A Refuge in Thunder

A Refuge in Thunder

Candomblé and Alternative Spaces of Blackness
Rachel E. Harding
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/19/2003
Format: Paperback 1 bibliog.
ISBN: 978-0-253-21610-6
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[An important] detailing of the development and evolution of a major institution of the African Diaspora [and] of Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian identity." —Sheila S. Walker

The Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé has long been recognized as an extraordinary resource of African tradition, values, and identity among its adherents in Bahia, Brazil. Outlawed and persecuted in the late colonial and imperial period, Candomblé nevertheless developed as one of the major religious expressions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora. Drawing principally on primary sources, such as police archives, Rachel E. Harding describes the development of the religion as an "alternative" space in which subjugated and enslaved blacks could gain a sense of individual and collective identity in opposition to the subaltern status imposed upon them by the dominant society.

Author Bio

Rachel E. Harding is Director of The Veterans of Hope Project at the Iliff School of Theology. She earned a Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of Colorado in 1997. Her essay "'What Part of the River You're In': African-American Women in Devotion to Osun" appears in Osun across the Waters: A Yoruba Goddess in Africa and the Americas (Indiana University Press, 2001). Harding is also a poet and has published work in Callaloo, Chelsea, Feminist Studies, The International Review of African American Art, Hambone, and several anthologies.

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Table of Contents



1. Slavery, Africanos Libertos and the Question of Black Presence in Nineteenth-Century Brazil
2. Salvador: The Urban Environment
3. The Bolsa de Mandinga and Calundu: Afro-Brazilian Religion as Fetish and Fetiçaria
4. "Dis Continuity," Context and Documentation: Origins and Interpretations of the Religion
5. The Nineteenth-Century Development of Candomblé
6. Healing and Cultivating Axé: Profiles of Candomblé Leaders and Communities
7. Networks of Support, Spaces of Resistance: Alternative Orientations of Black Life in Nineteenth-Century Bahia
8. Candomblé as Feitiço: Reterritorialization, Embodiment and the Alchemy of History in an Afro-Brazilian Religion
Coda: Abolition, Freedom and Candomblé as Alternative Cidadania in Brazil.

Appendix: Selected Documents from the Arquivo Público do Estado da Bahia