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Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodun, Puerto Rican Spiritualism: A Multiculturalist Inquiry into Syncretism

Andrés I. Pérez y Mena
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 15-27
DOI: 10.2307/1388026
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1388026
Page Count: 13
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Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodun, Puerto Rican Spiritualism: A Multiculturalist Inquiry into Syncretism
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Abstract

Research in the area of Afro-Latin religions has traditionally viewed Cuban Santería, Haitian "Vodun" and Puerto Rican Spiritualism as unrelated. Common methodological problems in the consideration of syncretism have contributed to a Eurocentric belief that the sole mediators of the enslaved were the institutions wielding hegemony. This article includes a review of both historical and contemporary research. Prior research on Afro-Latin religions is viewed as Eurocentric and as tending toward deforming the image of Africans in the New World. There is also an analysis of Santería, as "La Regla de Ocha" is popularly known in Cuba; of "La Religión Lucumí," as Santería practitioners prefer being called in the United States and of Haitian "Vodun." Puerto Rican Spiritualism is discussed and comparisons are made with other Afro-Latin religions. A critique of syncretism as a deterministic tool is provided from a multicultural-Afrocentric viewpoint. Gender restrictions and the issues of sexual preferences within the religions are also discussed. A multilingual bibliography is also included.

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