Beautiful women with Cigars

As you might guess, this post is about pictures. But it might not be what you expect. I wasn’t exactly sure what I could say about this remarkable collection, compliments of the photographers at Flickr, that would speak any more eloquently than they do by themselves. But I am going to try. I want toContinue reading “Beautiful women with Cigars”

Household God

Have you heard of the orisha Elegba? Chances are you know someone who has, for he is one of the most popular avatars in the African diaspora today. Perhaps you have glimpsed him while walking through a doorway, by the threshold, or near a corner. Or you might have seen him in action, directing the illuminatingContinue reading “Household God”

Voodoo Tropes: Bizarre Hollywood Religion

Call me hopelessly naive, but wouldn’t you jump to see a blockbuster film starring Bela Legosi and John Carradine called VOODOO MAN? I mean, how bad could it be? Maybe we might learn something about Africana religions. Or maybe we can see what this Voodoo thing is that’s so fascinating. What could go wrong? Well, plenty, and ifContinue reading “Voodoo Tropes: Bizarre Hollywood Religion”

The Buddha in the Botanica

Many years ago I came upon an interesting presence while visiting El Cobre, a village in southeastern Cuba. Translated simply as “Copper,” El Cobre is well known for its 19th century mining concerns, but even more famously, it is the site of the national basilica for the luminous patron saint of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.Continue reading “The Buddha in the Botanica”

A Story of Conjuring, Magic, and a White guy named Chung

This is one of those strange-but-true stories that I find really interesting. As I was browsing for historical information on Hoodoo, I found multiple sources dating back to the 1800s on the practice of magic as a kind of theatrical entertainment: staged illusions, seances, mesmerism/hypnosis acts, mind-reading shows, and so forth. I believe that these commercializedContinue reading “A Story of Conjuring, Magic, and a White guy named Chung”

The Strange Career of Mami Wata

Even though Hoodoo and Conjure supplies are disseminated broadly on the internet these days, it is just as likely that one can find an actual physical botanica or spiritual store where one can purchase the essential merchandise of magical practices. These shops proliferate in urban areas throughout the United States, and more recently, we seeContinue reading “The Strange Career of Mami Wata”

Voodoo (Paper) Dolls!

Well, this one is fun and educational. Who doesn’t love paper dolls? Well some of us do. At first I thought this would be just another graphic box ‘o zombies, but it isn’t. The text tells us the story: Jake and Emily are a pair of “curious tourists” who arrive in New Orleans, go sight-seeing and partying,Continue reading “Voodoo (Paper) Dolls!”

On the Trail of Digital Comics Collections

Now that the examination of comics and graphic novels is becoming established as a field of study by the American Academy of Religion, it behooves researchers to be able to track down the best library archives and collections for doing this work. I am glad that the definition of viable texts for academic analysis andContinue reading “On the Trail of Digital Comics Collections”

Africana Religion and Comics, Towards a Useful Semiotics

All respect for one of the first black-owned comics to feature African and African-descended characters and heroes in a single issue.   Please support research on the comics! See, for example, this extraordinary presentation online at Google Arts and Culture. …we especially want to know about representation, race, gender, and the African guy with an arrow in hisContinue reading “Africana Religion and Comics, Towards a Useful Semiotics”

Voodoo Tropes #1: Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm….

On the subject of Voodoo Tropes, today I found two interesting images in the media archives. And even though they bridge a wide gulf of social and economic changes that took place in the United States’ culture industry during the first half of the twentieth century – nearly fifty years stands between them – thereContinue reading “Voodoo Tropes #1: Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm….”

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