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Divining The Past: The Linguistic Reconstruction Of ‘African’ Roots In Diasporic Ritual Registers And Songs

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the interpretive work through which scholars and religious practitioners recognize religious songs and ritual speech from the African diaspora as 'African'. By comparing scholars' and nonscholarly recuperations of African diasporic language history it seeks to make explicit the chronotope underlying the scholarly production of history. Specifically, the chapter looks at the historicity of African diasporic cultural forms like the song above and the ritual registers used in Santería and other African diasporic religions. It shows how scholars and practitioners engage in interpretive strategies that the author refers to as etymological reconstruction and divining meanings, but that their efforts are driven by somewhat different language ideologies and have similar but not completely overlapping effects.

Keywords: Africa; diasporic culture; religious songs; ritual speech



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