” into their service. In this innovative work, Elizabeth Pérez reveals how seemingly trivial "micropractices" such as the preparation of sacred foods, are complex rituals in their own right. Drawing on years of ethnographic research in Chicago among practitioners of Lucumí, the transnational tradition popularly known as Santería, Pérez focuses on the behind-the-scenes work of the primarily women and gay men responsible for feeding the gods. She reveals how cooking and talking around the kitchen table have played vital socializing roles in Black Atlantic religions. Entering the world of divine desires and the varied flavors that speak to them, this volume takes a fresh approach to the anthropology of religion. Its richly textured portrait of a predominantly African-American Lucumí community reconceptualizes race, gender, sexuality, and affect in the formation of religious identity, proposing that every religion coalesces and sustains itself through its own secret recipe of micropractices.
Category: Religion

The Production Of American Religious Freedom

Author : Finbarr Curtis
ISBN : 9781479843800
Genre : Religion
File Size : 72.49 MB
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Americans love religious freedom. Few agree, however, about what they mean by either “religion” or “freedom.” Rather than resolve these debates, Finbarr Curtis argues that there is no such thing as religious freedom. Lacking any consistent content, religious freedom is a shifting and malleable rhetoric employed for a variety of purposes. While Americans often think of freedom as the right to be left alone, the free exercise of religion works to produce, challenge, distribute, and regulate different forms of social power. The book traces shifts in the notion of religious freedom in America from The Second Great Awakening, to the fiction of Louisa May Alcott and the films of D.W. Griffith, through William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes Trial, and up to debates over the Tea Party to illuminate how Protestants have imagined individual and national forms of identity. A chapter on Al Smith considers how the first Catholic presidential nominee of a major party challenged Protestant views about the separation of church and state. Moving later in the twentieth century, the book analyzes Malcolm X’s more sweeping rejection of Christian freedom in favor of radical forms of revolutionary change. The final chapters examine how contemporary controversies over intelligent design and the claims of corporations to exercise religion are at the forefront of efforts to shift regulatory power away from the state and toward private institutions like families, churches, and corporations. The volume argues that religious freedom is produced within competing visions of governance in a self-governing nation.
Category: Religion

Jews On The Frontier

Author : Shari Rabin
ISBN : 9781479830473
Genre : History
File Size : 27.21 MB
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An engaging history of how Jews forged their own religious culture on the American frontier Jews on the Frontier offers a religious history that begins in an unexpected place: on the road. Shari Rabin recounts the journey of Jewish people as they left Eastern cities and ventured into the American West and South during the nineteenth century. It brings to life the successes and obstacles of these travels, from the unprecedented economic opportunities to the anonymity and loneliness that complicated the many legal obligations of traditional Jewish life. Without government-supported communities or reliable authorities, where could one procure kosher meat? Alone in the American wilderness, how could one find nine co-religionists for a minyan (prayer quorum)? Without identity documents, how could one really know that someone was Jewish? Rabin argues that Jewish mobility during this time was pivotal to the development of American Judaism. In the absence of key institutions like synagogues or charitable organizations which had played such a pivotal role in assimilating East Coast immigrants, ordinary Jews on the frontier created religious life from scratch, expanding and transforming Jewish thought and practice. Jews on the Frontier vividly recounts the story of a neglected era in American Jewish history, offering a new interpretation of American religions, rooted not in congregations or denominations, but in the politics and experiences of being on the move. This book shows that by focusing on everyday people, we gain a more complete view of how American religion has taken shape. This book follows a group of dynamic and diverse individuals as they searched for resources for stability, certainty, and identity in a nation where there was little to be found.
Category: History

