Publications

Then We'll Sing a New Song: African Influences on America's Religious Landscape

Then We'll Sing a New Song: African Influences on America's Religious Landscape

Then We’ll Sing a New Song is a fascinating examination of how African religions have shaped belief and practices in America. Not just the story of the development of African American religions or the black church, this book tells the often-unrecognized, but important story of how African religions have shaped religion in America more broadly.

Introduces readers to the cultures of three African kingdoms that contributed significant numbers of their population to the African slave trade, and also profoundly shaped religion in America—the Kingdom of Kongo, the Oyo Empire, and the Kingdom of Dahomey. Each of these groups has a unique history within the long history of the Atlantic slave trade and interacts with the Americas at a specific point in history. Clark shows how each may have had an influence on contemporary American beliefs and culture, sometimes in surprising ways. The book features a glossary, timeline, and maps. [more]

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Santeria: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion

Santeria: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion is a basic introduction for general readers.

Santeria, also known as Yoruba, Lukumi, or Orisha, was originally brought to the Americas from Africa by enslaved peoples destined for the Caribbean and South America. By the late 1980s it was estimated that more than 70 million African and American people participated in, or were familiar with, the various forms of Santeria, including traditional religions in Africa, Vodun in Haiti, Candomble in Brazil, Shango religion in Trinidad, Santeria in Cuba and, of course, variants of all of these in the U.S. Today there are practitioners around the world including Europe and Asia. Because of the secretive nature of the religion, it has been difficult to get accurate and objective information, but here, Clark introduces readers to the religion, explores the basic elements, including the Orisha, and answers the many questions Santeria arouses in observers and practitioners alike.

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Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santeria Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implication

Where Men are Wives and Mothers Rule: Santeria Ritual Practices and Their Gender Implication

While much theological thinking assumes a normative male perspective, this study demonstrates how our ideas of religious beliefs and practices change in the light of gender awareness. Exploring the philosophy and practices of the Orisha traditions (principally the Afro-Cuban religious complex known as Santería) as they have developed in the Americas, Clark suggests that, unlike many mainstream religions, these traditions exist within a female-normative system in which all practitioners are expected to take up female gender roles.
Examining the practices of divination, initiation, possession trance, sacrifice, and witchcraft in successive chapters, Clark explores the ways in which Santería beliefs and practices deviate from the historical assumptions about and the conceptual implications of these basic concepts. After tracing the standard definition of each term and describing its place within the worldview of Santería, Clark teases out its gender implications to argue for the female-normative nature of the religion. By arguing that gender is a fluid concept within Santería, Clark suggests that the qualities of being female form the ideal of Santeria religious practice for both men and women. In addition, she asserts that the Ifa cult organized around the male-only priesthood of the babalawo is an independent tradition that has been incompletely assimilated into the larger Santería complex.

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Other Publications

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