By Aisha Beliso-De Jesús
Santería is an African-inspired, Cuban diaspora faith lengthy stigmatized as witchcraft and sometimes brushed aside as superstition, but its spirit- and possession-based practices are speedily profitable adherents the world over. Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús introduces the time period "copresence" to trap the present transnational adventure of Santería, during which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, monks, and non secular tourists remake neighborhood, nationwide, and political barriers and reconfigure notions of know-how and transnationalism.
Drawing on 8 years of ethnographic examine in Havana and Matanzas, Cuba, and in long island urban, Miami, l. a., and the San Francisco Bay quarter, Beliso-De Jesús strains the phenomenon of copresence within the lives of Santería practitioners, mapping its emergence in transnational areas and old moments and its ritual negotiation of race, imperialism, gender, sexuality, and spiritual shuttle. Santería's spirits, deities, and practitioners permit electronic applied sciences for use in new methods, inciting special encounters via video and different media. removing conventional perceptions of Santería as a static, localized perform or as a part of a mythologized "past," this e-book emphasizes the religion's dynamic circulations and demands nontranscendental understandings of non secular transnationalisms.
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Extra resources for Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion
The paralyzing paradoxes of ethnographer-practitioner in Santería research can be seen in how Michael Atwood Mason (2002, 1) eloquently demonstrates how he struggles very openly with the subject position of priest-scholar: In 1992 I underwent a ritual initiation to become a priest in Santería, an Afro-Cuban religion. In deciding to do so, I changed my social life forever. Because my social world now included intimate, lasting relationships with both people and spirits in Santería, my thinking and writing had to change.
As I discuss elsewhere (Beliso-De Jesús 2013b), American versions of Santería have been read as faggotized (mariconerías) or “whitened” by Cuban santeros (see chapter 4). The geopolitics of race and sexuality cannot be dislocated from various technologies of modernity and tradition (Clarke and Thomas 2006). By disrupting African diaspora as an entity, condition, or identity (see Patterson and Kelley 2001) to instead envision these relationalities as diasporic assemblages, we can examine how religious tourist markets and travel are also complicit with problematic relations of power.
They form part of transnational Santería event spaces. An artiﬁcial distance continues to be written into our understandings of culture, religion, and politics (Asad 2003). No matter how far we seemingly perceive ourselves to have come, there is a continued preoccupation with reductionist binary or dichotomous thinking—modernity and traditions, religion and secularism, the West and the Rest, the natives and the anthropologist—that inﬁ ltrates our scholarly perceptions (Asad 2003). Indeed, African and African diaspora spiritualities have for the most part continued to be examined through theories of transcendence and notions of mediation (Engelke 2010; van de Port 2011b).