Ralph Ellison S Invisible Theology

Author : M. Cooper Harriss
ISBN : 9781479823017
Genre : Religion
File Size : 84.60 MB
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Examines the religious dimensions of Ralph Ellison’s concept of race Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man provides an unforgettable metaphor for what it means to be disregarded in society. While the term “invisibility” has become shorthand for all forms of marginalization, Ellison was primarily concerned with racial identity. M. Cooper Harriss argues that religion, too, remains relatively invisible within discussions of race and seeks to correct this through a close study of Ralph Ellison’s work. Harriss examines the religious and theological dimensions of Ralph Ellison’s concept of race through his evocative metaphor for the experience of blackness in America, and with an eye to uncovering previously unrecognized religious dynamics in Ellison’s life and work. Blending religious studies and theology, race theory, and fresh readings of African-American culture, Harriss draws on Ellison to create the concept of an “invisible theology,” and uses this concept as a basis for discussing religion and racial identity in contemporary American life. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology is the first book to focus on Ellison as a religious figure, and on the religious dynamics of his work. Harriss brings to light Ellison’s close friendship with theologian and literary critic Nathan A. Scott, Jr., and places Ellison in context with such legendary religious figures as Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and Martin Luther King, Jr. He argues that historical legacies of invisible theology help us make sense of more recent issues like drone warfare and Clint Eastwood’s empty chair. Rich and innovative, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology will revolutionize the way we understand Ellison, the intellectual legacies of race, and the study of religion.
Category: Religion

Spirituality And The State

Author : Kerry Mitchell
ISBN : 9781479873012
Genre : Nature
File Size : 70.54 MB
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America’s national parks are some of the most powerful, beautiful, and inspiring spots on the earth. They are often considered “spiritual” places in which one can connect to oneself and to nature. But it takes a lot of work to make nature appear natural. To maintain the apparently pristine landscapes of our parks, the National Park Service must engage in traffic management, landscape design, crowd-diffusing techniques, viewpoint construction, behavioral management, and more—and to preserve the “spiritual” experience of the park, they have to keep this labor invisible. Spirituality and the State analyzes the way that the state manages spirituality in the parks through subtle, sophisticated, unspoken, and powerful techniques. Following the demands of a secular ethos, park officials have developed strategies that slide under the church/state barrier to facilitate deep connections between visitors and the space, connections that visitors often express as spiritual. Through indirect communication, the design of trails, roads, and vista points, and the management of land, bodies and sense perception, the state invests visitors in a certain way of experiencing reality that is perceived as natural, individual, and authentic. This construction of experience naturalizes the exercise of authority and the historical, social, and political interests that lie behind it. In this way a personal, individual, nature spirituality becomes a public religion of a particularly liberal stripe. Drawing on surveys and interviews with visitors and rangers as well as analyses of park spaces, Spirituality and the State investigates the production and reception of nature and spirituality in America’s national park system.
Category: Nature

Talking To The Dead

Author : LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant
ISBN : 9780822376705
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 34.80 MB
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Talking to the Dead is an ethnography of seven Gullah/Geechee women from the South Carolina lowcountry. These women communicate with their ancestors through dreams, prayer, and visions and traditional crafts and customs, such as storytelling, basket making, and ecstatic singing in their churches. Like other Gullah/Geechee women of the South Carolina and Georgia coasts, these women, through their active communication with the deceased, make choices and receive guidance about how to live out their faith and engage with the living. LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant emphasizes that this communication affirms the women's spiritual faith—which seamlessly integrates Christian and folk traditions—and reinforces their position as powerful culture keepers within Gullah/Geechee society. By looking in depth at this long-standing spiritual practice, Manigault-Bryant highlights the subversive ingenuity that lowcountry inhabitants use to thrive spiritually and to maintain a sense of continuity with the past.
Category: Social Science

