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By C. Sterling

This article explores how Afro-Brazilians outline their Africanness via Candomblé and Quilombo types, and build paradigms of blackness with impacts from US-based views, throughout the vectors of public rituals, carnival, drama, poetry, and hip hop.

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Additional info for African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity in Brazil

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This restructuring of affiliation is also apparent in the emphasis placed on the tempestuous and turbulent natures of Iansã and Oshun (Carneiro, Candomblés 20). Both Iansã and Oshun are wives of Shango; yet each one materializes an entirely different 46 AFRICAN ROOTS, BR A ZILIAN RITES personality from the other. Iansã is the tumultuous force symbolized by the whirlwind, who simultaneously serves as the guardian of the dead; Oshun is the epitome of beauty, fertility, and the creative nurturing force that gives life.

Yet the enslaved in Salvador were integral participants in the religion, undoubtedly due to the greater freedom they enjoyed compared to their counterparts on the fazendas [plantations]. Life in Salvador differed greatly from life on a plantation, in that the liberto [free] and escravo [slave] populations mixed freely. Both J. J. Reis (1993) and Harding (2000) speak of such cohesive groupings as distinctive to Brazilian slavery in the ways the libertos and escravos shared living and working spaces, and conducted friendships and intimate relations.

Since such sodalities were less patrolled by the dominant culture, adherents selected what they needed from within their shared experiential and hermeneutic knowledge. In consecrating an African worldview, culture became a site for resistance (Said, Culture 157), generating filiations that belie bloodlines and, rather, privilege the most useful practices in the quotidian struggles and negotiations with the centers of power. They generated the modalities for new forms of unity and identity through “collective belonging within the terreiro community” (Harding, Refugee 54).

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