This chapter focuses on Afro-Cuban Catholic beliefs and practices, taking an historical approach and bringing the reader up to the contemporary moment. As the chapter will demonstrate, people of African descent in Cuba have developed politically sophisticated and multivalent responses to Catholicism as ecclesia docens—the Church hierarchy in its authoritative teaching function—and to the Church as an institutional structure. Likewise, practitioners of transnational Afro-Cuban West and Central African–inspired religions have been embedded in complex relationships with Catholic theology writ large and its social inscription within the power structures of local parishes while grappling with Catholicism as a hegemonic source of cultural value. This chapter pays special attention to a mi manera (“in my own way”)—Catholics who draw on a rich and familiar history of prerevolutionary idiomatic expression in which women have been dominant and powerful figures.
Robin M. Wright
This article is an in-depth study of the cosmology and practices of assault sorcerers. While it concentrates mostly on indigenous Amazonian societies, comparisons are drawn from other ethnographic areas of the world. It shows that assault sorcery is an integral part of a nexus of religious knowledge and power, in which primordial spirits of sickness and sorcery are embodied in all manner of assault sorcery. The world of humanity today, according to indigenous cosmogonies examined here, is imbued with violent death through sorcery, the legacy of the primordial world. Prophet movements have often been associated with sorcery among indigenous societies throughout the world. Their principal objectives include the control of assault sorcerers, although the prophets themselves have often succumbed to their violent attacks or even deployed sorcery as a mode of defense against enemies. This world has been corrupted by the incessant violence of sorcerers, which the community elders, shamanic healers, and prophets have all sought to manage and control. What the future holds with the drastic decline of shamanic healers is cause for grave concern among traditional communities.
John Hilary Martin
Indigenous societies are affected by globalization in two ways: the forces of the global economy and culture that come into their traditional homes and their own out-migration to new pluralistic settings, including urban centers and foreign lands. In the case of the Australian aboriginals in the outback, their communities become remittance economies that are similar but also different from other indigenous remittance economies in small Pacific island states such as Tonga. Though some have migrated to Australia's cities, for cultural reasons Australian aboriginals are strongly disinclined to leave their own local areas, and when they have left their local region, they have not left the landmass of Australia in any significant numbers. A major factor in this reluctance to leave is a culturally religious one: the notion of the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a powerful factor in the culture of all Australian aboriginals and has religious roots. The cultural values of the family, the Elders, and the land with its Dreaming are still largely in place in traditional outback communities.
This chapter focuses on the historic and contemporary role of the Catholic Church in leading ecumenical efforts in supporting Central American immigrants. In sharp contrast to the state, which has refused to extend assistance to the migrants, the Catholic Church (as well as some mainline Protestant congregations) has offered Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran immigrants assistance and protection. Since the 1980s, these churches have created sanctuaries throughout the country to protect these migrants from deportation to life-threatening conditions in their homelands, have provided settlement assistance, championed the legal struggle that eventually granted Temporary Protected Status to Salvadorans as well as other legal battles that have extended protection to these immigrants, and issued pastoral calls to remind Catholics to welcome immigrants into their communities. This chapter focuses on churches and their efforts to change immigration policy and, in doing so, to change the broader context of reception for Central Americans and for other immigrants as well. The Catholic Church continues to play a pivotal role in all spheres of life in Central America as well as among Central American migrants in the United States.
This chapter offers a framework of ethnoracial identity formation that emphasizes the historical factors linking Latin American religions and Latinx ethnoracial identity. The chapter explores how Catholicism in particular, and other forms of Christianity in general, historically function in an inculturated manner within Latinx communities. The chapter presents Latinx ethnoracial identities as involving ongoing negotiations that are both macro-level and micro-level social processes; identities are deeply personal in one sense, and highly imposed by external forces in another. The chapter also explores the particular social dynamics of Latinx identity negotiation. These dynamics do not pertain to individual Christian traditions, but rather manifest variably across Christian traditions. The analyses offered in this chapter suggest directions for further inquiry for researchers of Christianity and Latinx identity formation.
