The Cooking of History:How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion

The Cooking of History:How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion
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Over a lifetime of studying Cuban Santería and other religions related to Orisha worship--a practice also found among the Yoruba in West Africa--Stephan Palmié has grown progressively uneasy with the assumptions inherent in the very term Afro-Cuban religion. In The Cooking of History he provides a comprehensive analysis of these assumptions, in the process offering an incisive critique both of the anthropology of religion and of scholarship on the cultural history of the Afro-Atlantic World. Understood largely through its rituals and ceremonies, Santería and related religions have been a challenge for anthropologists to link to a hypothetical African past. But, Palmié argues, precisely by relying on the notion of an aboriginal African past, and by claiming to authenticate these religions via their findings, anthropologists--some of whom have converted to these religions--have exerted considerable influence upon contemporary practices. Critiquing widespread and damaging simplifications that posit religious practices as stable and self-contained, Palmié calls for a drastic new approach that properly situates cultural origins within the complex social environments and scholarly fields in which they are investigated.
ISBN: 
9780226019567
Author: 
Binding: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
June 14, 2013