For our lab this week, we are going to think about the formation of African Traditional Religions in diaspora. To begin our examination, I want us to recall the types of discourses we have named to critically signify religion thus far. If you have trouble, refer to the Table of Contents in our Myhre book.
Building on this idea, I’d like you to reflect on the social conditions required to develop these cultural practices given the violence and ethics we know to be operating in the diaspora. How would people manage to construct “religions” to operationalize in the midst of the restrictions we have seen described in Gomez. Take a look at his discussion of marronage at the bottom of p.126-128.
Today we’re going to use a video in Dr. Andrew Mark Henry’s Religion for Breakfast series to think about some of these dynamics. As you watch, I want you to pause and take note of things that remind you of points discussed in our reading thus far.
Questions for Reflection
What key symbols or signs do you see as common in the diaspora examples of religion we’ve observed? Are there any common threads? Do they link back to Africa?
Sometimes traditions like Candomble, Santeria, and Vodum are described as syncretic. Look up that term in the dictionary. To what extent do you think this is useful description of what we witness in these instances? Use signifying theory to explain and defend your argument.
Gomez discusses how Africa played a significant role in the formative eras of the so-called Abrahamic religions. Could Christianity, Judaism, and Islam be considered African Diaspora Religions? Why or why not?