From Tumor to Trophy

Paul Christopher Johnson

in Secrets, Gossip, and Gods

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195150582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834358 | DOI:
 From Tumor to Trophy

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Describes the sociopolitical context of the new republican public order of Brazil between 1889 and 1930 that uncovered a third historical layer of the practice of secrecy, now as resistance to the republic.

The problem of the classification of Candomblé in the Brazilian public sphere began in 1888 with abolition. It is precisely at this juncture that the relation of Afro‐Brazilians and their religions to Brazilian national identity became a pressing concern. With the advent of abolition and the inchoateness of Afro‐Brazilians’ new social position, their provisional status as “Brazilians” shifted in the eyes of white élites back to that of “Africans” and therefore, foreigners – a dangerous and polluting presence. The liberty of freed slaves to perform religious ceremonies involving drumming, sacrifice, and possession dance was an obvious site of contestation since it was in such ritual performances that difference – the “non‐Brazilian” identity – was most radically marked.

Keywords: abolition; Afro‐Brazilians; Brazilian; Candomblé; ceremonies; dance; drumming; possession; public; sacrifice

Chapter.  12842 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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