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Spiritual Citizenship: Transnational Pathways from Black Power to Ifá in Trinidad

N. Fadeke Castor (Duke University Press 2017)
Available in hardcover, paperback and ebook
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In Spiritual Citizenship N. Fadeke Castor employs the titular concept to illuminate how Ifá/Orisha practices informed by Yoruba cosmology shape local, national, and transnational belonging in African diasporic communities in Trinidad and beyond. Drawing on almost two decades of fieldwork in Trinidad, Castor outlines how the political activism and social upheaval of the 1970s set the stage for African diasporic religions to enter mainstream Trinidadian society. She establishes how the postcolonial performance of Ifá/Orisha practices in Trinidad fosters a sense of belonging that invigorates its practitioners to work toward freedom, equality, and social justice. Demonstrating how spirituality is inextricable from the political project of black liberation, Castor illustrates the ways in which Ifá/Orisha beliefs and practices offer Trinidadians the means to strengthen belonging throughout the diaspora, access past generations, heal historical wounds, and envision a decolonial future.

Spiritual Citizenship is a tour-de-force of the twenty-first-century kind. It proposes a reconceptualization of the way that scholars understand notions of cultural citizenship, insisting that we consider the spiritual epistemologies engaged in sacred meaning making. Through an examination of the complex ways that new domains of belonging are being negotiated and lifeworlds made meaningful, Spiritual Citizenship moves the anthropological scholarship on Orisha religious practices to a new level of engagement with spiritual ontologies of citizenship. It is a must read for those committed to decolonizing anthropology through the last bastion of the enlightenment—that of decolonizing our epistemologies of knowledge.”
Kamari Maxine Clarke, author of, Mapping Yoruba Networks: Power and Agency in the Making of Transnational Communities

“Trinidad and Tobago gives N. Fadeke Castor a rich and generative field to discuss blackness and pan-Africanism in new ways. Having amassed a deep and fascinating archive—tracing key individuals, rituals, and racial, color, and class consciousness—Castor makes an impressive and enduring contribution to the study of African religion in the Caribbean.”
Jafari Allen, author of, ¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-Making in Cuba

Trini Orisha

Video by Maria Nunes. For more of her amazing photo and videos on Trinidad culture see http://www.marianunes.com