Since 1979, China has seen a renaissance of indigenous belief systems, including Daoist tangki spirit-medium practice. Tangki traditions have Neolithic roots. The founding myth is of a man who magically battled flood demons to save China. In imperial times, ordi-nary people, disenfranchised by the state religion and pawns of dynastic wars, created a soteriology of self-empowerment. Ordinary people would transform through spirit pos-session into warrior gods who would save the community. Millennia-old tangki traditions have diffused into the modern Chinese quotidian. With a remote Central Committee of the Communist Party recalling distant emperors, village temples, many led by tangkis, have formed “second governments” to deal with day-to-day exigencies. Religion offers a cultural lens to obtain new perspectives of the Chinese worldview.
Fan Lizhu and Chen Na
This study suggests that the term “conversion” is deeply embedded in the institutionalized Christian context and may not be an appropriate approach to understand China’s religious tradition shared by the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. This tradition is understood as China’s common spiritual heritage with elements from various origins including Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. In this tradition of diffused religion, membership is not a prerequisite for participation in religious practice. With evidence from current anthropological research, this study shows that there is a general revival of religious activities in China since the post-Mao reform and increasingly more Chinese would draw on their common spiritual heritage to enrich their spirituality and to face problems in their everyday life without a definite sense of being religious or being converted.
Michelle Gonzales Maldonado
This chapter examines the history of Cuban Americans, who are the second largest Latino/a immigrant group in the United States. In the first forty years after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, around a million Cubans immigrated to the United States. The Cuban American population is distinctive from other Latino/a groups and internally diverse. They are distinctive in light of the historical events that led to their mass exodus to the United States and the manner in which they were received by the US government. They are diverse, given the historical moment of their arrival and the manner in which this shapes their political, religious, and social worldviews. This chapter focuses on the unique history of the Cuban exile, which was instrumental in the creation of the Catholic Church in Miami. While the local Miami Church played an instrumental role in the resettlement of Cuban exiles, it was the exiles themselves who were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Catholic Church in Miami, the center of Cuban Catholic identity and diaspora in the United States.
This chapter examines the historical usage of the category of mestizaje by scholars, arguing that it continues to be a useful theological category, because it elucidates the divine dismantling of structures of racialized, cultural, and religious power. Mestizaje constitutes an ethical praxis and ethos unwilling to succumb to easy recipes of “inclusion,” “unity,” and “hospitality.” The concept of mestizaje remains useful as it is used to celebrate and wrestle with complex and fluid multicultural, multilingual, and multinational history and ancestral lines for which it is a cipher. The crucial insight gleaned from mestizaje is its open-endedness; it thrives on diversity and heterogeneity while subverting false notions of purity, homogeneity, unity, and whiteness. Mestizaje is an attempt to actively reject social, cultural, and economic structures of discrimination, racism, and marginalization. This chapter argues that it also rejects intellectual frames which undermine the rich cultural, contextual, and experiential component of lived faith experiences as part of human activity and struggles for justice.
Maricel Mena López
This chapter analyzes the context and daily life of Afro-Caribbean women within globalization in order to find ethnical praxis. This is prevailing and necessary in the actual social model where multiple social relations of power foment a civilization based on divisions and antagonism. The focus is on women registered not only within the globalized patriarchy, but also women that are being violated and discriminated against everywhere. When speaking about Latin American Afro-feminist theology, the author does not propose a sectarian and isolated movement, but affirms that a different world is possible. In the same manner, when she affirms the relatedness of our identity as women, she is conscious that, within black women, similar to rich, poor, young, old, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women, there are differences. There are infinite identities, and this is why the chapter cannot become, in the end, an object of reflection; we cannot forget that our fight is also against our particular oppression. We must fight against patriarchy, domination, privileges, and control, as these are values that dehumanize us all.
