Matory’s Contribution

J. Lorand Matory’s Black Atlantic Religion is definitely a must-read book for all scholars and students of Afro-American religions and cultures. Matory’s deep experience in Òyó-Yorùbá religious practices and patterns represents a crucial vessel for its Brazilian counterpart the Bahia Candomblé. Along with Peel’s Religious Encounter and the Making of Yoruba, Black Atlantic Religion enclose an ‘other side’ perspective from long-term Brazilian models on African Diaspora and mostly on Candomblé’s traditions and background patterns. The Lagosian Renaissance, the men in a city of women and the counterpart of Òyó ritual processes, are some of the central aspects that allows me to put this book on the top of my shelf. Matory’s historical perspective enriches the Anthropology in a new way. There is no longer acceptable that an anthropologist pays no attention to historical processes on religious patterns, rites or discourses.

2 thoughts on “Matory’s Contribution”

  1. What about the fact that Matory basically describes matriarchal leadership of Candomble as a recent invention that was ultimately caused by Ruth Landes’ book City of Women? In other words, Matory casts major doubt on the normality of female leadership in Candomble, for which it is known today and treats it as a historical anomaly. Do you share Matory’s opinion that whatever anthropologists write about Afro Latin religions has the power to shape the ritual history that priests follow today? Every Candomble practitioner with whom I’ve discussed this book has been thoroughly offended by it. What about his long-winded and tired diatribe against Oyeronke Oyewumi? Do you think that was an important contribution to the field?

  2. Thanks for your questions. I do not agree that matriarchal leadership on Candomblé is a recent invention, and I do not think that Matory is necessarily saying that. In fact Ruth Landes’ work was an anthropological anomaly, in the sense that she was just transposing her feminist militancy to Candomblé. In that sense, I am quite sure that every anthropological speech is a layer putted up the object, that definitely changes the landscape.That is something I am working on.

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