Black Religions with White Faces: The Creolization of Religious Belief and Cultural Practice in Colonial Angola, Brazil and Cuba, 1600-1889
Elrick, Joanna Kathleen
This dissertation is an examination of religion, culture and social history in colonial Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. The basic premise of this dissertation is that Africans and their descendants in the Iberian Atlantic World had a significant impact on broader religiosity in their respective societies, and transmitted African cultural and religious beliefs and practices to the European-descended peoples in these civilizations. Using evidence culled from a diverse range of documentary sources, including records from the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisitions, political correspondence, ecclesiastical records, and census data, the goal of this dissertation is not simply to demonstrate that whites adopted black religious beliefs and practices from the earliest days of contact, but to identify the avenues by which this transmission of cosmologies, symbols, and ritual practices occurred. In this way, the religious practices are more of a means to an end, to highlight social relations and power dynamics between groups from differing races and cultures.