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1 Burnside Religion World- Voodoo and Santeria

Mama Lola a Voodoo Priestess in Brooklyn

by

Mama Lola a Voodoo Priestess in Brooklyn Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Mama Lola is about extraordinary people living ordinary lives. It is also about courage--that of the manbo and the scholar, both taking chances, both succeeding in the end. Karen McCarthy Brown offers a contemporary classic for those who seek Haiti. I am grateful."--Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Ph.D., Haitian houngan asogwe

"Karen McCarthy Brown's book on a Vodou priestess and her family is the first to successfully restore the real meaning of the religion as lived by Haitians. For once, all of Vodou's language and metaphysics unfold before our eyes--decoded, analyzed, and explicated not solely from a scientific or objectivist perspective but from the standpoint of a real hermeneutics, allowing the reader to comprehend those values with deep universal import that are found in the Haitian religion."--Laennec Hurbon, Directeur de Recherches, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

"Karen McCarthy Brown's Mama Lola is a recognized masterpiece of fieldwork, feminism, and moral interpretation. It changed many lives. To read it is to want to twirl the author, head-to-head, curtsying together at the four cardinal points. This is a Vodou way of saluting a great mentor. She enriches us all with her beautiful hisory of a remarkable woman and the luminous spirits that she serves. Liv sa, se pa betiz!--'this book does not fool around!'"--Robert Farris Thompson, Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art, Yale University

PRAISE FOR THE ORIGINAL EDITION

"I know of no other work about Vodou that can teach the uninitiated so fully what it means to know: how unassuming, contingent and matter-of-fact real konesans (understanding) must be."--Joan Dayan, Women's Review of Books

"This volume is superb: a poignant account of a Haitian migrant to New York and how she appropriates and reworks her family knowledge of healing and ritual... Gently informed by her own life and by women's anthropology, Brown offers a sympathetic and vivid portrait of the lives of a group of women."--Roland Littlewood, Political and Social Science

"Novelistic chapters, beautifully written, are alternated with a narrative of the present, including descriptions of the members of the Vodou pantheon and how Alourdes serves them. . . . She has written a life story that is full of feeling."--Constance Casey, Los Angeles Times

"Brown's ethnographic short stories vividly capture the complicated personal history that is summed up in Mama Lola's full name and they also dramatize the larger social processes at work in Haiti's recent history... Mama Lola provides an engaging, detailed, and sympathetic account of the world of Haitian Vodou. Brown has used a variety of interesting, and even daring, techniques to make that world come alive."--Eugene V. Gallagher, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"Karen McCarthy Brown's book on a Vodou priestess and her family is the first to successfully restore the real meaning of the religion as lived by Haitians. For once, all of Vodou's language and metaphysics unfold before our eyes--decoded, analyzed, and explicated not solely from a scientific or objectivist perspective but from the standpoint of a real hermeneutics, allowing the reader to comprehend those values with deep universal import that are found in the Haitian religion."--Laennec Hurbon, Directeur de Recherches, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

"Mama Lola is an insightful venture into the heart of a misunderstood religious system in which women have great claim to moral authority. Mama Lola's and Karen McCarthy Brown's diverse perspectives and individual utterances fuse in a powerful articulation of feminist intervention, cultural understanding, and spiritual democracy. This spendid book successfully merges the oftentimes dissonant voices of Western and Diasporic feminism. This is scholarship at its best."--Claudine Michel, Editor, Journal of Haitian Studies

Synopsis:

Vodou is among the most misunderstood and maligned of the world's religions. Mama Lola shatters the stereotypes by offering an intimate portrait of Vodou in everyday life. Drawing on a decade-long friendship with Mama Lola, a Vodou priestess, Karen McCarthy Brown tells tales spanning five generations of Vodou healers in Mama Lola's family, beginning with an African ancestor and ending with Mama Lola's daughter Maggie, a recent initiate and the designated heir to her Brooklyn-based healing practice. Out of these stories, in which dream and vision flavor everyday experience and the Vodou spirits guide decision making, Vodou emerges as a religion focused on healing brought about by mending broken relationships between the living, the dead, and the Vodou spirits.

Mama Lola is also an important experiment in feminist ethnographic writing designed to address current questions in the field. Brown begins with the assumption that ethnography is not so much a science as a social art form rooted in human relationships, and as such it is open to moral and aesthetic questions as well as to those more routinely addressed to it. Weaving several of her own voices—analytic, descriptive, and personal—with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of straightforward ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola's world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there. Mama Lola's story thus rises from a chorus of equally authoritative voices.

