Santería discourse : gendering in pàtàkì
Rodríguez Montemoíño, Neusa.
Degree LevelDoctor of Philosophy in Humanities with major in English Studies Inve Lit Ling Caribe
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The source of motivation for this dissertation is my religious experience as a santera and priestess of the Òrìṣá Argayú (Ǫrányàn; an Òrìṣá, deity) which has led me to study Yorùbá religious discourse in Yorùbá land, and to compare it with the discourse of Òrìṣá religion in Trinidad, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and their Diasporas. As a feminist, I wanted to investigate the degree to which the original Yorùbá patakís (historias, moral tales which accompany a divination ritual) have been modified to incorporate the discourse of patriarchal gendering in the Americas. The evidence provided in this dissertation demonstrates how the leadership roles and responsibilities accessible to women, and their agency in traditional Yorùbá religious texts were curtailed in the Caribbean to accommodate the gender order of patriarchal European colonial society in the worship of the Òrìṣá in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and their Diasporas. Their access has been undervalued and, in many instances, denied. The following methodologies were used in this dissertation: 1) Documentary research on various texts on history, religion, Yorùbá language and culture, Santería in Cuba, gendering, archeology, and sociology by authorities such as William Bascome, Marija Gimbutas, Maureen Warner-Lewis, Oyèrónké Oyewùmí, Ifi Amadiume, Cheikh Anta Diop, Robin Tomalch Lakoff, Penelope Eckert & Sally McConnell-Ginet, Evelyn Reed, Maria Mies, Nicholas Faraclas, and Frances Henry among others; 2) Interviews with authorities on Yorùbá religious practices; 3) My thirty-one years of personal experiences as a priestess.