Abstract and Keywords
In recent decades, research on the African diaspora has increasingly expanded from its established focus on the northern Atlantic to Latin America, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean world, and the African continent itself. This chapter discusses differing definitions of the diaspora, considers the role of pioneering scholars in early twentieth-century Cuba, Brazil, and the United States, and examines the debate between those who have stressed lines of cultural continuity between Africa and African American peoples, on the one hand, and those who have stressed cultural transformation or ‘creolization’ in the Americas, on the other. Recent research on African American religions has moved the field beyond the search for African origins by showing how the practitioners of these belief systems creatively and strategically imagined and reimagined ‘African’ ritual identities and Africa itself. Finally, the process of creolization in the African continent itself and in the Indian Ocean are considered.
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