Special Issue "Syncretism and Liminality in Latin American and Latinx Religions"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021) | Viewed by 3545

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
Interests: Latin America; Eurasia; cultural studies; religions; feminine divinities; ancient civilizations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cross-cultural fertilization has been happening for thousands of years during migrations, invasions, wars, and other forms of displacement. In recent history, a notable period of intense, accelerated cultural exchanges started during the conquest and colonization of the Americas, and the forced conversion to Christianity of millions of Amerindians, as well as slaves imported from Africa. In the words of Fernando Ortiz: “All the cultural scale that Europe traversed in more than four millennia Cuba experienced in less than four centuries…. In one day in Cuba millennia and ages went by.” This situation that continued during colonial times and is still present today required extreme adaptability and fluidity, creating ideal conditions for multiple forms of syncretism. Since the mid-nineteenth century, another important layer has been added to this puzzle, through the prevalence of liminal conditions, engendered by the movement of populations between the United States and Mexico. In recent years, new circumstances of "liminality", "outsiderhood", "structural inferiority", and "marginality" have been created as a consequence of the war on drugs, climate change, extreme poverty, and displacement of millions of migrants from Mexico and Central America to the United States. This unprecedented, permanent liminal status has led to the creation of alternative economic as well as cultural, including religious, circuits and practices, both in the borderlands and in large urban areas across the USA, as well as in Latin America. There is a great need for documenting and analyzing the new phenomena that have deep roots in history but are being created daily in even more complex ways. Therefore, we are looking for contributions analyzing any new religious phenomena both in Latin America and in the United States, as well as for new approaches to existing literature on the topic.

Prof. Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information 

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Keywords

  • Latin America
  • Latinx
  • religion
  • syncretism
  • liminality

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Syncretic Santa Muerte: Holy Death and Religious Bricolage
Religions 2021, 12(3), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030220 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
In this article, we trace the syncretic origins and development of the new religious movement centered on the Mexican folk saint of death, Santa Muerte. We explore how she was born of the syncretic association of the Spanish Catholic Grim Reapress and Pre-Columbian [...] Read more.
In this article, we trace the syncretic origins and development of the new religious movement centered on the Mexican folk saint of death, Santa Muerte. We explore how she was born of the syncretic association of the Spanish Catholic Grim Reapress and Pre-Columbian Indigenous thanatologies in the colonial era. Through further religious bricolage in the post-colony, we describe how as the new religious movement rapidly expanded it integrated elements of other religious traditions, namely Afro-Cuban Santeria and Palo Mayombe, New Age beliefs and practices, and even Wicca. In contrast to much of the Eurocentric scholarship on Santa Muerte, we posit that both the Skeleton Saint’s origins and contemporary devotional framework cannot be comprehended without considering the significant influence of Indigenous death deities who formed part of holistic ontologies that starkly contrasted with the dualistic absolutism of European Catholicism in which life and death were viewed as stark polarities. We also demonstrate how across time the liminal power of death as a supernatural female figure has proved especially appealing to marginalized socioeconomic groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syncretism and Liminality in Latin American and Latinx Religions)
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Article
Mpambu Nzila: José Bedia at the Crossroads
Religions 2021, 12(3), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030172 - 06 Mar 2021
Viewed by 574
Abstract
The article draws on the Kongo term mpambu nzila of crossroads, that equally signifies altar, to discuss the paintings and drawings of Cuban-born artist José Bedia. He is a practitioner of Palo Briyumba, a syncretic Afro-Cuban religion that combines Kongo religious beliefs, Regla [...] Read more.
The article draws on the Kongo term mpambu nzila of crossroads, that equally signifies altar, to discuss the paintings and drawings of Cuban-born artist José Bedia. He is a practitioner of Palo Briyumba, a syncretic Afro-Cuban religion that combines Kongo religious beliefs, Regla de Ocha, Spiritism, and Catholicism. The article examines six works by the artist from 1984 to 1999 and how Bedia represents Palo in his art. Additionally, the centrality of the nganga (a cauldron that paleros use to work for and protect them) is discussed historically, philosophically, and religiously as a physical and spiritual embodiment of the crossroads. Bedia’s work is also analyzed using the Sankofa bird as metaphor (of flying forward and looking back) and as an example of the West African notion of coolness. The article also examines Palo as a de-colonial way of knowing and ends with the crossroads through the example of Lucero Mundo (Elegguá). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syncretism and Liminality in Latin American and Latinx Religions)
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