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      Umbanda: Africana or Esoteric?

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          Abstract

          Umbanda is a dynamic and varied Brazilian spirit-incorporation tradition first recorded in the early twentieth century. This article problematizes the ambiguity of categorizing Umbanda as an ‘Afro-Brazilian’ religion, given the acknowledged centrality of elements of Kardecist Spiritism. It makes a case that Umbanda is best categorized as a hybridizing Brazilian Spiritism. Though most Umbandists belong to groups with strong African influences alongside Kardecist elements, many belong to groups with few or no African elements, reflecting greater Kardecist influence. Kardecist elements are universal in Umbanda; Africana elements are not. Kardecism is a western esoteric tradition and a key factor in the emergence of a wide variety of Latin American Spiritisms, including Umbanda. Labelling Umbanda as ‘Afro-Brazilian’ fails to acknowledge the beliefs and practices of the many Brazilians who practice other forms of the tradition. This case study of the categorization of religions – looking at scholarly ideology, race, historical origins, doctrine and practice – emphasizes the need to look at specific contexts and to avoid broad generalizations.

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          The African Diaspora: Toward an Ethnography of Diasporic Identification

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              Da doença à desordem: a magia na umbanda

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                30 June 2020
                2020
                : 6
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Mount Royal University, CA
                Article
                10.16995/olh.469
                ce593e21-ab7e-44da-988c-b9e6622d6a68
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Literary studies,Religious studies & Theology,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,History,Philosophy

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