UCL Anthropology Working Papers Series
Department of Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton Street, London
WC1H 0BW, U.K.
Editorial Board: Sara Randall, Martin Holbraad
Working Paper No. 02/2009
Published online November 27, 2009
© Copyright rests with the authors
THINGS OF AFRICA: RETHINKING CANDOMBLÉ IN BRAZIL
Dissertation submitted in 2007 for the MSc Social Anthropology
Candomblé is the most well known of the Afro-Brazilian religions. The question of the relationship of Africa to the Afro-Brazilian religions has been the subject of a considerable amount of attention from anthropology, yet the manner of this relationship has traditionally been seen in terms either historical - i.e. Africa simply as the origin of these religions - or political - Africa used as a tool for various means by practitioners of Candomblé. A new interpretation of Candomblé should be considered; one that focuses attention on to the question of ritual efficacy and ritual production. Given such an interpretation, the question of Africa can be cast in a new light. Following an overview of anthropological approaches to Candomblé, including such a new interpretation, existing ethnographic examples will be analysed in order to examine just what the notion of Africa could entail to the adepts of Candomblé themselves.