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Exploring Traditional African Religion

Melanin Magic: Exploring the Legacy of African Religion

  • Ended
  • Free
  • Online Session

Service Description

During the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil (by way of the Portuguese) imported more African slaves than any other country. By the time slavery was abolished in Brazil, an estimated five million slaves had been imported from Africa to Brazil, 40% of the total number of slaves brought to the Americas; more than two million slaves came through Rio alone, more than five times the number brought to U.S. Today, this has contributed to Brazil having the largest population of people of African descent, outside of the Continent. Enslaved Africans brought their traditions and beliefs with them when they were shipped to during the slave trade. Since the 15th century — indigenous African religions have spread and taken root all over the world, including in the United States and Europe. Some of these African diaspora religions include Yoruba, Cuba-Regla de Ocha (Santeria), Haitian Vodou, and Brazilian Candomble. This seminar will focus on Legacy of African Religion notably Candomblé which draws on the religious traditions of a multiplicity of African ethnic groups, but especially the Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu. We will examine the cultural traces, history and practice of the most popular Afro-Brazilian religion. The goal is to provide a fuller understanding of the complexity and richness of African indigenous religion and practice by viewing it not as a foil or as a useful comparative to better understand Western religions, but as a system of thought and belief that should be valued and understood for its own ideas and contribution to global religions. Not all African religions survived. Traditions have been both celebrated and denigrated and even condemned as “devil worship." Join us as we introduce the native religious beliefs of the African people before the Christian and Islamic colonization of Africa, new concepts in religious practiced in other countries, and has as many as two million followers.