The objective of this volume was to go beyond the view of Christian (Catholic) elements in African Atlantic world performance traditions as either forcefully imposed and reluctantly accepted by enslaved or disenfranchised Africans or radically transformed into hybrid forms of resistance and empowerment. In order to give more nuanced accounts of certain festive celebrations in the African Americas, the contributors explore and argue for the importance of precedents originating in the west-central African world of the early modern Catholic Kongo kingdom (sixteenth to nineteenth centuries) that were adopted, adapted, and transformed to serve as vehicles for “autonomous cultural expression, social organization, and political empowerment” (p. 1). With this as the framing proposition, the authors offer an array of detailed examples of how a distinctive Kongo Christianity helped to shape the cultures and histories of Africans in the Americas. In short, the main argument is that syncretism was already in place...
Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition
Henry John Drewal is Evjue-Bascom Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Art History and Afro-American Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Henry John Drewal; Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition. African Arts 2022; 55 (4): 90–91. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/afar_r_00687
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