New publication in American Anthropologist “Candomblé and the Academic’s Tools” by Elina Hartikainen

Academy Research Fellow Elina Hartikainen has published in Volume 121, Issue 4 of American Anthropologist.

Elina I. Hartikainen. 2019. Candomblé and the Academic’s Tools: Religious Expertise and the Binds of Recognition in Brazil. American Anthropologist. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13272

Latin American state efforts to recognize ethnically and racially marked populations have focused on knowledge and expertise. This article argues that this form of state recognition does not only call on subaltern groups to present themselves in a frame of expertise. It also pushes such groups to position themselves and their social and political struggles in a matrix based on expertise and knowledge. In the context of early 2000s Brazil, the drive to recognition led activists from the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble ́ to reimagine the religion’s practitioners’ long- term engagements with scholars and scholarly depictions of the religion as a form of epistemological exploitation that had resulted in public misrecognition of the true source of knowledge on the religion: Candomble ́ practitioners. To remedy this situation, the activists called on Candomble ́ practitioners to appropriate the “academic’s tools,” the modes of representation by which scholarly expertise and knowledge were performed and recognized by the general public and state officials. This strategy transformed religious structures of expertise and knowledge in ways that established a new, politically efficacious epistemological grounding for Candomble ́ practitioners’ calls for recognition. But it also further marginalized temples with limited connections or access to scholars and higher education. [politics of recognition, politics of expertise, state recognition, Candomble ́ religion, Brazil]

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