Azza M. Karam
This chapter begins with a discussion of the legacies of colonialism in the Middle East, and then turns to women and religion in the Middle East, feminisms in the Middle East, and Islamism in the Middle East. It argues that while religious discourse will always have an important role in the Middle East, it is seriously myopic to assume that the Muslim Brotherhood—and all other Islamists—are “anti-women” and “anti-democratic,” as previous nuancing holds. Even within the one organization itself, there are diverse perspectives on women's rights. There are extremely active, very well-educated, cultured, and articulate women members of the Brotherhood, for example, just as there will always be those who are uncomfortable with women's public roles. What must be appreciated is that, in tandem with regime change (and calls for it), are revolutions occurring within almost every group, party, and institution in the Middle East today.
Christopher C. Taylor
One of the core metaphors in Rwandan traditional medicine concerns the flow of bodily fluids. This metaphor is a recursive one, extending into other domains of Rwandan symbolic thought, including notions of the person, ritual, and myth. Stated briefly, this metaphor opposes states of orderly flows to disorderly ones, including blocked flows and excessive flows. The healthy body is characterized by sufficient but not excessive or inadequate bodily flows. Unhealthy or afflicted bodies are often characterized by disorders in “flow” states. After the genocide, many Tutsi victims experienced post-traumatic stress in the form of a specifically Rwandan symptom that they termed ihahamuka. This symptom, as described by Rwandans, involves the blockage of breath in the lungs. Many Rwandans who had suffered extreme trauma during the genocide, but had managed to survive, complained of ihahamuka. Many were highly “Westernized” in terms of their education and religion but were experiencing a disorder that can only be fully understood via traditional Rwandan medicine, a medicine in which they expressed very little credence.
Indigenous Christianities: Commensuration, (De)Colonization, and Cultural Production in Latin America
From the earliest moments of the colonial encounter, indigenous Christianity has been an object of scrutiny. This chapter examines indigenous Christianity in its connection with a founding problem of Latin American studies: the asymmetrical encounter of indigenous communities with external powers and the resulting complex of social, political, and economic entanglements is the origin story of the project. The discussion is framed around two correlated arguments. First, like many other “Spanish” forms, Christianity was quickly insinuated as a self-evident and potent component of indigenous experience. This had cosmological as well as more prosaic implications. Within this context, indigenous locality—the ground of indigenous Christianities—is best examined not as an insular embattled survival (the “closed corporate community” of classical social science), but as an ever-emergent project of cultural production undertaken always with respect to a more inclusive sacred and social universe. The second argument concerns the ways this founding entanglement has become constitutive of indigenous locality, and advocates approaching Christianity less as an index of degrees of assimilation or change, and more as a dynamic cultural resource and frame of continuing encounter that remains a generative component of an emerging indigenous modernity.
John A. Grim
This article seeks to explore selected examples of diverse indigenous ways of knowing the world. It acknowledges differences not only among indigenous ways of knowing but also between indigenous knowledge and systems of knowing within industrial–technological societies. This latter difference is especially evident with regard to the presentation and organization of indigenous knowledge using the ideas and methods of Western, Enlightenment thought. Typically, indigenous ways of knowing are framed by such Western template ideas as monotheism, social contract theory, private property and individual rights, unilateral views of democratic governance, and scientific views of the objectivity of reality. The discussion considers the organic relationality of lifeway, land, and indigenous knowledge as mutually interactive processes. While differently described by diverse native peoples, indigenous ways of knowing are not simply about creating systems of knowledge; rather, they bring into possibility the lifeway itself.
Jenny Te Paa-Daniel
In 1992 the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, which owed its origin ultimately to the work of Samuel Marsden and other missionaries, undertook a globally unprecedented project to redeem its inglorious colonial past, especially with respect to its treatment of indigenous Maori Anglicans. In this chapter Te Paa Daniel, an indigenous Anglican laywoman, explores the history of her Provincial Church in the Antipodes, outlining the facts of history, including the relationship with the Treaty of Waitangi, the period under Selwyn’s leadership, as experienced and understood from the perspective of Maori Anglicans. The chapter thus brings into view the events that informed and influenced the radical and globally unprecedented Constitutional Revision of 1992 which saw the creation of the partnership between different cultural jurisdictions (tikanga).