Deeply exploring the role of women in religious practices and the related themes of family and of religion and social change, Brown provides a rich context in which to understand the authority that urban Haitian women exercise in the home and in the Vodou temple. A broad range of general readers and scholars will find insights and new understandings in this startlingly original work.

Synopsis:

"Brown weaves together fictional, biographical, and ethnological narratives into a moving account of the life of a Vodou community and its leader, Mama Lola. This book belies the stereotypes that still distort the image of this ancient religion in the academic as well as the popular mind."—Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University

"An eloquent contribution to the emerging feminist paradigm of scholarship as engaged, embodied, and life-affirming."—Carol P. Christ, author of Laughter of Aphrodite

"A riveting narrative, rich in detail. Karen Brown brings a rare, well-informed regard to her interpretation of Haitian religious life."—Lawrence E. Sullivan, author of Icanchu's Drum: An Orientation to the Meaning of South American Religions

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 387-390) and index.

About the Author

Karen McCarthy Brown is Professor of the Sociology and Anthropology of Religion at the Graduate and Theological Schools of Drew University.

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2001 Edition

Preface to the First Edition

Introduction

1. Joseph Binbin Mauvant

2. Azaka

3. Raise That Woman's Petticoat

4. Ogou

5. The Baka Made from Jealousy

6. Kouzinn

7. Dreams and Promises

8. Ezili

9. Sojème, Sojème

10. Danbala

11. Plenty Confidence

12. Gede

Afterword

Glossary of Haitian Creole Terms

Bibliography

Index

What is new in this edition? Preface to the 2001 Edition; Afterword; more substantial Bibliography; and 21 photographs of Mama Lola and her family (no photographs were printed in the first edition)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520077805
Subtitle:
A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn
Author:
Brown, Karen Mccarth
Author:
Brown, Karen McCarthy
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Ethnic & Tribal
Subject:
Magick Studies
Subject:
Voodooism
Subject:
Voodoo
Subject:
Brooklyn
Subject:
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) Religion.
Subject:
Mambos
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Comparative Studies in Religion and Society (Paperback)
Series Volume:
4
Publication Date:
19911118
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1 in 21 oz

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » North America
Metaphysics » African and Latino
Metaphysics » Magic Witchcraft and Paganism
Metaphysics » Voodoo
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » World Religions » Voodoo and Santeria

Mama Lola a Voodoo Priestess in Brooklyn Used Trade Paper
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Product details 432 pages UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS - English 9780520077805 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Vodou is among the most misunderstood and maligned of the world's religions. Mama Lola shatters the stereotypes by offering an intimate portrait of Vodou in everyday life. Drawing on a decade-long friendship with Mama Lola, a Vodou priestess, Karen McCarthy Brown tells tales spanning five generations of Vodou healers in Mama Lola's family, beginning with an African ancestor and ending with Mama Lola's daughter Maggie, a recent initiate and the designated heir to her Brooklyn-based healing practice. Out of these stories, in which dream and vision flavor everyday experience and the Vodou spirits guide decision making, Vodou emerges as a religion focused on healing brought about by mending broken relationships between the living, the dead, and the Vodou spirits.

Mama Lola is also an important experiment in feminist ethnographic writing designed to address current questions in the field. Brown begins with the assumption that ethnography is not so much a science as a social art form rooted in human relationships, and as such it is open to moral and aesthetic questions as well as to those more routinely addressed to it. Weaving several of her own voices—analytic, descriptive, and personal—with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of straightforward ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola's world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there. Mama Lola's story thus rises from a chorus of equally authoritative voices.

Deeply exploring the role of women in religious practices and the related themes of family and of religion and social change, Brown provides a rich context in which to understand the authority that urban Haitian women exercise in the home and in the Vodou temple. A broad range of general readers and scholars will find insights and new understandings in this startlingly original work.

"Synopsis" by ,
"Brown weaves together fictional, biographical, and ethnological narratives into a moving account of the life of a Vodou community and its leader, Mama Lola. This book belies the stereotypes that still distort the image of this ancient religion in the academic as well as the popular mind."—Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University

"An eloquent contribution to the emerging feminist paradigm of scholarship as engaged, embodied, and life-affirming."—Carol P. Christ, author of Laughter of Aphrodite

"A riveting narrative, rich in detail. Karen Brown brings a rare, well-informed regard to her interpretation of Haitian religious life."—Lawrence E. Sullivan, author of Icanchu's Drum: An Orientation to the Meaning of South American Religions

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