Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in by Christopher C. Fennell

By Christopher C. Fennell

Christopher Fennell deals a clean viewpoint on ways in which the earliest enslaved Africans preserved important elements in their traditions and identities within the New international. He additionally explores related advancements between eu immigrants and the interactions of either teams with local Americans.


Focusing on extant artifacts left by way of displaced Africans, Fennell reveals that fabric tradition and non secular ritual contributed to quite a few modes of survival in mainland North the United States in addition to within the Caribbean and Brazil. over the years, new symbols of tradition ended in extra adjustments in person customs and ideology in addition to the construction of recent social teams and new expressions of identity.


Presenting insights from archaeology, historical past, and symbolic anthropology, this ebook lines the dynamic legacy of the trans-Atlantic diasporas over 4 centuries, and it demanding situations current techniques of creolization and cultural retention. within the approach, it examines a few of the significant cultural trust platforms of west and west principal Africa, particular symbols of the BaKongo and Yoruba cosmologies, improvement of fashionable African-American spiritual expressions within the Americas, and the Christian and non-Christian religious traditions of German-speaking immigrants from principal Europe.

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The possible association of this skull figure, and its crossed-line motif, with African American cultural traditions is highly intriguing. If the crossed lines are similar to the X marks on colonoware pottery that Ferguson argues are derived from the BaKongo culture of west central Africa (see fig. 2), it is apparent that these are highly abbreviated expressions of a rich cultural tradition and symbolic repertoire. The covert placement of such a symbolladen object raises provocative issues as well.

This skull could have been buried under the floorboards to work its magic on the target as that person walked over the hidden item. The simple burying of a conjure item has the significance of invoking death as well. This may have been an initial curse or a counter-spell worked to fight back against a suspected witch. The M (or H) and D could be the initials of Mary, Mahlon, Margaretha, or Harry Demory, signifying the person targeted by From the Diminutive to the Transatlantic 25 this invocation of spiritual forces.

Handler and Lange 1978: 216–19). Then, applying that predictive model, I outline the patterns of symbolic expressions one would expect to see in new settings. In chapter 5, I examine an apparent divergence in the way these processes of emblematic and instrumental expressions played out at sites in North America, the Caribbean, and South America. Private, instrumental symbolism was prevalent in the religious artifacts uncovered at African American sites in North America. I apply the predictive model to analyze, among other artifacts, the skull figure uncovered at the Demory house site.

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