Work of the Fellows: Monographs

La formation du Candomblé: Histoire et rituel du vodun au Brésil

Parés, Luis Nicolau (Fellow, 2010-11)

Zeni, Marie; Zonzon, Christine, trans.

Paris: Karthala, 2022

From the publisher's description:

By combining oral traditions and rituals with handwritten and printed documents, Luis Nicolau Parés wrote a remarkable history of slaves brought to Brazil, origins of the region where the powerful kingdom of Dahomey was located, in the present Republic of Benin. These Africans, called Jeje in Bahia, constitute an ethnic identity whose formation, though known, had never been the object of the in-depth study that the reader will find in this book. In the cultural processes that helped to establish the nation, I must emphasize the religion of vodun, the gods of the Dahomey. It is precisely the study of Candomblé jeje which is at the heart of this book. His most controversial thesis argues that priests of vodun, besides the ritual model including the worship of multiple deities in the same temple, provided the organizational model of the family of Saint Candomblé de Bahia. This argument calls into question the primordial role of the Nago traditions, hitherto attributed to these aspects by the oral tradition and the anthropological studies on candomblé of Bahia. Luis Nicolau Parés has reconstructed the history of two Jewish religious communities, from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present day. The book concludes with an ethnography of the jeje ritual that identifies changes over time in Brazil and Africa. This book renews and enriches the cultural history of Brazil.

Subjects: Religion; History; Candomblé Jejé; West African Vodun; Ethnic Identity; Ethnography; Brazilians; Cultural History;