Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora

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This volume sets out a new paradigm that increases our understanding of African culture and the forces that led to its transformation during the period of the Atlantic slave trade and beyond, putting long due emphasis on the importance of Central African culture to the cultures of the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Focusing on the Kongo/Angola culture zone, the book illustrates how African peoples re-shaped their cultural institutions as they interacted with Portuguese slave traders up to 1800, then follows Central Africans through all the regions where they were taken as slaves and captives.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an exemplary collection of essays, presenting new information and interpretations that fundamentally revise and deepen our understanding of the slave trade and the African diaspora." American Historical Review

"[T]he overall architecture of this book is strong and telling. Graduate students and faculty." Choice

"This path-breaking volume is a long overdue illumination of Central African influences on the slave cultures of the Americas and a refreshing reassessment of the transmission of African ideas, beliefs, and rituals...the essays represent an important launch pad for the debates that will no doubt shape slave studies well into the future. For those engaged in slave studies, this book will be indespensable." Transforming Anthropology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521802437
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/26/2001
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Forward Jan Vansina; Introduction Linda Heywood; Part I. Central Africa: Society, Culture and the Slave Trade: 1. Central Africa during the era of the slave trade, c. 1490sā€“1850s Joseph C. Miller; 2. Religious and ceremonial life in the Congo and Mbundu areas, 1500ā€“1700 John K. Thornton; 3. Portuguese into African: the eighteenth century Central African background to Atlantic Creole culture Linda Heywood; Part II. Central Africans in Brazil: 4. Central Africans in Central Brazil, 1780ā€“1835 Mary Karasch; 5. Who is king of the Congo? A new look at African and Afro-Brazilian Kings in Brazil Elizabeth W. Kiddy; 6. The great porpoise-skull strike: Central-African water spirits and slave identity in early nineteenth-century Rio De Janeiro Robert W. Slenes; Part III. Central Africans in Haiti and Spanish America: 7. Twins, Simbi spirits and Lwas in Kongo and Haiti Wyatt MacGaffey; 8. The Central African presence in Spanish Maroon communities Jane Landers; 9. Central African popular Christianity and the making of Haitian Vodou religion Hein Vanhee; 10. Kongolese catholic influences on Haitian popular Catholicism: a socio-historical exploration Terry Rey; Part IV. Central Africans in North America and the Caribbean: 11. 'Walk in the Feenda': West-Central Africans and the forest in the South Carolina-Georgia low country Ras Michael B. Brown; 12. Liberated Central Africans in nineteenth century Guyana Monic Schuler; 13. Combat and the crossing of the Kalunga Thomas J. Desch-Obi.
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