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The materials used to create the altars and the insignia of the Afro-Atlantic religions reflect their roots in West African polities intensely embedded in interregional commerce, including a half millennium of commercial exchange with Europe and the Americas. The ritual assembly of these materials reflects and engineers a conception of transcorporeal personhood well suited to the political interests of merchant monarchs, diasporic communities that rely on clientelism, and, more generally, to the cosmopolitan context of these religions' genesis.

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