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Fetishes and Monuments

Afro-Brazilian Art and Culture in the 20th Century

Roger Sansi

224 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-363-3 $125.00/£89.00 hb Published (December 2007)

ISBN  978-1-84545-711-2 $29.95/£21.00 Pb Published (December 2009)

eISBN 978-0-85745-540-6 eBook


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“In all, this is an exciting study on a consolidated historiographic and anthropological theme such as Afro-Brazilian culture, since it does not take for granted the established truths, or the political practices and though, that both history and anthropology have set out to support in twentieth-century Brazil.”  ·  Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire

“…the impressive research and sensitive analyses…make this book an important and original contribution to the cultural history of the region. Anthropologists and historians interested in the development of Candomblé …and in the processes of objectification and appropriation of everyday practices and things as symbols of collective identity, will certainly find much of interest in Sansi’s work.”  ·  Journal of Latin American Studies

“This book…brings a new level of analytical rigor to the artistic study of African–American religious objects…Sansi’s economical prose allows him to make complex theoretical, historical, ethnographic, and aesthetic arguments succinctly. Its clarity and brevity makes it attractive for course adoption especially in African-Diaspora studies, museum studies and ‘non-western’ art history courses.”  ·  The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology

“Sansi’s book raises important questions about objectification, appropriation, syncretism, and cultural change in Brazil…the result is a lucid analysis of change over time in light of the political and social history of Brazil and the changes within Candomblé values and beliefs.”  ·  JRAI

"A sensitive, well-written, fine analysis of a culture undergoing multiple transitions, without a certain future. Highly recommended."   ·  Choice

One hundred years ago in Brazil the rituals of Candomblé 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.

Series: Volume 6, Remapping Cultural History
Subject: General Cultural Studies Museum Studies General Anthropology
Area: Latin America

LC: BL65.C8 S27 2007

BL: YC.2009.a.4445

BISAC: ART059000 ART/Museum Studies; SOC000000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/General

BIC: GM Museology & heritage studies; JFC Cultural studies




Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements

Introduction: Culture and Objectification in the Black Rome

Chapter 1. ‘Making the Saint’: Spirits, Shrines and Syncretism in Candomblé
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: Candomblé in Museums
Chapter 5. From the Shanties to the Mansions: Candomblé as National Heritage
Chapter 6. Modern Art and Afro-Brazilian Culture in Bahia
Chapter 7. Authenticity and Commodification in Afro-Brazilian Art
Chapter 8. Candomblé as Public Art: The Orixás of Tororó
Chapter 9. Re-appropriations of Afro-Brazilian Culture

Bibliography
Index

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