John A. Grim
No one term in an indigenous language may exactly translate, or even correspond to, the English terms “religion” or “ecology.” The term “ecology” is used here to express indigenous knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, or traditional environmental knowledge. Despite widespread cultural losses due to colonization and industrialization, many indigenous peoples still hold to their creation stories as the basis of their traditional symbols and rituals of spiritual and ecological intimacy. These creation stories provide the cosmological context for knowing self, society, and world. The indigenous traditions of the Americas provide the majority of examples of indigenous religions given in this article. This article also examines indigenous lifeways and the fourfold embodiment: the individual person (or embodied self ), the native society, the larger community of life in a region (nature or ecology), and the powerful cosmological beings typically present in ritual actions and mythic narratives.
Introduction: Una Historia de perseverancia y resiliencia pueblo (A People’s History of Perseverance and Resilience)
This chapter presents an overview of the history of Latina/x/o religious studies and focuses on the particular history of Latina/x/o Christian studies. The chapter offers a genealogy of scholarship on US Latina/x/o from the 1960s to the present. Scholarship from the 1960s and 1970s on US Latina/x/o mostly omitted religion, while scholarship of the 1980s and 1990s tended to focus on institutional Christianity and the various denomination leaders. More recent scholarship of US Latina/x/o attempts to offer a more balanced approach, focusing on institutional as well as more popular, “lived” manifestations of Christianity. Moreover, recent scholarship addresses religion as an integral component of the broader histories of US Latina/x/o. Current scholarship on US Latina/x/o Christianity seeks to address the intersectionalities of ethnicity, migration, religion, and gender.
Jesuits have commanded scholarly attention in recent years, with Jesuit studies almost becoming an independent academic discipline. However, their involvement in Africa remains largely unstudied, even though they were in parts of the continent for close to two centuries. Moreover, after their restoration in 1814, the Jesuits played a significant role in the evangelization of Africa. This essay is an overview of Jesuit presence in Africa over the centuries. While it gives more prominence to the historical missions of the pre-suppression period in Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia, it also covers more recent presence in Madagascar, southern Africa and Egypt, and concludes with a brief analysis of the state of the Society of Jesus in Africa today. The essay underscores the challenge of locating Jesuit records related to Africa and the importance of understanding early missionary efforts on the African continent for the benefit of similar efforts in our time.
That Pentecostalism stands out as among the fastest growing religious movements of the twentieth century in the United States and Latin America is a well-documented fact among scholars. Not until recently, however, scholars started to critically examine the rise of Latino Pentecostalism within the United States, a phenomenon that has been in the making for over a century. To better understand the historical development of Latino Pentecostalism in the United States, this chapter offers a three-part periodization: (1) Foundation: 1906–1929; (2) Building: 1930–1965; and (3) Expansion: 1966–2006. The conclusion then takes stock of the movement from 2006 to 2020, examining the sociopolitical climate in which Pentecostalism continues to flourish. Within these periods, this chapter traces broader cultural, organizational, and educational contours of denominations as they developed within the context of three macro-forces fundamental in the shaping of Latinidad in the United States: shifting racial sensibilities, immigration policies, and labor market demands.
This chapter traces the history of LDS Latinas/os, which is marked by moments of consecration, conversion, and coming to voice. Latina/o Saints navigate Mormon doctrine and Mormon culture through multiple reference points. Some find their conservative values supported, while others grow frustrated by the lack of adequate response to larger social justice issues like immigration, gender, and race politics. Some welcome the callings they receive to lead their wards as a way to make positive changes in ethnoreligious understanding, while others prefer to follow and obey the dictates of those in power. Far from a monolith, Latina/o Saints are a conglomerate of various national origins, class, political, and educational circumstances. This chapter emphasizes that whether or not they are genetically connected to the Book of Mormon, the presence of Spanish-speaking Saints from multiple backgrounds continues to grow. This chapter argues that if the population projections are accurate, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints must come to terms with a shift in minority–majority relations.