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Religion in the Kitchen"Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions"$
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Elizabeth Pérez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479861613

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479861613.001.0001

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Gendering the Kitchen

Gendering the Kitchen

Chapter:
(p.111) 4 Gendering the Kitchen
Source:
Religion in the Kitchen
Author(s):

Elizabeth Pérez

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479861613.003.0005

Chapter 4 addresses issues of race, sexuality, and the gendered division of labor that obtains in the Lucumí kitchen, as in other Black Atlantic spaces of religious food preparation. The roles played by women and homosexual, nonbinary, and genderqueer men in these traditions has been misrepresented even in scholarship anchored in feminist and queer theory; this chapter thus seeks to render explicit the extent and nature of their engagement with the modalities of everyday praxis—apart from spirit possession—that convert homes into Afro-Diasporic houses of worship. Consulting the much larger literature on Afro-Brazilian religions about cooking, gay men, and transgender/transsexual female practitioners as a partial corrective, the chapter surveys the status of gay men and lesbians in the Lucumí kitchen; the production of female kinship and its connection to the sexed sacrifices presented to the orishas; the construction of practitioners as their wives; and the gendered disciplines of the body assumed by initiates. The author draws from Womanist and Black feminist theorists to situate Black female practitioners at the intersection not just of race, class, and gender as mutually constituting categories, but also of white supremacy, class exploitation, heteropatriarchy, and racist misogyny, neologized by scholar Moya Bailey as “misogynoir.”

Keywords:   racism, homosexuality, nonbinary, genderqueer, spirit possession, misogynoir, Black feminism, Womanism, kinship, disciplines of the body

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