Religion and the Politics of Diaspora in an Era of Postcolonial Multiculturalism

Keith E. McNeal

in Trance and Modernity in the Southern Caribbean

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037363
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042121 | DOI:
Religion and the Politics of Diaspora in an Era of Postcolonial Multiculturalism

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The central question in this chapter is why each of the study's focal traditions has experienced such different political fates in the postcolonial era: Afrocentric embracing of Shango versus an Indocentric blind eye toward Shakti Puja? If they are convergent in so many respects at the grassroots level, then why have these vernacular ritual traditions become so divergently politicized in the postcolonial era? The chapter accounts for this divergence in terms of differing colonial ideologies of racial subordination regarding Africans versus Indians in the articulation of hierarchy and religion in the southern Caribbean, as well as their reiterative effects within the field of postcolonial multicultural politics that emerged in the time-released wake of decolonization. Indeed, colonial ideologies of racial subordination continue to cast their spell across the terrain of religious and cultural politics in Trinidad and Tobago, despite the aims of activists on both sides to contest colonial ideology and overturn the colonization of spiritual consciousness inherited from the past. The analysis proceeds with an understanding of diasporas as alternative counter-nationalisms, and as resources for emergent postcolonialisms.

Keywords: Afrocentrism; Indocentrism; colonial racial ideology; postcolonialism; multiculturalism; diaspora; counter-nationalism

Chapter.  21506 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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