One hundred years ago in Brazil the rituals of Candomble were feared as sorcery and persecuted as crime. Its cult objects were fearsome fetishes. Nowadays, they are Afro-Brazilian cultural works of art, objects of museum display and public monuments. Focusing on the particular histories of objects, images, spaces and persons who embodied it, this book portrays the historical journey from weapons of sorcery looted by the police, to hidden living stones, to public works of art attacked by religious fanatics that see them as images of the Devil, former sorcerers who have become artists, writers, and philosophers. Addressing this history as a journey of objectification and appropriation, the author offers a fresh, unconventional, and illuminating look at questions of syncretism, hybridity and cultural resistance in Brazil and in the Black Atlantic in general.
Roger Sansi is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmith's College, London .He has conducted research on Afro-Brazilian art and culture in Brazil. Recently he has worked on the history of the term "fetish" in the Lusophone Black Atlantic.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: Culture and Objectification in the Black Rome Chapter 1. 'Making the Saint': Spirits, Shrines and Syncretism in Candomble Chapter 2. From Sorcery to Civilisation: The Objectification of Afro-Brazilian Culture Chapter 3. From Informants to Scholars: Appropriating Afro-Brazilian Culture Chapter 4. From Weapons of Crime to Jewels of the Crown: Candomble in Museums Chapter 5. From the Shanties to the Mansions: Candomble as National Heritage Chapter 6. Modern Art and Afro-Brazilian Culture in Bahia Chapter 7. Authenticity and Commodification in Afro-Brazilian Art Chapter 8. Candomble as Public Art: The Orixas of Tororo Chapter 9. Re-appropriations of Afro-Brazilian Culture Bibliography Index