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Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and…
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Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion

by David H. Brown

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From Nature's Ancient Religion's Building Your Library section:

"David H Brown Santeria Enthroned; University
of Chicago Press; 2003 This may be the most
interesting offering in the category, but it is
certainly not for the novice. Neither is it a nut and
bolts or how to book. This is a wordy sophisticated
read for the scholar and dry; somewhat like reading
a textbook. It is around 400 pages, yet it is double
columned and uses small print. My guess is it is
around 300,000 words. For a comparison, this book
is around 90,000. Santeria Enthroned is typical of a
high brow intellectual publisher like University of
Chicago. 300 of its 400 pages make up the book and
the remaining quarter is appendixes and footnotes or
general notes. Frankly (as is often the case) these
tend to be somewhat intrusive and give it a feel of
more of a research paper than a book one reads for
leisure. Mr. Brown is a PHD, yet from where I do not
know. He was a fellow at Harvard, however whether
he even graduated is left unstated. He is also the
founder and manager of Folklore Cuba a website that
is one of the better and more comprehensive
botanicas. I did write Mr. Brown on two occasions
and received no answer despite the fact I have
purchased from his website before. I do not know if
Mr. Brown is inside our religion and holds some
specific rank and tenure or if he is from the outside
looking in. It is a very strong entry into this
category, but without any communication to verify
any of his credentials the book will have to stand
alone on its merit." ( )
  cubaking | Nov 15, 2008 |
no reviews | add a review
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226076105, Paperback)

Ever since its emergence in colonial-era Cuba, Afro-Cuban Santería (or Lucumí) has displayed a complex dynamic of continuity and change in its institutions, rituals, and iconography. In Santería Enthroned, David H. Brown combines art history, cultural anthropology, and ethnohistory to show how Africans and their descendants have developed novel forms of religious practice in the face of relentless oppression.

Focusing on the royal throne as a potent metaphor in Santería belief and practice, Brown shows how negotiation among ideologically competing interests have shaped the religion's symbols, rituals, and institutions from the nineteenth century to the present. Rich case studies of change in Cuba and the United States, including a New Jersey temple and South Carolina's Oyotunji Village, reveal patterns of innovation similar to those found among rival Yoruba kingdoms in Nigeria. Throughout, Brown argues for a theoretical perspective on culture as a field of potential strategies and "usable pasts" that actors draw upon to craft new forms and identities—a perspective that will be invaluable to all students of the African Diaspora.

American Acemy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (Analytical-Descriptive Category)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:37 -0400)

Ever since its emergence in colonial-era Cuba, Afro-Cuban Santera (or Lucumi) has displayed a complex dynamic of continuity and change in its institutions, rituals, and iconography. In this book, David H. Brown combines art history, cultural anthropology, and ethnohistory to show how Africans and their descendants have developed novel forms of religious practice in the face of relentless oppression. Focusing on the royal throne as a potent metaphor in Santera belief and practice, Brown shows how negotiations among ideologically competing interests have shaped the religion's symbols, rituals, and institutions from the nineteenth century to the present. Rich case studies of change in Cuba and the United States, including a New Jersey temple and South Carolina's Oyotunji Village, reveal patterns of innovation similar to those found among rival Yoruba kingdoms in Nigeria. Throughout, Brown argues for a theoretical perspective on culture as a field of potential strategies and "usable pasts" that actors draw upon to craft new forms and identities-a perspective that will be invaluable to all students of the African Diaspora.… (more)

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