The translation into English of Luis Nicolau Parés's The Formation of Candomblé comes as welcome news. Even over a decade after its first publication in Portuguese in 2006, it remains innovative both for its methods and its subject. Parés combines ethnography, oral history, archival research, and historiographic critique to decipher the complex genealogies of several important houses of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé. He unpacks the origins, oral traditions, and contemporary practices of the rarely studied Jeje nation of Candomblé, descended from Gbe-speaking societies of West Africa—roughly the eighteenth-century jurisdiction of the powerful kingdom Dahomey. How did the voduns of that region find their place in Brazil alongside, in relation to, and in distinction from the orixás, santos, inquices, and other religious entities? The opening chapters present a complex history of Dahomean ethnicity and its transposition into the Jeje ethnonym...
Book Review|February 01 2019
Paul Christopher Johnson; The Formation of Candomblé: Vodun History and Ritual in Brazil. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 February 2019; 99 (1): 143–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-7288072
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