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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Walking the Talk

Walking the Talk

(p.169) 6 Walking the Talk
Religion in the Kitchen

Elizabeth Pérez

NYU Press

Chapter 6 zooms in on the quips and asides of interlocutors as they reflected on rites of passage. Most of the statements transcribed in this chapter were made in the kitchen, and the historical marginality of that space mirrors the peripheral position of such utterances in the study of Afro-Cuban religions. This chapter expands on practitioners’ deployment of religious language in order to devise a genealogical account of the practitioner “life cycle” according to interlocutors’ interpretations of ritual efficacy, rather than the theological concepts purportedly encoded in ceremonies or the African origins of the same. This chapter charts practitioners’ movement through bodily terrain suddenly made strange by new proscriptions and prescriptions in order to underscore the role of feeling—including physical pain—in navigating communal experience. It touches on divination and the ritual of receiving sacred necklaces; initiatory death, rebirth, healing, and suffering; and the first year of initiation. By doing so, this chapter aimsto convey the progressive, reciprocal transformation of corporeal and spatiotemporal spaces in religious practice. Religious subjectivity and the reality of the orishas are bound together in a process of coproduction, as individuals come to acquire and display proficiency in the Lucumí spirit idiom.

Keywords:   religious language, spirit idiom, feeling, subjectivity, ritual, rites of passage, divination, initiation

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