Electric Santer A

Author : Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
ISBN : 9780231539913
Genre : Religion
File Size : 55.85 MB
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Santería is an African-inspired, Cuban diaspora religion long stigmatized as witchcraft and often dismissed as superstition, yet its spirit- and possession-based practices are rapidly winning adherents across the world. Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús introduces the term “copresence” to capture the current transnational experience of Santería, in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. Drawing on eight years of ethnographic research in Havana and Matanzas, Cuba, and in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay area, Beliso-De Jesús traces the phenomenon of copresence in the lives of Santería practitioners, mapping its emergence in transnational places and historical moments and its ritual negotiation of race, imperialism, gender, sexuality, and religious travel. Santería’s spirits, deities, and practitioners allow digital technologies to be used in new ways, inciting unique encounters through video and other media. Doing away with traditional perceptions of Santería as a static, localized practice or as part of a mythologized “past,” this book emphasizes the religion’s dynamic circulations and calls for nontranscendental understandings of religious transnationalisms.
Category: Religion

Trance And Modernity In The Southern Caribbean

Author : Keith E. McNeal
ISBN : 0813037360
Genre : History
File Size : 36.75 MB
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“Provides us with a masterful account of how socially marginalized segments of the African and Indian communities of Trinidad and Tobago developed trance-based religious cults linked with differing cultural heritages. Penetrating deeply into these two different communities with his careful fieldwork, he then places them within a brilliant account of the overall cultural history of this island nation.”—Paul Younger, author of New Homelands: Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa This comparative study of African and Hindu popular religions in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago charts the development of religion in the Caribbean by analyzing the ways ecstatic forms of worship, enacted through trance performance and spirit mediumship, have adapted to capitalism and reconfigured themselves within the context of modernity. Showing how diasporic traditions of West African Orisha Worship and South Asian Shakti Puja converged in their ritual adaptations to colonialism in the West Indies, as well as diverged politically within the context of postcolonial multiculturalism, Keith McNeal reveals the unexpected ways these traditions of trance performance have become both globalized and modernized. The first book-length work to compare and contrast Afro- and Indo-Caribbean materials in a systematic and multidimensional manner, this volume makes fresh and innovative contributions to anthropology, religious studies, and the historiography of modernity. By giving both religious subcultures and their intersections equal attention, McNeal offers a richly textured account of southern Caribbean cultural history and pursues important questions about the history and future of religion. Keith E. McNeal is a Fulbright scholar with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. His work has been published in a number of venues, including Activating the Past: Historical Memory in the Black Atlantic, Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West, and the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions.
Category: History

Embracing Protestantism

Author : John W. Catron
ISBN : 0813061636
Genre : History
File Size : 57.97 MB
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By examining eighteenth-century black Christianity in multiple locales and tracing the circuits of black evangelicals as they traveled through Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America, Catron examines how many Afro-Protestants maintained cultural and intellectual ties outside the confines of America's plantation complex and suggests they might be better understood as Atlantic Africans.
Category: History

Governing Spirits

Author : Reinaldo L. Román
ISBN : 080788894X
Genre : History
File Size : 41.90 MB
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Freedom of religion did not come easily to Cuba or Puerto Rico. Only after the arrival of American troops during the Spanish-American War were non-Catholics permitted to practice their religions openly and to proselytize. When government efforts to ensure freedom of worship began, reformers on both islands rejoiced, believing that an era of regeneration and modernization was upon them. But as new laws went into effect, critics voiced their dismay at the rise of popular religions. Reinaldo L. Roman explores the changing relationship between regulators and practitioners in neocolonial Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spiritism, Santeria, and other African-derived traditions were typically characterized in sensational fashion by the popular press as "a plague of superstition." Examining seven episodes between 1898 and the Cuban Revolution when the public demanded official actions against "misbelief," Roman finds that when outbreaks of superstition were debated, matters of citizenship were usually at stake. He links the circulation of spectacular charges of witchcraft and miracle-making to anxieties surrounding newly expanded citizenries that included people of color. Governing Spirits also contributes to the understanding of vernacular religions by moving beyond questions of national or traditional origins to illuminate how boundaries among hybrid practices evolved in a process of historical contingencies.
Category: History