Candomblé, Afro-Brazilian Culture, and Anti-Racism

Stephen Selka

in Religion and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Bahia, Brazil

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780813031712
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039572 | DOI:
Candomblé, Afro-Brazilian Culture, and Anti-Racism

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This chapter discusses Candomblé, Afro-Brazilian culture and anti-racism within the context of the several diverse African-derived religions in Salvador and other Afro-Brazilian communities. This chapter focuses on Salvador which is home to the oldest and most famous Candomblé terreiros in Bahia wherein several of these terrieros date back to the nineteenth century and were favored by some of Bahia's most prominent politicians and entertainers. The chapter also discusses the changes that have catapulted the Salvador Candomblé terreiros into less legitimate, less authentic, commercialized and folklorized version of Candomblé. The chapter also closely examines the concept of syncretism versus re-Africanization and anti-syncretism. Re-Africanization is the movement that aims to return to authentic African traditions to establish Candomblé as a religion of its own right. Anti-syncretism on the other hand aims to eliminate Catholic elements from Candomblé practices including the negative effects of the commercialization of the African-derived religion. The chapter also tackles the political involvement of the members of the African-derived religion on the issues of racism. This chapter illustrates the rather individualistic stance on anti-racism and anti-syncretism rather than the presumed collective political opinion represented by the terreiros.

Keywords: Candomblé; Afro-Brazilian culture; anti-racism; African-derived religions; Salvador; Candomblé terreiros; Bahia; folklorized; re-Africanization

Chapter.  9430 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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