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Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora


Linda Heywood, Jan Vansina, Joseph C. Miller, John K. Thornton, Mary Karasch, Elizabeth W. Kiddy, Robert W. Slenes, Wyatt MacGaffey, Jane Landers, Hein Vanhee, Terry Rey, Ras Michael B. Brown, Monica Schuler, Thomas J. Desch-Obi
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  • Date Published: December 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521802437

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About the Authors
  • This book, first published in 2001, sets out a paradigm that increases our understanding of African culture and the forces that led to its transformation during the period of the Atlantic slave trade and beyond, putting long over-due emphasis on the importance of Central African culture to the cultures of the United States, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Focusing on the Kongo/Angola culture zone, the book illustrates how African peoples re-shaped their cultural institutions, beliefs and practices as they interacted with Portuguese slave traders up to 1800, then follows Central Africans through all the regions where they were taken as slaves and recaptives. Here, for the first time in one volume, leading scholars of Africa, Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean have collaborated to analyze the culture history of Africa and its diaspora. This interdisciplinary approach across geographic areas is sure to set a precedent for other scholars of Africa and its diaspora.

    • In-depth articles on the people and culture of central Africa from the first contact with Europeans
    • Interdisciplinary and comparative; several of the contributors are anthropologists
    • Includes chapters on slavery and black culture in the US and Brazil: the two countries with the largest populations of African descent in the Americas
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2001
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521802437
    • length: 402 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.76kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 12 maps 28 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Forward Jan Vansina
    Introduction Linda Heywood
    Part I. Central Africa: Society, Culture and the Slave Trade:
    1. Central Africa during the era of the slave trade, c. 1490s–1850s Joseph C. Miller
    2. Religious and ceremonial life in the Congo and Mbundu areas, 1500–1700 John K. Thornton
    3. Portuguese into African: the eighteenth century Central African background to Atlantic Creole culture Linda Heywood
    Part II. Central Africans in Brazil:
    4. Central Africans in Central Brazil, 1780–1835 Mary Karasch
    5. Who is king of the Congo? A new look at African and Afro-Brazilian Kings in Brazil Elizabeth W. Kiddy
    6. The great porpoise-skull strike: Central-African water spirits and slave identity in early nineteenth-century Rio De Janeiro Robert W. Slenes
    Part III. Central Africans in Haiti and Spanish America:
    7. Twins, Simbi spirits and Lwas in Kongo and Haiti Wyatt MacGaffey
    8. The Central African presence in Spanish Maroon communities Jane Landers
    9. Central African popular Christianity and the making of Haitian Vodou religion Hein Vanhee
    10. Kongolese catholic influences on Haitian popular Catholicism: a socio-historical exploration Terry Rey
    Part IV. Central Africans in North America and the Caribbean:
    11. 'Walk in the Feenda': West-Central Africans and the forest in the South Carolina-Georgia low country Ras Michael B. Brown
    12. Liberated Central Africans in nineteenth century Guyana Monic Schuler
    13. Combat and the crossing of the Kalunga Thomas J. Desch-Obi.

  • Editor

    Linda M. Heywood, Howard University, Washington DC


    Linda Heywood, Jan Vansina, Joseph C. Miller, John K. Thornton, Mary Karasch, Elizabeth W. Kiddy, Robert W. Slenes, Wyatt MacGaffey, Jane Landers, Hein Vanhee, Terry Rey, Ras Michael B. Brown, Monica Schuler, Thomas J. Desch-Obi

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